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Shirley "Lea" Foley

JMU housekeeper and green advocate

Photo: Shirley 'Lea' Foley

You would be hard-pressed to find a more fervent advocate of the belief that one person truly can make a difference than JMU staff member Shirley "Lea" Foley. She credits her father with her interest in the green movement. "Before 'recycle' was a word, my dad did it," she says. As a housekeeper, Foley goes above and beyond diligence to her cleaning assignment, ensuring that sustainability becomes the watchword for the staff members she works with. In the offices she cleans, staff members know to go to Foley with questions about recycling, and she's not averse to lending a helping hand when people forget to think green. "Sometimes people don't have the time to put things in recycling. I figure it's better that I take the time to go through and put in recycling what can be there. It's one of the things I feel good about. I don't want to contribute to the problem. It's the little thing I can do. I can control the amount of material that goes to trash versus recycling." Her ability to boil things down to her individual level is key to her motivation to think green. She is convinced that one person does make a difference, and each and every person is a vital part of sustaining the earth for future generations.

"Recycling is not my job -- it's my obligation. As a mother and a member of a consumer-oriented society, I feel the need to leave as small a footprint on the planet as I can."