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Princeton Class of 1976

Sandra McCardell '76 Speaks at Princeton Class of '76 Green Business Plan Competition

2011 Environmental Series Speaker: Sandra McCardell '76

Sandra McCardell '76
Sandra McCardell '76

Title: The Winding Path to Environmental Activism (PDF)
Alumni Day, Feb. 26, 2011
(immediately following the 6 p.m. reception)
Where: Mathey Hall

Sandra McCardell ’76, has pursued a rather eclectic career since graduation – although her efforts have always managed to be in “The Spirit of Service”!

In addition to receiving both a Master’s in International Administration at the School for International Training in Vermont and an MBA (at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business), Sandy has worked for organizations as varied as General Motors and Parker Pen, in real estate and international student exchange, real estate development and computer manufacturers.

In 1996, Sandy founded a company to implement energy efficiency projects. Current-C Energy Systems, Inc. (named by her daughter Ariana Arcenas, - Brown 2006, Master's Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management UCSB 2010) has since evolved to become a small woman-owned business consulting to organizations on their strategic energy efficiency and renewable energy goals, plans and projects.

The advantage of consulting is that each project is different, and in contrast to her son Scott Arcenas (Princeton ’08) who has a plan for the next 6 – 7 years from a Master’s at Cambridge University and then a PhD at Stanford University (both oriented towards Classics), Sandy’s projects vary month by month and year by year. Some of the more interesting ones are: 

  • Working with small communities on the Navajo Nation to describe and utilize their resources in order to provide income for the community .
  • Designing a plan to increase the capacity of the Ministry of Energy and Water of the Government of Afghanistan to develop and implement energy policy .
  • Sustainability consulting for a utility which uses landfill gas to provide electricity.
  • Strategic planning for a women’s organization in India desiring to include renewable energy with its organic agriculture programs.
  • Working with schools to reduce energy use and at the same time increase students’ and teachers’ understanding of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
  • Providing “appropriate technology” recommendations regarding alternative energies (including researching historical solutions to keeping cool in the summer and warm in the winter) for 16 Institutions of Higher Education in Afghanistan.
  • Developing a state-wide organization to drive demand and train the workforce for “green jobs” in New Mexico.
  • Providing consulting services to a variety of small businesses in New Mexico – from organic farmers to artists to green builders.

Sandy lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the weather is generally warm and the geography and population diverse. She is thrilled and honored to be asked to join the impressive '76 Environmental Speaker Series under the Spirit of Service ’76 Environmental Initiative. A strong believer in the efficacy of integrating environmental issues with economics, and governmental policies with grass roots efforts, Sandy is glad of the opportunity to engage with classmates and students through the Speaker Series.