Name: Samantha Sorrin
Title: Director of Responsibility
Company: Saunders Hotel Group & EcoLogical Solutions
Years in Current Position: seven months
Primary Responsibilities: “I might be screening a new lightbulb, organizing a fundraiser, or going to a fitness class we offer to employees. No two days are the same.”
Organization’s most significant sustainability-related accomplishment: “One of the most impressive is the managerial team doing its part. We also have a sustainable purchasing policy. It is built into operations here. It is really impressive.”
Organization’s most significant sustainability-related challenge moving forward: “Industry-wide, waste is becoming a much bigger issue. Recycling has gotten stricter. Recycling hauls are being rejected. It is going to be a huge issue across the board.”
BOSTON—The last six months have been eventful for Samantha Sorrin, Director of Responsibility for the Saunders Hotel Group (SHG) and EcoLogical Solutions. It was in December when she took on her current title after working as Sustainability Program Coordinator for SHG and EcoLogical Solutions for almost four years. The last half year has also seen the expansion of SHG’s sustainability program into a broader program called Genuine Responsibility (GR)—a group of initiatives that Sorrin oversees.
GR is a broadening and revitalizing of the company’s efforts to reduce resource consumption and an increased concentration on supporting local businesses and caring about the wellbeing of the local community, travelers and employees.
One example of GR is the wellness classes now offered to employees. “We are trying to make it easier to lead healthy lifestyles,” Sorrin says. SHG is reducing the amount of soda offered to employees and expanding the availability of water. “We are trying to do away with plastic bottles usage back of house,” Sorrin adds.
To support the local and global community, SHG launched “Carts for a Cause.” “We cook up hot dogs and suggest a donation,” Sorrin says. “The proceeds go to a local charitable cause. Last year we raised a lot of money for Puerto Rico.” This year the company began donating food to the Boston Rescue Mission. “Occasionally we will have food left over from weddings. It has been super successful,” Sorrin says.
Green Team Meetings Held Regularly
To keep GR efforts on track, Green Team meetings are held approximately every six weeks. Managerial teams from all SHG properties are involved.
SHG has been a strong, award-winning proponent of sustainability since 1989. “I feel lucky to be at a company where it is ingrained,” Sorrin says. “We have a lot of buy-in from management and the executive team.”
The Lenox Hotel is one example of an SHG property with a long list of sustainability initiatives. They range from rooftop honey to LED lighting to amenity dispensers in guestrooms. Through SHG’s Travel Lightly program, travelers to and from Boston can choose to have their travel offset. SHG offsets the roomnight of each guest’s stay and corporate travel as well. During Earth Week, the Saunders Hotel Group offset guest travel at all its hotels.
Sorrin, who earned her B.A. in Business Administration with a concentration in Sustainability Studies from the University of Florida, is currently taking courses for a Masters in Sustainability at the Harvard Extension School. It was while studying as an undergrad when her interest in sustainability increased substantially.
When asked what she enjoys most about her job with SHG, Sorrin said, “I like that, on any given day, I will find myself doing many different things.”
Glenn Hasek can be reached at email@example.com.