The Peconic Institute has officially been granted 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, a leap forward for the spiritual successor to the sustainability studies program just to the west at nearby Stony Brook Southampton.
John Botos, who was among the first students to take part in the Shinnecock Hills campus' undergraduate sustainability studies program, has been appointed the executive director, after acting in that capacity on a provisional basis since the board of directors was named in September 2012.
Botos holds a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies and a Master of Arts in marine conservation and policy from Stony Brook University, according to the institute.
The institute was founded to be a "think tank for sustainability," according to New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele, to tackle the major policy issues confronting the future of the Peconic region.
This week, Thiele said in an institute statement, "The Peconic Institute was nothing more than a dream a little more than a year ago. Now, it is a reality. The Peconic Institute has a Board of prominent community leaders, a well defined mission to make the East End a sustainable place to live in the 21st century, and a new home at the Southampton campus."
Thiele said this was made possible through Botos' efforts, and he also noted that Botos was one of the leaders of the student movement to keep the sustainability studies program at Stony Brook Southampton, when the university decided to curtail the program and uproot it to the main campus in Stony Brook. "He has never wavered in his goal to make the Southampton campus a center for sustainable studies," Thiele said of Botos. "The Peconic Institute will fulfill that goal, which we all share"
The Peconic Institute will be an indispensable part of policymaking and problem solving on the East End, Thiele said.
What issues would you like to see the think tank tackle? Leave a comment below.