Rachel's pages

Neva Project

Neva Workshop

Altai trip

National Parks project

"A Climate Carol"



Sustainability at SU

Green Tour of SU Campus


Onondaga Lake Ecology and History Project

Downtown Writers Center

Armory Square Playhouse

Orange Orators


Rachel May

Rachel is Director of Sustainability Education at Syracuse University. She works with professors and students from all disciplines, as well as with staff in energy management, food services, parking and transportation, buildings and grounds, and waste management to promote understanding and research about the university as a whole system of resources and best practices. She has secured grants from the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Endowment for the Humanities for projects about the history and indigenous significance of Onondaga Lake, and she has taught classes and workshops about the local ecosystem.

Before coming to Syracuse University, Rachel was a professor of Russian language and literature at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, and before that, at SUNY Stony Brook. She holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University and Master's degrees from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (environmental communications) and Oxford University (modern languages). She has been a fellow of the Stanford Humanities Center, the Harvard Russian Resarch Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Social Science Research Council. In 1978, she was one of 32 Americans selected to be a Marshall Scholar, which enabled her to study at Oxford University. She wrote this essay on the 70th anniversary of the Marshall Plan in June, 2017.

Rachel lives in Syracuse, NY, with her husband, Tom Brockelman. Their daughter graduated from Nottingham High School in 2016. Rachel is deeply involved in the local community: she formerly served on the Mayor's transition team for sustainability and as Vice-Chair of the Board and Chair of the Recycling Committee for the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency, and she currently serves on the Syracuse Board of Zoning Appeals and the 16th Ward Democratic Committee. She has volunteered with Ed Smith School, the Westcott Street Cultural Fair, the Communitree Stewards, and other programs. She has recently begun a writing career, studying playwriting and creative non-fiction at the YMCA Downtown Writers Center and participating in the Armory Square Playhouse playwrights' circle. Her play, "The Magic Words," about Elena Bulgakova, had two professional readings in 2013-14, and her prose has been published in The Healing Muse and in Winds of Change: Short Stories about our Climate (2015).