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Press Releases

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

SU's Surak Publishes on Waste and Utopian Thinking

Dr. Sarah SurakSALISBURY, MD---Utopian thinking is essential to social change — especially when it comes to waste management.

That’s according to Dr. Sarah Surak, faculty in Salisbury University’s Political Science and Environmental Studies departments. She is an author and guest editor for a special issue of Administrative Theory & Praxis on the topic of Utopian Ideals in Public Administration.

“We need to actively identify problems in this world and work towards change,” she said in an accompanying podcast interview. “We should dream of the world in which we want to live, and then we should make this world.”

Surak, who has professional experience managing waste and recycling for a public organization, considers if, in “a world of convenience, littered with takeout boxes and disposable shopping bags,” it is possible to imagine alternative forms of waste management and reduce the volume of waste. She also grapples with complex ideas about environmental issues, the role of technology and changing existing problematic structures.

Surak joined SU’s faculty in 2012. In addition to teaching, she co-directs SU’s Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement (PACE). She earned her Ph.D. in Planning, Governance and Globalization from Virginia Tech in 2012 and previously coordinated sustainability and recycling at the University of Tennessee. Her interests include environmental and public policy, especially related to waste/wasting, and the governance of garbage.

Her article, “To the Perfection of Waste: Utopian Visions and Reimagining Managing,” is available for free download until Thursday, March 31. To read it, or listen to her podcast, visit:

Administrative Theory & Praxis is the journal of the Public Administration Theory Network. Its purpose is to advance thought in public administration, exploring the intersection with broader social, economic, cultural, political and historical issues. 

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU website at

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