Environmental Activist

Michael Moller-Marino, a 1977 graduate, is no stranger to Middlesex Community College 40 years later.

Having grown up in Middletown, Michael was intrigued by the school’s new campus. He chose to study environmental sciences and characterized his experience at Middlesex this way, “While it was a small program, the students were actively engaged, and it was a delight to be a part of a science department with such a great group of students and faculty.”

During that time, he also formed a relationship with professor and future dean John Coggins, and they have been close friends ever since.

In 1975, Michael’s father, Anthony Marino, who was a former city councilman, became the mayor of Middletown. Carrying on this public service spirit as a student, Michael became involved with several student organizations and was the vice president of the Student Senate.

While Michael was at Middlesex, Middletown officials were promoting a recycling program along with the Connecticut Resource Recovery Authority, which was created by the state’s General Assembly in 1973. Michael was instrumental in establishing a program using recycling bins at the college before the state’s deposit/return program was officially enacted.

In 1977, while he was still a Middlesex student, Michael was among 2,000 demonstrators at the Seabrook Station in New Hampshire to protest the nuclear power plant being built there. He was even arrested, along with hundreds of others, refusing bail and taking 10 days to be released. After more protests and other delays, the plant eventually went online in 1992, but with only one reactor instead of two.

Following his graduation from Middlesex, Michael moved to Vermont, but completed his bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1994. He worked in construction and in other flexible jobs before finding himself in the insurance industry for several years.

Through his association with the Rockfall Foundation, a local organization that promotes environmental education, Michael was introduced to former Middlesex environmental sciences program coordinator Christine Witkowski. In 2017, he returned to the Middletown campus to speak to her students and help the class with the annual energy/waste audit.

A competitive runner during his high school and college years, Michael is also a frequent participant in the MxCC Foundation’s annual 5K road race. Now semi-retired, he uses the event to get back into his running form.

July 2017
Written by Thea Moritz