Congratulations to the 2014 Sustainable UGA Award Winners!
The UGA Office of Sustainability, as part of Athens-Clarke County Greenfest, awarded the 2014 Sustainable UGA Awards to outstanding students, faculty and staff. Sustainable UGA Award winners are recognized by their peers in the UGA community for going above and beyond to demonstrate dedicated efforts to conserve natural resources, advance sustainability initiatives and improve quality of life, both on and off-campus.
Landon Bubb, a senior anthropology major from Lilburn, Georgia, is being honored with the 2014 Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. As a leader of Students for Environmental Action, member of Speak Out for Species, intern at the Athens Farmers Market and other roles in the community, Landon demonstrates exceptional commitment to environmental issues and improving quality of life. According one nominator, “He has a holistic vision of sustainability for improving the quality of life, including health, socioeconomics, and minority rights…. Landon is a wonderful embodiment of what we aspire for sustainable community: enthusiastic, committed, and engaged.”
Kimberly Reeves, a graduate student in the College of Environment & Design from Lilburn, Georgia, is being honored with the 2014 Outstanding Graduate Student Award. Through two years of service in the Office of Sustainability, Athens-Clarke County Recycling Division, College of Environment and Design, and other local organizations, Kimberly has made a significant and positive impact in the Athens community, encouraging us to recycle more, drive less, compost more, eat better and get involved in our local communities. According to one nominator, “Life and work are better with Kimberly around. Her smile and zest for life are contagious, she is all-in when serving others, and she has a knack for leading by example that it’s not only feasible – but also a whole lot more fun – to live and work sustainably.”
Dr. Ron Balthazor, senior academic professional and professor of English in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, is being honored with the 2014 Outstanding Faculty Award. Ron is a scholar of Thoreau, expert in Environmental Literature and Eco-criticism, avid gardener, and committed leader in the Sustainability Across Curriculum movement at UGA devoting his time and creativity to planning faculty workshops, leading the Sustainability Faculty Learning Community and advancing the interdisciplinary certificate in sustainability. According to one nominator, “He continually works to bring together faculty from diverse disciplines towards a common goal, inspiring others through anecdotes, literature and poetry… He is an inspiration to his colleagues and collaborators.”
Jeanne Fry, director of UGA Food Services, is being honored with the 2014 Outstanding Staff Award. Many know Jeanne for her ability to keep thousands of students well-nourished through the award-winning UGA dining halls, but she is also a champion of sustainability initiatives at UGA. Her nominator wrote, “From providing local and sustainable foods for campus events to supporting curriculum initiatives, Jeanne’s a tremendous partner for sustainability at UGA… Her efforts to reduce water and energy use in food service operations are commendable; her commitment to eliminate all plastics from the waste stream in order to compost every organic item leaving UGA dining halls is simply extraordinary.”
2013 Sustainable UGA Award Winners
Sustainable UGA Award winners go above and beyond to demonstrate dedicated efforts to conserve natural resources, advance sustainability initiatives and improve quality of life, both on and off-campus.
We solicit input widely from the university community. With so many actively engaged students, faculty and staff worthy of commendation, it is significant that these individuals are recognized repeatedly by their peers as having made meaningful contributions to advancing sustainability at UGA.
Matthew Tyler, a junior Honors student and Foundation Fellow from Atlanta pursuing a dual bachelor’s and master’s degree in political science from the School of Public and International Affairs, is being honored with the 2013 Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. As leader of Students for Environmental Action, Tyler has helped to spearhead hands-on projects aimed at improving quality of life on campus and in the community. From involvement in The Lunchbox Garden Project to teach gardening and nutrition to local elementary school students to a student-led energy audit of UGA’s Park Hall and coordination of UGA Earth Week, Matt inspires positive action among his peers. According to one nominator, “Matt is able to see well beyond himself to make a positive contribution to the people and communities around him. His vision, care for others, and comfortable yet passionate style make him a leader that is easy to follow.”
Zach Richardson, a first-year MLA student in the UGA College of Environment and Design from Nashville, Tennessee, is being honored with the 2013 Outstanding Graduate Student Award. Zach has effectively engaged the UGA and Athens community in hours of community service and meaningful conversations about landuse, water quality, and innovative solutions to everyday challenges. With the help of a 2012-2013 Campus Sustainability Grant, Zach established the Tanyard Creek Chew Crew, those lovable goats that are helping to restore the riparian forest along Tanyard Creek through a technique known as prescribed grazing. “Zach Richardson is a model example of making a positive impact as a leader with sustainable-minded goals. He ensures that every person he talks to feels special, and he answers each of their questions as if it was the first time he had heard them,” wrote one nominator; he’s “the guy in charge with a huge smile, double high-fives, and words of gratitude for all who help.”
Alfie Vick, associate professor in the UGA College of Environment and Design, is being honored with the 2013 Outstanding Faculty Award. Alfie’s passion for establishing healthy communities through appropriate ecological design is conveyed to students and community members alike in willing collaboration and thoughtful service. From the Athens Land Trust to the Institute of Native American Studies and the US Green Building Council, Alfie generously shares his time and expertise beyond campus boundaries to improve quality of life and the natural environment. “His dedication to sustainable (solutions) and community engagement totally inspires and encourages us,” said a student nominator. According to one of his peers, “Alfie’s depth of knowledge and hip manner make him a favorite partner in any effort to engage people and the environment in meaningful ways.”
Katy Smith, Water Quality Program Coordinator in the UGA Marine Extension Service, is being honored with the 2013 Outstanding Staff Award. Katy is an inspiration to co-workers and community members in Georgia’s Brunswick County area. From reusing and recycling to improving water quality and marine ecosystems, Katy teaches students of all ages how to make a difference through simple, tangible actions that each one of us can integrate into our daily lives. “Life is overwhelming and busy as it is,” she says, “You don’t have to do everything, just pick one thing that matters to you.” According to her nominators, “Katy has a knack for communicating concern for a healthy planet with a good dose of creativity and a liberal dash of inspiration. From classroom conversations with third graders to mentoring local business owners and providing a role model for her own co-workers, Katy embodies the extension idea of ‘each one, teach one’.”
2012 Sustainable UGA Award Winners:
Mary Carlson, a senior art history major in the UGA Lamar Dodd School of Art, is being honored with the outstanding undergraduate student award. In her four years at UGA, Carlson has been an active member of the Go Green Alliance and a founding member and co-president of UGArden, UGA’s campus community garden. Carlson helped start UGArden in May 2010, and since then has been involved in expanding its reach past local, pesticide-free vegetables to include beehives, mushroom logs, an aquaponics system and a fruit tree orchard. “Mary Carlson is one of the most articulate, engaging and fearless people I know. Without any real gardening experience at the time, Mary willingly jumped with both feet into the creation of UGArden, becoming one of its spirited leaders and selfless supporters,” wrote Carlson’s nominator for the award.
Chris McDowell, a master’s student in landscape architecture in the UGA College of Environment & Design, is being honored with the outstanding graduate student award. McDowell has been involved with several projects on campus that have created working, useable structures made entirely from reclaimed materials. With the help of a 2012 Sustainability Grant, he created the UGA Material Reuse Program, which converts construction waste material such as wood and scrap metal into works of art and function. McDowell has created a passively-heated greenhouse for UGArden, raised garden beds and compost bins for local schools, a shelter for the goats of Tanyard Creek and tables for Athens’ first Food Cart Festival, all from construction material that would otherwise have been destined for the landfill. “With a whole lot of know-how, passion and sweat, Chris McDowell is creating a better Athens. Not only has he saved tons of construction materials from our local landfill, but he’s used them to create objects of functional beauty,” stated McDowell’s nominator for the outstanding student award.
David Berle, an associate professor of horticulture in the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, head horticulturist at the State Botanical Garden and faculty advisor for UGArden, is being honored with an outstanding faculty / staff award. Berle is the head of the local food systems certificate program, which began in 2011 and allows undergraduate students to learn about the policies, production issues and cultural implications of producing local food, and is also an advisor in the organic agriculture certificate program. “When I think of the tremendously positive impact of student engagement and service-learning at UGA, I immediately think of David Berle,” his nominator said. “It’s nearly impossible to pass through any neighborhood in Athens without seeing some aspect of David’s heart and handiwork. His efforts inspire countless many and often make me wonder, ‘What the heck am I doing with my own life and time?!?’”
Susan Varlamoff, director of the Office of Environmental Sciences, is also being honored with an outstanding faculty / staff award. Within the office, Varlamoff works to coordinate research, extension and teaching programs addressing environmental issues within the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Varlamoff has promoted water conservation, local foods and renewable energy on campus, and also helped create the Georgia Initiative for Climate and Society. As stated by her nominator, “Susan Varlamoff is a pillar in the sustainability movement on campus and throughout the state of Georgia. From her efforts to promote water conservation, local foods and renewable energy to envisioning a socially-responsible organic farm in the heart of Atlanta and buoying the UGA Climate and Society Initiative, Susan’s work remains characterized by an impeccable grace and style.”
2011 Award Winners:
Sheena Zhang, a UGA Honors Student majoring in Ecology and Biology with an emphasis on sustainable design, and president of Students for Environmental Action, is the winner of the Sustainable UGA Outstanding Student award. From developing feasible recommendations for renewable energy and alternative transportation at UGA to spearheading Earth Week 2011 events on campus, Sheena is already a proven leader toward a more sustainable future. One nominator referred to Sheena as “a shining example of why we should be hopeful for the future.”
Dr. Laurie Fowler, Assistant Dean in the Odum School of Ecology, is the winner of the Sustainable UGA Award for Outstanding Faculty Member. From developing a multi-disciplined environmental practicum course that has been lauded by multiple state-level agencies for its effectiveness in ecological preservation to initiating the Odum School of Ecology Sustainability Committee and spearheading sustainable living practices among students, faculty and staff in her department, one nominator stated, “Laurie is sustainability at its best!”
Jason Perry, a research engineer in UGA’s Engineering Outreach Services in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, is this year’s winner of the Sustainable UGA Outstanding Staff Member Award. Dr. Perry is acknowledged specifically for his efforts to conserve energy and save the University money through targeted education and research in campus buildings, as well as his tireless efforts to provide bicycles to underserved members of our community through the BikeAthens Bike Recycling Program. In addition, one nominator stated, “He’s also just a heckuva nice guy.”