The 24th annual Campus Sustainability Awards recognize outstanding individuals and departments who demonstrate a sincere commitment to continuing the CU Boulder tradition of leadership and student participation in campus sustainability. Awardees exhibit innovation that directly reduces the university's ecological footprint, enhances social cohesion and equity in the campus community, and/or integrates sustainability into the culture of Boulder and our local communities.
This year, there are seven campus sustainability awardees:
- Campus Transportation Electrification Initiative, Partnership for Sustainability Award—This award recognizes the multi-department campus effort to install 51 electric vehicle charging ports to date. Parking Services and Infrastructure and Sustainability have led this partnership, with multiple individual departments contributing funds directly towards the installation cost of the chargers.
- Kirsten Rowell, Individual Achievement Award—In Kirsten’s multiple positions, she consistently advocates that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) be critical and central components of any effort. Her commitment to create a more just and sustainable world is infused in her work as director of the Global Sustainability Scholars Program of Sustainability Innovation Lab at Colorado, director of RIO Research LEADERSHIP Program, and as Associate Faculty of Environmental Studies.
- Center for Sustainable Landscapes and Communities (CSLC), Civic Achievement Award—Since its founding in 2018, CSLC has focused on building knowledge and informing decision making about public lands in and around Boulder County. CSLC is an interdisciplinary effort on campus which engages with community and state partners. The award recognizes CSLC leaders who make and have made this possible through their design, contacts, time, knowledge and efforts: Sharon Collinge, Amanda Carrrico and Erin Fried.
- COVID-19 Compostable Food Serviceware Initiative, Partnership for Sustainability Award—This award recognizes the effort involved with the conversion to a primarily “grab and go” approach to food services as a response to COVID-19. Campus Dining Services ensured that its supply chain for food serviceware would be fully compostable and involved multiple partners (Housing Grounds, Facilities Management Recycling and Solid Waste, Housing Facilities, Residence Life, Environmental Center) in waste diversion efforts, including increased collections and outreach efforts. This full scale conversion was able to keep sustainability as a priority, even though it was not the easiest approach.
- Kali Ciera Dykstra, Student Leadership Award—Ciera Dykstra founded and grew a zero-waste fashion and art company that has worked with student organizations and local businesses to spread awareness of fast fashion and make sustainability more attainable for young people. As a student leader with CUSG, they worked to eliminate single use plastic bottles, start the food pantry for students in need, and further the rights of LGBTQ+ students. They have worked hard over the last four years to leave CU a more inclusive and sustainable campus than when they arrived. Their passion for intersectional sustainability was fostered at CU, and continues to drive them in their business and educational pursuits.
- Volunteer Resource Center, Departmental Achievement Award—This award recognizes VRC’s leadership of the Feed the Stampede Initiative. The food security taskforce formed in 2016 when CU staff members and students started hearing personal stories of CU Boulder students who were unable to purchase food, due to a number of various financial and life circumstances. With a desire to help these individual students with food resources, the committee grew to include many people from around campus and the community, including students. The need for food security programs drastically increased with COVID-19. VRC stepped up with mobile food pantries over the summer and the opening of Buff Pantry in the fall.
- Hayden Dansky, Outstanding Alumni Award—In 2009 as part of an environmental ethics class project, Hayden realized how much healthy and delicious food that goes to waste. Research with other students showed there was enough food going to waste in Boulder County to feed every food insecure person. Hayden, a 2011 alumni, founded Boulder Food Rescue (BFR) and continues to serve as the executive director. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has stepped up even more to serve the growing needs of the Boulder County community. Since the nonprofit’s founding, Hayden has grown the organization to a team of eight staff and 150 active volunteers, who have worked to donate 3.4 million pounds of produce to residents of the city of Boulder and the greater county.
Additionally, there are four awards from the CU Green Labs Awards Program:
- JSCBB Autoclave Eco-Mode Project, Partnership for Lab Sustainability—This award recognizes the work of a group of engaged scientists that researched and implemented a successful water saving project for the JSCBB autoclaves. The group educated users and programmed the autoclaves with a water savings mode option that is resulting in an ongoing savings of at least a quarter of a million gallons of water per year.
- Emerson Grey, Individual Achievement—In addition to implementing sustainability initiatives in the lab where he works, Emerson has demonstrated commitment and persistence with helping CU Green Labs solve a contamination issue in one of the laboratory recycling streams, and he has been working to integrate information on the CU Green Labs Program into graduate student recruitment for the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.
- John Malecha, Individual Achievement—Over the past 5 years, John has volunteered to be the chemistry team lead for the CU Green Labs Program while being a graduate student. He has consistently worked with the CU Green Labs Program on various sustainability efforts within the chemistry department, including organizing events, engaging laboratory members and helping to start new initiatives.
- Matthew Wise, Individual Achievement—During the pandemic, when the chemistry teaching labs had to implement the use of at-home lab kits from a vendor, Matt—as the director of chemistry instruction—went above and beyond to work with campus Environmental Health and Safety and the vendor to enhance safety, minimize chemical and material use, and avoid disposal of hazardous materials down the drain. He also incorporated the changes to the kits made for sustainability into the coursework of the students as an opportunity to teach about responsible chemical use.
The awards will be presented virtually by campus leadership at the April 22 CU Earth Day Town Hall
To learn more about the campus sustainability awards program, please visit the Environmental Center's webpage.