Eight individuals, groups and projects were recognized on Earth Day as the first-ever winners of Husky Green Awards. The awards, established by the Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee, celebrate individuals and teams who have contributed to UW’s environmental stewardship efforts.
Announced during Earth Day activities on the HUB lawn, winners are:
- Student Krysta Yousoufian – Among other things, Yoursoufian is associate director of SEED, Students Expressing Environmental Dedication, the UW’s residence-hall environmental group. She’s helped SEED continue its four-year pilot project to place compost bins throughout residence halls and created the group’s website, according to a letter nominating her for the award.
- Campus Sustainability Fund Working Group – Putting in hundreds of volunteer hours, this student group developed and promoted a proposal to create a campus sustainability fund, using student service and activities fees, that would pay for student-led projects that increase campus sustainability. If funded as proposed, the campus sustainability fund would have $685,000 available next year for projects.
- Student Alan Wright – Wright is actively engaged with sustainability efforts and participates in groups such as WashPIRG and the Green Coalition and he served as a student representative for the UW Climate Action Plan academic committee. He supported the efforts to establish the campus sustainability fund by speaking with administrators and faculty, helping draft a detailed proposal and organizing a campaign to create awareness and garner student support.
- Staff member Michael Meyering – Meyering built from scratch a nationally recognized campus-wide composting program that has become the model for other universities and even municipalities, according to a letter nominating him. Just one result: Housing and Food Services went from collecting 240 tons of compostables in 2006-2007 to more than 540 tons in 2008-2009.
- UW Tower Green Team – Initially launched by staff from Educational Outreach, this volunteer group now has representatives from many offices in the UW Tower. They’ve worked on such things as having deliveries arrive in packaging that is reusable or recyclable, clearing ivy from patio planters and growing edible plants and starting a program to collect plastic film for recycling.
- Staff member Claudia Christensen – As purchasing manager for procurement services, Christensen encouraged several businesses to offer more sustainable products and highlight them in their catalogs. Some of her emerging efforts include creating a trading post, a UW source for sharing free, used equipment and materials; a pipette-tip recycling program; new standards for awarding contracts based on vendors’ commitment to sustainability; and a green purchasing page on the Web.
- UW Farm, located near the Botany Greenhouse – Currently there are 50 or more students putting in 60 to 80 volunteer hours a day starting seeds, making compost from food wastes from buildings around the farm, giving farm ecology tours to visiting groups, caring for chickens and more. The farm brings together faculty, staff and students to learn about urban agriculture.
- UW Tacoma Environmental Science Program – The faculty and staff of the program have created activities such as the UWT Giving Garden, that promotes knowledge of food security and sustainable agriculture for urban populations; Wapato Lake Volunteer Monitoring Program, initiated with MetroParks and the City of Tacoma; and the first UWT campus rain garden meant to serve as a pilot project for future storm-water control efforts.
“As a first-year awards program, we are delighted with Universitywide enthusiasm for this award,” says Ruth Johnston, associate vice president for finance and facilities administration who oversees the Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability Office. “One of the stewardship and sustainability office’s goals is to celebrate the wonderful work being done by our students, faculty and staff to make the UW green. The variety of nominations demonstrates those efforts.
“We wish we could have given awards to all, but as this is the inaugural year, we have many more opportunities ahead.”
For more information about the award winners after the ceremony, visit the stewardship and sustainability office’s website.