The Environmental Leadership Awards Dinner is an annual awards ceremony that stems from the Committee on the Campus Environment, managed and funded by the Office of Sustainability as one of the Earth Month Events. The awards recognize students, facility, staff, and community members that demonstrate exceptional Environmental Leadership in their everyday lives.
The first two awards recognize students who practice environmental excellence in academics and engagements. Michaela Humby was the 2018 recipient of the Student Academic Award and was praised for her leadership skills, as well as the initiative she takes in the classroom where she is determined to not only surpass her own accomplishments, but ensure her classmates can reach the same level of success.
Travis Livingston received the Student Engagement Award. As a Residence Assistance in Hess Hall, he is constantly looking for ways to involve his residents in sustainable initiative on campus and within his own residence hall. He was an integral part in having Hess Hall place third in the 2017 POWER Challenge.
The “Most Likely to Save the Planet” Award is given to a member of the UT community who has led, or was an integral part of an exceptional accomplishment at UT. The 2018 recipient was UT student, senior, Emily Kraeske. She is currently a member of the Student Environmental Initiatives committee (Green Fee), Director of the SGA Environmental and Sustainability Committee, and the Outreach Student Intern in the Office of Sustainability. She truly values environmental awareness and encourages everyone around her to do the same.
The following two awards were awarded to a faculty and staff member who demonstrate environmental leadership that goes above and beyond their job responsibilities.
Librarian Holly Dean was honored with the Faculty Environmental Leadership Award for her efforts in starting the seed library, which is a project for students to learn hands-on about sustainable gardening practices.
Faculties Services’ Bethany Morris was awarded the Staff Environmental Leadership Award, for her work to help implement the Campus Grow Lab, a campus – community garden coming to campus this summer. She was an integral part in making this project happen, helping to write the proposal, effectively collaborate with the administration, and providing her knowledgeable insight on the design of the garden.
The Community Member Environmental Leadership Award was given to AmeriCorps member Michaela Barnett. Serving as the Food Systems Coordinator for UT Recycling, Michaela has helped facilitate food donations from campus to local food banks and homeless shelters totaling over 13,000lbs. Michaela also brought back to life the campus community garden and was instrumental in its development, bringing together over ten stakeholders to ensure the program last well beyond her time here at UT.
The Food Recovery Network was awarded the Student Organization Environmental Leadership Award for the efforts during the 2017 football season. Group members helped recover nearly 8,000 pounds of food from Neyland Stadium after football games, often working late into the night to ensure the food could still be donated.
The final award of the night was the John Nolt Lifetime Achievement Award, given to a faculty or staff member who has demonstrated environmental leadership throughout their tenure and will leave a lasting impact on the university. Dr. Michael McKinney, head of the Geography Department, received the award this year for the impact he has made on every student he teaches and advises. He was an integral part in the creation of the Sustainability Major, the Committee on the Campus Environment, UT’s Climate Action Plan, as well as his ability to make anyone want to go green and love the planet.
In the above image:
First Row, L to R: Bahar Meshkat (member of FRN), Emily Kraeske (Save the Planet Award), Michaela Humby (Student Academic Award), Bethany Morris (Staff Award), Holly Dean (Faculty Award), Carolyn Brown (Sustainability Outreach Coordinator), Christie Kennedy (CCE co-chair)
Second Row, L to R: Preston Jacobsen (Sustainability Manager), Bhavya Parikh (member of FRN), Michael Lin (member of FRN), Dr Michael McKinney (Lifetime Achievement Award), Travis Livingston (Student Engagement Award), Michaela Barnett (Community Member Award), Jay Price (CCE co-chair).