Each spring Sustainability Award winners are selected for outstanding achievement in sustainability on campus, in the community or globally. Sponsored by Coca-Cola, the awards are offered by the Sustainability Council in the following categories:
- Student: Recognizes a student’s outstanding achievements in sustainability
- Faculty Member: Recognizes a faculty member’s outstanding achievements in sustainability
- Staff Member: Recognizes a staff member’s outstanding achievements in sustainability
- Campus Department or Student Organization: Recognizes a campus department or student organization’s outstanding achievements in sustainability
- Innovation/Impact: Recognizes outstanding achievement of a sustainability-related project, which could include research, campus operations or a related area
Nominations are no longer being accepted for the 2020 Sustainability Awards. Check back again in January 2021.
Megan Boland is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. She researches anaerobic digestion of animal and agricultural waste, which simultaneously produces renewable energy. In addition to a busy research and course load, Megan joined the NC State Stewards sustainability leadership program. As the Academic Success Coordinator for the Stewards, she provides academic and career mentorship for younger Stewards. She’s also making a difference in her home department. She has initiated and maintains a compost program and is planning to create hanging gardens and bee hotels.
In addition to teaching courses about the environment, Dr. Steph Jeffries leads the Environmental First Year Program in the Department of Forestry & Environmental Resources. The Program and her courses are critical to engaging new students and exciting them about addressing environmental challenges with sustainable solutions. In one large course, she won two grants to take learning outside the classroom by engaging students in data collection on campus trees. This citizen science project was key in helping NC State earn designation as a Tree Campus USA from the Arbor Day Foundation.
The ultimate job of Mail Services is straightforward: manage and deliver campus mail. Amanda Franklin initiated several waste reduction efforts. Her team recycles tons of unsolicited mail items annually, and Amanda is instituting measures to ensure this material doesn’t reach campus at all. She tracks her department’s waste diversion rate and has optimized mail routes to save fuel and create efficiencies.
The Landscape Architecture Department in the College of Design has a long history of advancing sustainability through its teaching and applied scholarship. Faculty have successfully partnered with other units on campus to create several sustainable campus landscapes, and this collaborative spirit continues off campus. After Hurricane Matthew devastated parts of eastern North Carolina, 5 faculty members led an interdisciplinary team to create rebuilding guides for leaders and residents in low-resource rural towns. For several years, the department has also developed and managed DesignWeek, an inter-institutional event for students to explore sustainability issues related to Hurricane Matthew recovery, pollution in the Neuse River Watershed and the community impact of increased extreme weather events.
The Energy Storage Study for North Carolina involved an interdisciplinary team of NC State researchers evaluating the potential for energy storage in the state. Members of the project team were drawn from agricultural and resource economics, public administration, electrical engineering, civil engineering, and NC Clean Technology Center. Because storage can help enable the deployment of emissions-free wind and solar, the topic has important environmental implications and needed rigorous evaluation. The completed report is intended to guide the NC General Assembly as it develops storage-related energy policies.
This year’s student winner is Mary Paz Alvarez Valverde. A Sustainable Materials and Technology major in the College of Natural Resources, she began her sustainability efforts at NC State the day she stepped onto campus. As a part of the EcoVillage living and learning community in Bragaw Residence Hall for two years, she engaged with sustainable projects and practices. Last fall, she worked as an intern with NC State’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Office, where she helped push the football season composting totals in Carter-Finley Stadium from 8,900 pounds in 2016 to almost 28,000 pounds for the 2017 season.
Reggie Howell, a marketing manager with Campus Enterprises and Talley Student Union, is the winner of the staff award. This spring, Howell gave up a week of his time to serve as the advisor for an Alternative Service Break trip focused on environmental justice. Howell also serves on the Campus Enterprises sustainability task force and has organized outreach events to teach Talley occupants and visitors about the building’s composting and recycling initiatives.
This year’s faculty winner is Dr. Ryan Emanuel, an associate professor in the College of Natural Resources. He researches hydrology and has authored articles related to watersheds, groundwater, climate change and land use. In 2017, Emanuel helped organize North Carolina’s first tribal environmental summit, where leaders of the state’s eight Native American tribes met with state and federal officials to discuss issues surrounding environmental justice, sustainable development and indigenous rights. He also consulted extensively with the NC Department of Environmental Quality on its environmental justice review of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project.
NC State’s student chapter of Engineers Without Borders is the campus organization winner. This student organization is dedicated to building a better world through sustainable engineering projects that empower communities to meet their basic human needs. Currently, the chapter volunteers in Guatemala, where students developed rainwater catchment systems for houses, and Sierra Leone, where students have provided a school with access to clean water and reliable, renewable energy. These sustainable engineering projects have directly impacted more than 1,000 people.
This year’s innovation and impact winner is an initiative focused on Food and Housing Security Among NC State Students. Under the leadership of Dr. Mary Haskett and Sarah Wright, this initiative has sought to ensure all NC State students have access to sufficient, nutritious, culturally appropriate and affordable food as well as safe, affordable housing that is accessible to the university. This project developed a campus and community steering committee, conducted a research survey on campus, and is helping create solutions to improve food and housing security among NC State students.
Jenkins MBA student Shannon O’Shea is the student recipient. O’Shea helped organize a sustainable foods conference at NC State called FoodCon and has served as a team leader for B Corp Clinic, which pairs students with local businesses interested in sustainability certification. She is a Business Sustainability Collaborative Associate in the Poole College of Management and president of NC State’s graduate chapter of Net Impact, a sustainability-focused student organization. Last spring, she was part of two MBA student teams that earned recognition in sustainability business competitions.
This year’s staff winner is Derek Liles, facilities supervisor at Carter-Finley Stadium. Liles serves as the Athletics point-of-contact for the WE Recycle program and the Carter-Finley Composts program. His efforts allowed the stadium to post its all-time season record: a 27 percent waste diversion rate. Derek worked to integrate compost collection in post-game stadium cleaning and also obtained support for adding recycling bag distribution stations in tailgate parking lots, which allowed Athletics to remove hundreds of trash bins and reduce landfilled items by 29,000 pounds.
This year’s faculty winner is Dr. Larry Nielson, who was responsible for helping create the university’s Campus Environmental Sustainability Team. This team was the foundation for much of the sustainability progress NC State has made. He also helped kickstart the campus climate commitment and the winter energy setback program, which has saved more than $3 million since it began in 2005. He helped integrate sustainability into Hunt Library, preserve Lake Raleigh Woods and educate thousands through teaching and campus sustainability events.
This year’s campus organization winner is the Food Recovery Network, a student organization that partners with NC State Dining to donate leftover food from campus dining halls to local nonprofit organizations that serve the homeless. Food Recovery Network has built a network of 100 student volunteers who take turns collecting leftover food from dining halls three times a week. These efforts not only help the community but also address food waste. So far, the group has donated more than 3,500 pounds of food to two Raleigh nonprofits.
This year’s innovation and impact winner is Zero Waste Workplace, a waste diversion program of NC State’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Office. Since starting last summer, the program has been implemented in Administrative Services Buildings 1, 2 and 3 as well as other Facilities Division offices. So far, the program has diverted 3,000 pounds of waste from the landfill through composting. There has also been a 32 percent increase in recycling in these buildings. The program has been so successful that 21 other buildings have requested the program.
Biological and agricultural engineering student Annie Lopez is the student recipient. A Park Scholar and an NC State Steward, Annie has been the driving force behind the Stewards’ efforts to remove plastic bags from campus. She lived in the campus EcoVillage living and learning community, has served on a sustainability-related Alternative Spring Break, helped start the Student Sustainability Resource Coalition and she has spent the past two years conducting stormwater filtration research.
The staff winner is Jessica Thomas, the founding director of the Poole College of Management’s Business Sustainability Collaborative. Thomas has infused sustainability into the foundation of Poole College’s research, academics, student programs and culture. She revived the undergraduate and graduate Net Impact chapters, which have now received gold status at the national level. Last fall, Jessica created the B Corp Clinic that matches students from NC State, Duke and UNC as consultants for local companies pursuing B-Corp sustainability certification.
The faculty winner is Dr. Bob Patterson, the Alumni Distinguished Professor of Crop Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Beyond his research on the sustainability of global food systems, Patterson has exposed students to sustainability through courses such as World Population and Food Prospects and Global Sustainable Human Development.
The campus organization winner is the NC State Agroecology Education Farm. Dedicated in 2006 as part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the farm is where many students and community members learn the principles of agroecology. Since 2013, University Dining has purchased the farm’s produce to serve in campus dining halls. With the addition of a new season-extending hoop house, the farm will be able to provide even more produce for campus dining halls.
The innovation and impact winner is the Waste Reduction Committee of the NC State Stewards student organization. This committee of about half a dozen students has been working for more than two years to phase out the use of retail plastic bags on campus. In partnership with Campus Enterprises, the students started the university’s first plastic bag recycling program in campus C-Stores in 2014 and most recently led the switch from plastic bags to more sustainable paper bags in the Atrium dining facility and C-Stores.
The student recipient is interdisciplinary studies major Hannah Frank. Hannah is a Caldwell Fellow, co-manager of the Campus Farmer’s Market and a core organizer for Fossil Free NCSU, a student-led campaign for climate neutrality and renewable energy within the UNC System. Hannah also works as a research assistant for the Appalachian Foodshed Project, an initiative addressing issues of food security throughout southern Appalachia.
The staff recipient is David Johnson, a chef with University Dining at its On the Oval restaurant. David envisioned and helped develop a roofside garden atop Wolf Ridge Student Apartments. This garden grew fruits and vegetables that were later served in the Oval’s restaurant.
The faculty recipient is Dr. Danesha Seth Carley, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticultural Science and Associate Director for the Southern Integrated Pest Management Center. Among her most visible projects is the famed Pinehurst No. 2 golf course that was the host of the 2014 U.S. Open Golf Championship, where her research drew national attention and widespread media coverage about the importance of native plants. At NC State, she guided sustainability efforts that led to the university’s Lonnie Poole Golf Course gaining Audubon Certification and created an Executive Course on sustainability, which has engaged leaders from some of the nation’s top agriculture companies. Danesha also initiated an environmental education program at Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School, launched a Sustainable Managed Landscapes Program for other K-12 groups, and chaired the 2013 NC State Earth Week celebration on sustainable food.
University Student Centers received the campus organization award for its efforts to enhance sustainability at the nearly-completed Talley Student Union. Upon completion of construction, Talley is expected to earn LEED Silver Certification for leadership in energy and environmental design. But the commitment to sustainability doesn’t end there. Since the opening of the building’s first phase, 30 percent of waste at Talley has been diverted from landfills through robust recycling and composting programs. Plus, the building is actively seeking ways to reduce its energy use.
The student recipient, Matt Abele, is a graduate student in communications. He volunteers his videography skills for numerous local and environmental organizations in addition to personal filmography he does on environmental issues impacting the local community. He is also an intern with the North Carolina Solar Center.
The staff recipient, Keith Smith, is University Dining’s director of dining operations. In 2012, Smith launched My Roots are at NC State to increase the amount of local food served in campus dining halls. In addition to this award-winning program, Smith also started a dining hall compost program, campus-grown produce procurement and an herb garden outside Fountain Dining Hall.
The faculty recipient, D. Scott Showalter, is a professor of practice in Poole College of Management. He integrates sustainability into all the accounting courses he teaches and also developed an MBA course on Sustainability and Business. He also collaborates on sustainability-related research within the college and industry.
In the first-ever organization category of the Green Brick Awards, the Alumni Association Student Ambassador Program was honored for its efforts to incorporate sustainability into NC State’s Homecoming events. As one of the university’s largest events, the students’ efforts resulted in significant reduction of paper, water and material use associated with the event.
The student recipient, Carlos Vega, is a junior economics major and residence advisor in theHonors Village, where he also leads the Honors Village Sustainability Committee. He helped organize Honors Village participation in Shack-A-Thon, which raised money for Habitat for Humanity, and has implemented a program called Quad Bikes, a pilot project for bike sharing on campus.
The staff recipient, Rick Gardner, is NC State’s associate director of student leadership and engagement and serves as one of the advisers for the Union Activities Board (UAB). Rick has inspired student event planners to make events more sustainable through efforts such as composting and purchasing carbon offsets for large events.
The faculty recipient, Dr. Jonathan Casper, is an assistant professor in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management. He organized a campus Committee on Sustainability in Athletics and was instrumental in facilitating NC State’s first green baseball and football games.
Student Chelsea Amato, a senior in Graphic Design, uses sustainability as a baseline in her school work and has developed projects such as Sustainable Forest Management, a way finding system within the Borneo rainforest to discourage logging and deforestation; Plant and Pollinate Raleigh, a honey bee advocacy campaign based around agricultural solutions that promote local initiatives and decreased pesticide use; and a Deforestation Advocacy Campaign. She has worked at Whole Foods, the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and NC State Waste Reduction and Recycling. She also volunteers her design talent and time towards the “greening” of Raleigh’s Hopscotch Music Festival and helped create, found and grow CompostNow, which allows businesses and households to compost from their doorstep.
Staff member Anna Mangum works at E3 (Economy, Energy and the Environment) where she creates and fosters relationships with more then 150 partners from local, state, and federal organizations all working together to create a more sustainable manufacturing sector. Due to Anna’s efforts, E3: North Carolina was recognized as one of the country’s premier initiatives, having received attention from the White House Rural Council and Governor Perdue and was a recipient of the National Association of Development Organizations Innovation Award.
Faculty member Dr. Stephen Terry is a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Student Energy Internship Program, placing students in real-world projects and giving them priceless experience for their job search. As the Assistant Director of the Industrial Assessment Center, Dr. Terry has grown the program’s reach to 450 industrial facilities, 3,324 energy conservation recommendations, and implemented savings of more than $22.3 million per year. Dr. Terry has partnered with NC State Facilities Operations to apply his expertise on campus and save the university $635,000.
Student Megan Cain is a senior in Environmental Technology and has utilized two internships to help pay for college while expanding her knowledge in various areas of sustainability. In her time with NC State’s Waste Reduction and Recycling office and the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources she has: organized a cleanup of Schenck Forest, acted as volunteer coordinator for WE Recycle, volunteered to co-lead the first Costa Rica Alternative Service Break trip, organized several NC State Earth Day Concerts and assisted with many green events on campus.
As Program Manager for the Clean Transportation Program at the North Carolina Solar Center Anne Tazewell helps coordinate statewide efforts to increase the use of advanced transportation technologies and alternative fuels. Anne helped conceive the Clean Fuels Advance Technology (CFAT) project for NC State that helped the NC Solar Center buy a neighborhood electric and the very first electric charging station in Raleigh, located at the NC State Joyner Visitor Center. In addition, Anne helped NC State in funding an E85 (Ethanol) station thereby increasing the use of biofuels in the campus fleet.
As an Assistant Professor in Landscape Architecture, faculty member Andy Fox focuses on sustainable construction methods and technologies, outdoor educational environments, and urban design of public spaces. In 2010, Andy and a class of graduate students designed and installed a rain garden at Syme Residence Hall. The project transformed a forgotten piece of land with multiple stormwater issues into an aesthetically pleasing and functioning site. The success of that project led to a partnership with University Housing for additional improvements at other residence halls.
As a freshman, student Ariel Fugate formed a group of passionate students devoted to launching the Campus Farmers Market. Ariel is also involved in a full sustainable food assessment of the university, understanding the challenges of getting local foods in the campus cafeteria and composting food wastes. She serves as an intern with Waste Reduction and Recycling and has been working to bring local foods and food waste composting into the university dining halls. All of this while maintaining her status as an honors student and Caldwell Fellow.
As Information and News Services Coordinator for the Office of Information Technology (OIT), staff member Jude Davis has been making an effort to promote green technology. As the primary liaison between OIT and the University Sustainability Office she has been devising ways to assist NC State in its efforts to become more environmentally sustainable.
Faculty member Dr. Francis De Los Reyes, Associate Professor in Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering started an NC State TED chapter designed to spark additional creativity and innovation on campus. As part of this program Dr. De Los Reyes was named a TEDIndia Fellow, a highly competitive honor. Dr. De Los Reyes’ research in water resources and environmental engineering works to create sustainable solutions.
Student Natalie Bunch was the student-lead for the WE Recycle program. As a Caldwell Fellow she has helped to make the meetings more sustainable by encouraging attendees to bring their own reusable utensils and plates or containers.
Staff member Wade Fulghum began his time at the university in the Office of Energy Management. He was a key organizer of the water challenge between NC State and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a result, the two schools saved more than 11 million gallons. Wade also set up a trip to the Durham headquarters of CREE, which initiated talks between CREE and NC State. As a result, NC State has started working on becoming the first LED University. Currently, Wade is a program manager at the North Carolina Solar Center.
Faculty member Dr. H. Christopher Frey has developed an internationally recognized educational and research program in the areas of air pollution control, air quality, and human exposure to air pollutants and pathogens. He is the founding adviser of the NC State student chapter of the Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA), a fellow of the A&WMA, and both a Fellow and Past President of the Society for Risk Analysis. Dr. Frey has led new research efforts to measure and model the real-world implications of alternative fuels, vehicle technologies, driver behavior, and infrastructure on the activity, energy use and emissions of a wide variety of vehicles.
Student Elin Arnaudin became actively involved in G.R.E.E.N. and helped promote sustainable behavior to other campus residents through her volunteer efforts at numerous events. She has also worked as an intern with NC State’s Center for Environmental Farming Systems and lived in NCSU’s Eco-House. She worked on NC State’s 2008 Earth Week Planning Committee and created a free-range, organic pig-pickin’. University Dining is working with Elin to begin using local cage-free eggs and examine other sustainable practices.
Staff member Barry Olson is the Associate Director of University Housing-Facilities. He has worked with to establish the Eco-House at ES King Village – an ongoing project to have a “green” living facility on campus. He has also initiated use of sustainable building materials in residence halls such as recycled carpet and furniture, LED lighting, and low VOC paint. Olso also took a leadership role in water conservation on campus.
Faculty member Rhonda Sherman has been an Extension Specialist for Solid Waste Management in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department for more than 20 years. She has worked with people and organizations around the state and helped them rethink and reorganize their means of handling solid wastes. Rhonda has always been willing and eager to lend a hand to faculty who teach about sustainability. She does so by being a guest lecturer, running workshops, and working one-on-one with students to give them a hands-on experience with composting.
Student Heidi Bunn was instrumental in starting GREEN, a campus group dedicated to increasing environmental educational programming in the dorms. Recently, Bunn worked with a group of Alexander Hall residents to explore purchasing blocks of NC Green Power to minimize their dorm floor’s ecological footprint and to initiate a backyard-composting program.
Staff member Jim Konowski initiated an effort to recycle metal-encased air filters that were previously thrown into the trash dumpsters around campus and sent to the landfill. Expanding on the success of the metal encased air filter recycling, Jim initiated another effort to recycle rubber belts that are routinely replaced in mechanical systems.
Faculty member Traci Rose Rider came to NC State in 2006 to obtain her Ph.D. in Design and has made an impact immediately. Rider taught one of the graduate level seminars on Sustainability for the architecture students in the ollege of Design. During this class, she acted as advisor on the MTVu Ecomagination Challenge. She provided an abundance of guidance and support. Rider was also responsible for organizing the 2010 Imperative Global Teach-In for NC State’s campus.
Ryan Powell, a graduate student in Resource Economics, works with the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling on projects such as using students fees to subsidize green power.
Staff member Barbara Doll is a water quality extension specialist for North Carolina Sea Grant, a state/federal program that funds research outreach and education activities that promote the wise use of coastal resources. Since joining North Carolina Sea Grant in 1992, Barbara has led award-winning stream and wetland restoration projects both on campus and across the state.
Faculty member Nancy Creamer is the Director of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, 200-acre research and teaching facility focuses on sustainable practices in agriculture. She runs one of the nations best organic agriculture summer internship programs there, and is known nationally and internationally for her steadfast support of sustainable thinking for all aspects of living.
Student Christine Carol (C.C.) Maurer’s thesis project was on monitoring the performance and effectiveness of a transpired solar collector system at an industrial facility in North Carolina. While working at the NC Solar Center, she also assisted fellow Solar Center engineers with field work on photovoltaic and solar thermal systems and has worked on renewable energy demonstration projects at the NC State Solar House. CC was also involved with the NC State Sustainability Coalition.
Staff member Dona Stankus, is a registered architect and the High Performance Building Programs Manager at the NC Solar Center at NC State. Stankus is on the Board of Directors for the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council, a mentor for the AIA Young Architects Forum, on the City of Raleigh Environmental Advisory Board and involved with the Human Rights/Program Committee for Learning Together, a non-profit developmental early childhood education center. She is past Chair of the NC Sustainable Energy Association, and the Carolina Recycling Associations’ Green Building Council.
Faculty member Will Hooker, a Department of Horticultural Science professor, teaches students about sustainable designs, specifically permaculture. His teaching methods include “Hands-on” experiences, including extended camping/cooking field trips to visit good and bad examples of relative work. He hosts workshops and building projects utilizing sustainable methodologies, and has created many sculptures out of renewable materials.
Student Becky Jo Townsend joined the Forestry and Environmental Outreach Program at NC State in 2001and also took courses to pursue a Master’s Degree in Natural Resources. Her thesis focused on uncovering how the campus community informs itself about environmental issues.
As the Operations Manager for the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling, staff member Nessa Stone oversees all operational aspects including equipment purchases, recycling and waste crew supervising, and program development. In addition, Stone maintains campus collection routes for about 300 trash, cardboard and autoclave dumpsters and more than 4,200 indoor and outdoor recycling bins for office paper, mixed paper and beverage containers.
Faculty member Dr. Herbert M. Eckerlin, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, has been teaching industries how to use energy more efficiently since 1992 when he helped establish NC State’s Industrial Assessment Center (IAC). Eckerlin also helped found the NC Solar Center, one of the nation’s leading renewable energy centers, and the NC Solar House, a renewable energy demonstration home.