Promoting Excellence on Campus through the Alta Sustainability Leadership Awards

The Alta Sustainability Leadership Awards recognized those whose work aims to protect this ecosystem through sustainability research.

The Alta Sustainability Leadership Awards recognize those whose work aims to protect the Alta and University ecosystems through sustainability research.

By Eva Grimmer, Sustainability Office

This spring, the University of Utah will, for the second consecutive year, partner with Alta Ski Area to present four members of the University community with Alta Sustainability Leadership Awards. These awards, which highlight excellence in sustainability teaching, research, community partnership, and campus improvement, give us an opportunity to recognize many of the amazing sustainability initiatives happening throughout the University.

The awards will be presented on March 3, 2016. So we need to hear from you! The organizing committee is now seeking submissions. If you or someone you know demonstrates leadership in sustainability education, research, or campus/community initiatives now is the time to celebrate them by nominating them. All students, faculty, and staff are eligible to participate.

The Alta Awards honor four important areas:

  1. Campus as a Living Lab Award: Recognizes graduate or undergraduate student who completes an outstanding project or initiative that makes the U more sustainable.
  2. Sustainability Community Partnership Award: Recognizes an instructor or student who models the U’s commitment to sustainability leadership through a community research or service project.
  3. Sustainability Integration Award: Recognizes an instructor (at any level) who successfully integrates sustainability education into their course(s).
  4. Sustainability Research Award: Recognizes an individual (student, faculty, or  staff member) who is conducting significant interdisciplinary sustainability research.
A stunning view from Alta Ski Area.

A stunning view from Alta Ski Area.

Send in your submissions today! The form can be found online or you can fill out an application in person. Keep in mind that with the recognition also comes a $2,500 cash prize, so what are you waiting for? Get to work and nominate your friends, peers, or instructors!

Members of the Alta team joined up with SCIF coordinator Emerson Andrews for a tour of campus looking at sustainable and energy efficient features.

Members of the Alta team joined up with SCIF coordinator Emerson Andrews for a tour of campus looking at sustainable and energy efficient features.

The main purpose of these awards is to acknowledge and to enhance the culture of sustainability within our campus community, and the awardees have found even greater benefits: The opportunity to collaborate with others, to continue important research, and to attend the awards ceremony were just a few of the greater benefits expressed by last year’s winners. Youcan Feng, doctoral student at the University of Utah, last year was awarded Alta’s Campus as a Living Lab Award for his work examining the water budgets of green roofs. For him, winning this award was important because it “creates more opportunity for communication and collaboration with other researchers.”

Maura Olivos, the Sustainability Coordinator at Alta Ski Area, echoed Feng’s statements. Olivos describes one of the most interesting things about her job is keeping a ‘finger on the pulse’ of sustainability. Working with the University, Olivos feels proud to be part of a community that strives to keep up with research and prepare tomorrow’s sustainability leaders for action.

The Alta Ski Area has a unique history working as a field partner with various classes and departments on campus. Alta has worked with students from the University to foster environmental stewardship on the mountain while providing hands-on experiences for faculty and students. The Alta Sustainability Leadership Awards exhibit and even deeper commitment to sustainability.

Adrienne Cachelin, Director of Sustainability Education on campus, says, “While many businesses are committed to greening their own operations, a true mark of leadership in the field of sustainability is investing in future generations both on and off site. This is exactly what Alta is doing through these awards”

As Maura Olivos said, “Much like education, sustainability is forever. The more you learn, the more you you realize there is to know. The Alta Awardees understand this better than anyone and we admire their continued effort to search out the answer for each new question that arises from sustainability.”

Mark your calendars for March 3, 2016 for the Alta Sustainability Leadership Award lecture and ceremony.

Eva Grimmer is a senior at the University of Utah studying Environmental and Sustainability Studies and Anthropology. She is passionate about education through communication and issues linked to sustainability.

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