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Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014

A Few Clouds, 64 °F

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Members of the Youth Build of Southeast Ohio lower the basketball hoop their students built from 100 percent recycled materials and entered in the ReUse Industries ReUse Competition.

Members of the Youth Build of Southeast Ohio lower the basketball hoop their students built from 100 percent recycled materials and entered in the ReUse Industries ReUse Competition.

Photographer: Jonathan Adams

Leslie Schaller, director of programming at The Appalachian Center for Economic Networks, speaks to a crowd at the Earth Day event about local movements in the Athens Community and how to make them sustainable.

Leslie Schaller, director of programming at The Appalachian Center for Economic Networks, speaks to a crowd at the Earth Day event about local movements in the Athens Community and how to make them sustainable.

Photographer: Jonathan Adams

Megan Graver, a graduate student in Ohio University's Office of Sustainability, tries to balance the globe on her finger during the Earth Day Reception.

Megan Graver, a graduate student in Ohio University's Office of Sustainability, tries to balance the globe on her finger during the Earth Day event.

Photographer: Jonathan Adams

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OHIO celebrates sustainability on Earth Day


Ohio University’s Office of Sustainability recognized members of the University community with a special, inaugural Earth Day awards ceremony in Walter Hall Rotunda Tuesday evening.

“This event is important to me because sustainability has been a big part of my life,” explained OHIO Student Event Coordinator Mackenzie Henry-Hoegler. She and other event coordinators planned the event in an effort to recognize people within the University community for their efforts in creating a more sustainable environment.

Pottery displays crafted by Jennifer L’Heuruex, owner of Nelsonville Emporium, were arranged for viewing throughout the rotunda, and Leslie Schaller, director of programming for the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks, served as the keynote speaker. Schaller also plays a role in the development of the Athens Farmer’s Market and is business director of the worker-owned restaurant, Casa Nueva, in uptown Athens.

Schaller said she remains focused on developing a better environment that everyone can benefit from through continued use of sustainability efforts. Growing up in Cleveland, she witnessed what she called degradation of the environment due to industrialization. Her background drew her to learn more about sustainability and climate change.  

“We need to change the resistance in the past (toward sustainability) into new solutions for the future, she said. “(Ohio University) is a special place and we need to assist the rural community.”

Schaller emphasized eating chemical-free organic foods as a step the community should take, as well as sustainability education. She said investing in small acts is needed to create change, and includes visits to the Athens Farmer’s Market to support local agriculture.

Winners of the inaugural Sustainability Awards included a Faculty Award which was awarded to Ben Stuart, associate professor in civil engineering. Alex Slaymaker received the Student Award, Loraine McCosker received the Staff Award, Maria Manarchino received the Residential Housing Award, Culinary Services received the Department Award while Event Services received honorable mention, and the Office of Sustainability Student Employee Award was given to Katie Lasco and Tess Phinney, who tied.

“What was brilliant about this specific event was bringing people from other regions to Ohio University and showing their creativity,” said McCosker.

“I work hard in a lot of ways around sustainability,” she added. “I’m an educator and I’m an outreach coordinator and adviser, so it was very nice to be acknowledged and to be up there with my peers and everyone else who has been awarded as well.”

Following the awards, the audience had an opportunity to visit with organizations that sponsored the event, including the Office of Sustainability, ReUse Industries and the Voinovich School of Leadership. Organizations who had educational tables on display included Rural Action, Devine Ovations, ECOSkills, the Sierra Student Coalition, ECOReps, Athens County Farmer’s Market, Campus Recycling, Sustainable Ohio University Leaders, the Nelsonville Emporium, the Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development and representatives from the environmental studies undergraduate certificate program.

ReUse Industries also had recycled artwork created by local and campus groups on display. Awards were provided for the most artistic in addition to the Viewer’s Choice Awards. Irie Green won first-place in the Youth Artistic category, Ellen Gagliano placed first in the Adult Artistic category, Derek Pyle was first in Functional Youth, and Greg King was first in the Functional Adult category.

Eric Cornwell, the maker of bikes who came in second place in the Functional Adult category for his “Bicycle Taxi,” said being recognized called for celebration.

“This event means that I get to be a part of a wide spectrum of genius people in this region and share what I have to offer and experience what they have to offer,” Cornwell said. “The main reason I’ve been biking for a number of years is for the environmental benefits.”