University Community

Sustainability Award winners announced

Ohio University’s annual Earth Day Celebrations include recognition of Sustainability Award winners from the concluding academic year.  The Sustainability Awards are given to individuals, departments and organizations nominated by their peers for contributions to campus and the local community.  This year a number of exceptional students, faculty, staff and community members received awards.

Faculty Sustainability Award 

The Faculty Sustainability Award is given to an OHIO faculty member who has made exemplary contributions to his or her field through sustainability-related teaching, research, scholarship or service.  

The 2024 award recognizes Dr. Geoff Dabelko, professor in the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service. Dabelko teaches and conducts research on the environment, peacebuilding, and security; global environmental politics; climate change and security; and environmental leadership. He is currently focusing on the conflict and peacebuilding potential of climate change responses and environmental peacebuilding.  

Dabelko received multiple nominations for playing a prominent role in advancing the goals of Ohio University's Sustainability and Climate Action Plan, while at the same time elevating the importance and urgency of sustainability planning to students and the broader community.  

One of his nominations stated that he “is the most prominent name in sustainability at OHIO because of his work authoring chapters in the Fifth National Climate Assessment and the Fifth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and his many contributions to international reports, conferences and presentations on the complex connections among environment, climate, conflict, peacebuilding, and security.”

Student Sustainability Leaders Award

The Student Sustainability Leaders Award recognizes students who have excelled in sustainable actions and leadership at Ohio University.

This year’s award is presented to the Student Senate Environmental Affairs Commission for their efforts to promote sustainability through environmental summits, tabling, campus farmers markets and Eco-Fests that connect students to campus organizations.

One of their nominators remarked:

“I have witnessed the passion and enthusiasm that this group of people have towards making Ohio University more sustainable firsthand. They are always tabling, providing information packets for students to learn more about topics like composting, recycling, and sustainable period products. A few members of the Environmental Commission also run the Sustainability Network. Their commitment is unmatched, and I cannot think of anyone more deserving than this wonderful group of people.”

Staff Sustainability Advocate Award

The Staff Sustainability Advocate Award is given to a staff member who has served as an advocate for advancing sustainability initiatives at Ohio University.

The 2024 award recognizes Gem Stone, design and construction project manager within Facilities Management and Safety.

As a project manager, Stone leads project design teams in new construction and renovation projects on campus, and therefore has a significant impact on the sustainability of University projects. As her nomination noted:

“Luckily for Ohio University, Gem understands the importance of sustainable design in building projects (i.e. site design, energy, water, waste, and ventilation system design), and she steers design professionals to designs with the best triple bottom line profile. Over the past several years, Gem has advanced goals in the Buildings, Energy, Water, Waste, Grounds and Purchasing sections of the OHIO Sustainability and Climate Action Plan.”

Exemplary Sustainability Department Award

The Exemplary Sustainability Department Award honors an office or department at Ohio University that has shown great leadership in a variety of sustainable behaviors.

This year’s award is presented to the Sustainability Film Series, and in particular Lorraine Wochna and Loraine McCosker, for their leadership of this longstanding campus and community initiative.  Their multiple nominations noted:

“Loraine and Lorraine collaborated to create and facilitate the Sustainability Film Series. Based on their commitment to sustainability, they envisioned the film series as a way to bring community members, students, and faculty/staff into thoughtful discussion and exposure on screen and through panels associated with films. Through the many years the series has been running, many hundreds of people have come together at the Athena to engage, discuss, and learn about sustainability.”

“Loraine McCosker and Lorraine Wochna’s vision has resulted in solutions-based programming for Ohio University for over a decade. They have worked to make the series free for all attendees. The series was recognized with an Innovate and Collaborate partnership from University Libraries for furthering academic excellence, innovative programming and teaching and learning across the University.”

Community Sustainability Recognition

And finally, each year the Ohio University Office of Sustainability extends Community Sustainability Recognition to a community member or organization nominated for their participation in programs that help support community-wide sustainability efforts.

This year’s Community Sustainability Recognition is awarded to the Athens County Senior Fair Board for its essential efforts in support of diverting materials from the landfill and donating them to community members.

From their nomination:

“For more than 30 years, members of the Fair Board have volunteered to collect, sort, and organize, then give away the mountains of food, clothing, bedding and household items coming out of the dorms on Move OUt weekend. This colossal effort has redistributed these items back out to meet needs in the community. Current and former members of the Fair Board who have coordinated the Move OUt event include: Reid and Juanita Hart, Paula and Bruce Carpenter, Larry 'Buggs' and Maryann Stalder, Lester and Betty Green, Ron and Wanda Llewellyn, Carlos and Joyce Nicholson, and Kathy and Charles Llewellyn.”

Many other organizations and volunteers have also been involved in this redistribution over the years, including the Golden Gaits 4-H club, the Junior Fair Board, ReUse, New 2U, Faith Believer’s Ministry Church in New Marshfield, Friends and Neighbors of Lottridge, ReStore, AOZWI, and the ABLE Lab in Chauncey.

The Athens County Senior Fair Board is a leader in demonstrating how circular-economy organizing fosters community engagement and social equality, environmental sustainability, and economic growth, and is a worthy recipient of the Community Sustainability Recognition award.

May 22, 2024
Sam Crowl