Recognizing outstanding leadership in sustainability
Published: April 20, 2016
On April 20, Michigan State University's Sustainability department celebrated Earth Day and outstanding sustainability leadership at the 2016 Be Spartan Green Award Gala. The annual event recognizes Spartans who have made significant contributions to sustainability at MSU and beyond.
This year, the gala was hosted at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing, and featured keynote speaker George Heartwell, former Mayor of Grand Rapids, who made significant advances in environmental protection, energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Be Spartan Green Outstanding Awards were given to staff, students, faculty, alumni and campus partners who went above and beyond in their support of sustainability. MSU units that achieved Spartan Green Certification for their commitment to pursuing environmental stewardship in their workspaces were also recognized.
To view photos from the event, visit the Be Spartan Green Facebook page.
2016 Be Spartan Green Outstanding Awards
Outstanding Faculty MembersLaurie Thorp, MSU Department of Community Sustainability Professor
Dr. Laurie Thorp is a professor in MSU's Department of Community Sustainability and Director of MSU's Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment (RISE) program. In addition to overseeing the RISE program, where students integrate environmental studies and practices into their academic experience, Thorp is a constant supporter of campus sustainability efforts, guiding students in submitting proposals for sustainable research and mentoring them through various projects.
Frank Telewski, MSU Department of Plant Biology Professor
Dr. Frank Telewski is a professor in MSU's Department of Plant Biology and Curator for the W.J. Beal Botanical Garden and Campus Arboretum. He was instrumental in developing the MSU Sustainable Wood Recovery Program, which recovers trees that are removed from campus due to decline, storm damage or safety concerns and transforms them into products known as the MSU Shadows Collection. Telewski's work directly addressed campus efforts to reduce our carbon footprint by finding a valuable use for MSU's trees, saving them from being shredded for mulch or burned as biomass.
Outstanding Staff MembersChip Hornburg, MSU Residential and Hospitality Services Facilities Manager
Chip Hornburg is a facilities manager for Akers Hall, Hubbard Hall and Holmes Hall on MSU's campus. Throughout his years of service, he has prioritized waste diversion and developed creative ways to encourage student participation in waste reduction events like Pack Up, Pitch In. To make recycling accessible to the 5,500 students in his buildings, Hornburg implemented a comprehensive recycling program on each residential floor, raising funds for over 100 recycling bins and developing an educational program for Resident Assistants to ensure the initiative was met with success.
Denise Jones, Administrative Assistant at the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine Macomb University Center
Denise Jones has been centrally involved in the planning, management and operation of MSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine, with determined leadership in the area of environmental responsibility. Located in southeast Michigan, the facility does not have access to the recycling resources on main campus. To address this concern, Jones established local systems for recycling, placing containers in classrooms to collect recyclables and collecting reusable materials for local schools. In addition to personally collecting recyclable material in the building, she constantly looks for energy-saving opportunities when purchasing supplies and equipment.
Outstanding Student EmployeeTim Montoya, MSU Sustainability Multimedia Communications Student Intern
At MSU Sustainability, Tim Montoya has been integral in sharing the stories of numerous staff, students and faculty members who are working to advance campus sustainability. His talent for translating complex environmental research into accessible and engaging videos has not only helped achieve the Sustainability department's campus engagement goals, but has also motivated others to spread their ideas and experiences. Montoya's passion for sustainability is echoed not only through these videos, but also in his work at the MSU Recycling Center sort line, where he experienced waste reduction operations firsthand.
Outstanding Student OrganizationU.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Students - Michigan State University
The USGBC Students, Michigan State University are bringing the latest sustainable design and building principles to MSU by exploring trends in sustainable living and pursuing projects that reduce resource consumption, maximize space and encourage reuse of materials. They are currently constructing Sparty's Cabin, a 'tiny house' featuring materials from the MSU Shadows Collection. Other elements of the tiny house design emphasize energy savings, organic waste reduction and an environmentally-conscious lifestyle.
Outstanding Student Research ProjectWater Consumption Survey
Cheng-Hua Liu, Melissa Rojas-Downing and Zhenci Xu are graduate students at MSU who conducted a campuswide survey addressing bottled water consumption on campus. Generating over 1,200 responses, their analysis uncovered sound conclusions about what water sources are preferred by students and staff, and how people perceived campus water quality. The team's survey has the capability for future application and can be used for further research on this topic.
Outstanding AlumniLori Welch, City of East Lansing Environmental Specialist, 1994 MSU Graduate
Lori Welch is an environmental specialist for the City of East Lansing and 1994 MSU graduate. She is a well-respected volunteer, community member and industry leader. Welch was instrumental in implementing curbside recycling in the City of Lansing, directly contributing to waste reduction in the local community.
Outstanding Campus PartnerSpartan Innovations
Spartan Innovations provides educational and financial support to MSU students who are interested in entrepreneurship. Through innovation and partnerships, Spartan Innovations helps bring student ideas to the marketplace in order to improve the quality of life in communities near and far. In 2015, Spartan Innovations partnered with MSU's Sustainability department to host a statewide student solar design competition - helping create opportunities for student innovation and entrepreneurship in the field of renewable energy.
Special RecognitionJennifer Battle, MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities Chief Strategic Implementation Officer
In her role as chief strategic implementation officer for Infrastructure Planning and Facilities, Jennifer Battle is focused on organizational and resource effectiveness. In her most recent previous role as the director for MSU Sustainability, Battle led large organization-wide planning initiatives to make Michigan State University a model for sustainability. Initiatives such as the Energy Transition Plan and the creation of the Be Spartan Green initiative have left a lasting impression on campus, and have greatly contributed to the university's sustainability legacy.
Spartan Green Certification recipientsCampus teams that received Spartan Green Certification support MSU's sustainability goals by reducing their environmental footprint through:
- Energy efficiency and conservation
- Waste reduction and recycling
- Water conservation
- Sustainable purchasing practices