2018 Award Recipients
Student Leadership Award: Asif Haque, Environmental Studies and Journalism
Asif Haque is the recipient of the Student Sustainability Leadership Award. Asif is conducting research on feasible environmental and economic approaches to urban living. His research will include how environmental considerations can affect adequate standards of medical security, job and food security, education, and adequate shelters in popular urban areas. Asif was recently accepted into an environmental studies study abroad program, where he will spend the first half of his summer in various parts of Germany gaining exposure to the European perspective of environmentalism. He plans on pursuing a Masters of Science in Urban Planning after graduation, and from there the possibilities are endless.
Student Scholarship Award: Bixi Qiao, Educational Psychology
Bixi Qiao is a graduate doctoral student in the Development and Learning Program in the Department of Educational Psychology at KU, and she is the recipient for this year's Student Scholarship award. Bixi’s Master’s Thesis focused on the topic of Educator-Targeted Bullying: A Cross Cultural Perspective. Bixi studied the types and extent to which Middle School Teachers were exposed to bullying in the USA and in her homeland of China. Anyone can be a target for bullying, and most people never think to consider that an adult teacher could be bullied by their own students. Bixi was given special recognition for all her work, the quality of her work and the creativity in her research by passing her Thesis and defense with Honors. In addition, Bixi created a poster of her work and presented it at the Graduate Research Poster Competition where graduate students compete across departments for outstanding research.
Student Project Award: Environmental Studies Capstone Elementary School Gardening Group
A group of five female students from the Spring 2018 Environmental Studies Capstone Course have produced a project focusing on implementing gardening programs in local Lawrence elementary schools. Within this project, they have also encouraged inclusive participation in school gardening by designing a wheelchair accessible garden bed. They have partnered with the Lawrence High School construction class to make this accessible garden bed, thus engaging other local students with this project. In one semester, the group has led multiple hands-on lessons and activities at Deerfield Elementary School that have taught students in each grade level how to read seed packets and care for their own garden. The group participated in the Deerfield’s Garden Opening Day, and will soon be leading a seed planting workshop at the school. This project teaches and instills the importance of environmental stewardship and proper nutrition to local youth, as well as promotes accessibility through hands on activities for all students.
Faculty Leadership Award: Doug Clopton, Lecturer, School of Business
Enlightened Consumption is a relatively new course created by Doug Clopton that has been incredibly well-received by KU students. Initially beginning with 40 students, the course has grown to over 120 (maximum seating) for the last three semesters. Often, industry and consumers are at odds, creating a vicious battle of attempting to balance the items consumed, with the resources needed to provide products and services. To approach it from a “one position or the other” or “us versus them” mentality creates a “they lose/we win mentality”. This course takes a pro-business AND pro-consumer approach to solving sustainability issues. Students analyze how organizations and consumers can join forces resulting in the availability of products and services the consumer desires, while organizations have the incentive and access to the resources to produce these items. Because of the students’ acceptance, Mr. Clopton has authored the textbook “Enlightened Consumption” and has been actively involved in bridging industry and consumers through community sustainability programs with several organizations including Catholic Charities and Habitat for Humanity.
Faculty Scholarship Award: John Head, Robert W. Wagstaff Distinguished Professor, School of Law
John Head, the Robert W. Wagstaff Distinguished Professor at the School of Law, is the recipient of the Faculty Scholarship Award. Head applies his expertise in international business and public international law toward issues of environmental sustainability, with a focus on sustaining grasslands. He has authored two books on the subject, Global Legal Regimes to Protect the World’s Grasslands (2012), and International Law and Agroecological Husbandry: Building Legal Foundations for a New Agriculture (2017). Head also supported the Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy in hosting a symposium on the topic of grasslands protection, which resulted in a volume of original scholarship on the topic. His work extends into the classroom, where he has developed a course on Global Challenges in Law, Agriculture, Development, and Ecology, educating future attorneys and scholars on public policy and approaches to governance that can more effectively address environmental and legal issues of our time.
Staff Leadership Award: Shawn Harding, Assistant Director, Facilities Services
Shawn Harding, Assistant Director of Facilities Services, was nominated for the Staff Sustainability Leadership Award for his continued commitment to the Replant Mount Oread program. As a member of the Campus Tree Advisory Board, Harding was an integral partner in the establishment of the program in 2012 and continues to volunteer his time at planting events. He employs his Landscaping experience to instruct volunteers on how to dig, plant, and cover the trees roots, and in recent years, he has single-handedly placed every single tree to ensure the tree was best placed for survival. Those particular planting days simply would not have succeeded without Harding's dedication to maintaining the campus landscape and involving students in KU’s tree traditions.
Staff Scholarship Award: Davide Lionetti, Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Chemistry
Davide Lionetti, Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Chemistry, is mentoring a new generation of green chemists. Through is work in Dr. James Blakemore's lab, Lionetti studies catalysts in chemical reactions with the goal of reducing carbon emissions and negative environmental impacts. But he is also teaching students in the lab how these reaction work and why their research is so critical to a more sustainable future. Students working in the lab note that Lionetti takes time away from research to make sure they understand these complex reactions, to help them present this information to others, and to reduce their own environmental impacts while working in the lab.
Organizational Leadership: Edwards Campus Sustainability Committee
KU Edwards Sustainability Committee is the recipient of this year’s Sustainability Leadership Award for a Campus Organization. The committee applied for and received an award from the Green Business Assistance Program through the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment. This award allowed them to purchase 100 recycling bins and provide signage. As a result, they saw a 100% increase in their recycling compared to 2016. They also received R5 certification (Reinvest, Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) from the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment which recognizes community entities for their sustainability efforts. Additionally, the committee provided insight to the new construction in the Regents Center which has new LED lighting and a new boiler system which is 30% more efficient than the previous. The committee highlighted sustainability during Campus Sustainability Week in October, provided volunteer opportunities for staff and faculty on Earth Day to beautify landscaping, and hosted a Sustainability Ambassador meeting that discussed social justice and sustainability.
Energy Conservation Leadership Award: Lon Dehnert, Assistant Dean, School of Education
Lon Dehnert is the Assistant Dean at the School of Education and is this year’s Energy Conservation Leadership Award winner. Lon has worked very closely with the Energy Office for the past 4 years to put very aggressive energy conservation measures in place to make Joseph R Pearson (JRP) one of KU’s most efficient and comfortable academic buildings. HVAC schedules have been put in place to cool when the building is occupied but save when vacant, LEDs were installed in an auditorium classroom, and summer classes were consolidated to a few classrooms to run fewer Air Handlers during the hot summer months. Since Lon’s involvement in these energy conservation efforts, energy use has dropped from 50KBtu/sqft in 2014 to 37KBtu/sqft in February 2018. Lon is a joy to work with, is very attentive to energy issues, communicates easily, and is open to trying new ideas.
Social Justice Award: The Commons
The Commons is dedicated to hosting interdisciplinary events "where people come together to establish common ground from which they may express and explore uncommon ideas for the common good." Over the past year in particular this has included events that foster exploration of issues of social justice. From book talks and film showings, to presentations and dialogues, events at The Commons are creating space for important conversations around poverty, race, human rights, and a range of other topics. And this effort goes beyond just subject matter. In planning these events, Director Emily Ryan has worked with community and campus partners to feature speakers and create events that center and uplift marginalized voices.