2019 Award Recipients
Whitney Baker, Librarian, KU Libraries
Whitney Baker is being awarded for her efforts around energy conservation in KU Libraries’ facilities. In 2017, Whitney Baker was awarded a planning grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities' (NEH) Preserving Cultural Heritage Collections program, which allowed the Libraries to work with a specialized consulting firm to develop strategies for improving operation of Spencer Research Library's aging air handling system. The ultimate goal of this project was to better preserve the collections while reducing the environmental impact of the building’s operations. Work on the grant project began in October 2017 and will continue until March 2019. Just as importantly, her work on the NEH grant has led to ongoing partnerships with KU Operations to explore how best to balance preservation and energy usage. Baker has been a consistent advocate for technologies such as motion-sensing for lighting in library spaces, installation and use of blinds on windows, and installation of UV and visible light protection on windows and has the way to reduced energy consumption and a better environment for collections as a whole.
Kim Criner, Education & Outreach Coordinator, Center for Sustainability
Kim Criner joined the staff at KU in 2014 and was immediately at the center of sustainability initiatives. Over the past 5 years Kim has advised students, connecting them to resources on campus and helping them incorporate sustainability into their educational and research experiences. She has worked with staff to inform departments about sustainability initiatives and adopt more sustainable behaviors and practices in the workplace. And she has supported faculty as they integrate sustainability into the curriculum across a range of disciplines. Kim has been at the heart of new efforts to make KU a more sustainability a part of everyday life at KU, including evolving theOread Project faculty development program into a regional Center for Sustainability Across the Curriculum, and developing and implementing the Sustainability Certificate, which allows students from any discipline to learn about sustainability through multiple lenses. She has also developed relationships with other departments to expand the Center's capacity for incorporating sustainability into operations, academics, and campus life. Kim is truly passionate about not only making a positive impact here on campus, but about educating others on how we can all live more sustainably and encouraging them to take those practices with them beyond the boundaries of our campus.
Kelsey Fortin, PhD candidate, Health, Sport, and Exercise Sciences
Kelsey is being awarded for her research and advocacy to raise awareness about hunger on campus. As a former Health Educator at Watkins Health Center and current PhD candidate, Kelsey has sought to bring awareness to this often ignored problem on many college campuses. She has chaired and spearheaded the efforts of the campus committee KU Fights Hunger, now called Food for Jayhawks, which contributed to the successful launch of the Campus Cupboard, in the Kansas Union, and she has worked to highlight issues centering around food waste and the high prices of food for students on our very own campus. In addition to all of this work, Fortin completed her Master’s thesis in fall 2018, which detailed the struggles of food-insecure KU students. She continues to strive for more awareness through funding opportunities and additional research so we can better meet the physical, mental, and emotional needs of those struggling with food insecurity, and further educate staff, faculty, students, and community about applicable and feasible ways to address this problem that so many Americans face.
Rachel Krause, PhD, Associate Professor, KU School of Public Affairs & Administration
Rachel Krause is being awarded for her research, coursework, and governmental collaborations around sustainability and environmental policies. As an instructor of graduate students, Krause's courses examine complex sustainability and environmental policies. She also engages in extensive research on issues of sustainability, environmental management, and climate policy. In many cases, her work results in proving invaluable information to local governments to augment decision-making around key sustainability policies and practices. The words of her nominator best summarize Krause’s commitment to sustainability: “She is an advocate for students, especially those traditionally underrepresented in academia...Rachel has modeled the exemplar faculty member and champion of sustainability I strive to be."
Jayhawks Breaking Barriers
The mission of Jayhawks Breaking Barriers (JBB) is to increase awareness about the gender and diversity gap in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM) and to provide the skills, confidence, and networks necessary to allow all STEMM students to reach their professional career goals. Initaited as a mentoring program, JBB has been redeveloped as a course with goals to increase awareness of obstacles faced by under-represented groups in STEMM, to provide professional development skills for student success in future STEM careers, and to increase student confidence and resilience. Students leave the course with an established professional network in the broader community, polished professional documents, a developed career-focused presence on social media, tangible products that can be included in a portfolio, and awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion-related issues that they will need to understand to be effective leaders.
Paul Schwennesen, PhD candidate, Environmental History
Paul is being awarded for his work and research on sustainable ranching practices and land conservation. Paul studies the environmental history of 16th century domestic livestock introduction to North America and has spoken publicly about "conservation ranching" around the globe. He also operates Double Check Ranch near Tucson, which supplies farmers’ markets and restaurants with all-natural, humanely raised grassfed beef. He has worked for 5 years to transition ranch pastures to perennial native grassland and has also initiated the Agrarian Freedom Project, which will allow a younger generation of farmers and ranchers to come back to the land and become sustainability-minded land stewards.