The Sustainability Champion Awards are designed to recognize individuals and groups at SCU who go out of their way to transform the culture of sustainability on campus.
These awards celebrate one student, one faculty member, and one staff member who have transformed one or more of the following areas of campus:
- Academics: This involves improvement and/or transformation for sustainability in curriculum, research, faculty resources, use of the campus as a living laboratory, or other academic programs.
- Engagement: This involves events, programs, or initiatives that strengthen sustainable attitudes and behaviors on campus and/or with our community partners.
- Operations: This involves project or program development that moves campus buildings, landscaping, energy, food & dining, purchasing, transportation, waste or water use towards more sustainable processes.
- Planning & Administration: This involves working on institutionalizing sustainability via policy/governance/strategic planning, enhancing diversity and affordability, sustainable investment/finance, or improving employee wellbeing and safety.
In addition, the following awards can go to an individual or group in the SCU community:
- Forge Garden Award: This award is given to an individual or group that has made a valuable development to the Forge Garden community.
- Innovation: This award involves a collaborative and innovative project or program that significantly contributes to the culture of sustainability at SCU.
Members of the Center for Sustainability vote on the nominees, who are self-nominated or nominated by another.
Sustainability Champion Awards for Faculty: Kristin Kusanovich for creating, managing, & implementing SCU's tUrn Weeks, a series of events dedicated to drawing attention to our climate crisis
Sustainability Champion Award for Staff: Lisa Fabiny for creating a culture of sustainability in the Global Engagement Office, helping it reduce waste, paper usage, and more
Sustainability Champion Award for Student: Grace Lin-Cereghino, Class of 2021, for practicing mindful consumption and using her Residence Life platform to teach residents about climate justice
Forge Garden Award: Hydroponics Team (Alex Estrada, Katya Fairchok, Claire Pavelka, Carson Edgerton, Andrew Feldmeth, and Andrew Jezak) for creating a fully functional recycled greywater hydroponics system in operation at The Forge Garden
Champion of Champions: Amy Shachter for spearheading SCU's pivotal sustainability initiatives in the 90's and early 2000s, Co-Chairing the initial Sustainability Taskforce, and being crucial to the success of the Center for Sustainability and its strong connections with academics.
Sustainability Champion Awards for Faculty: Sister Mary McGann, R.C.S.J. for fostering sustainability among University faculty through the transformation and leadership of her courses and environmental stewardship
Sustainability Champion Award for Staff: Kayla Wells and Hannah Dahdouh of the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education for fostering sustainability among University staff
Sustainability Champion Award for Student: Aidan Artero, Class of 2019, for fostering sustainability among University students through his leadership in the residence halls and environmental stewardship
Sustainability Champions for Innovation: Maria Judnick and Matt Driscoll for their innovation in developing a new course designed to engage in sustainability actions on campus
Forge Garden Awards: Oliveya Leon (student) and Linh Lam (staff) for their devoted volunteer time to the garden space and community
Champion of Champions: Father Michael Engh, S.J. for his leadership and environmental stewardship and for developing a culture of sustainability at Santa Clara University.
Sustainability Champion Awards for Academics: Jes Kuczenski, Engineering
Sustainability Champion Awards for Engagement: Travis Osland, Class of 2018
Sustainability Champion Award for Operations: Albanie Nierenberg, Class of 2021
Sustainability Champion Awards for Planning & Administration: Dave Mathe, Environment, Health & Safety (EHS)
Sustainability Champion for Innovation: The Forge Garden Club
Forge Garden Award: Jacques Ropert, community member
Sustainability Champion for Academics: Phyllis Brown, Faculty
Phyllis was a participant in the first faculty-led workshop in 2007, called the Penstemon Project for integrating sustainability across the curriculum. Since then, she has encouraged her students to explore sustainability at SCU through course assignments. She has even developed a paperless course - a noteworthy feat for Critical Thinking and Writing! She is also a Faculty Sustainability Liaison for the english department.
Sustainability Champion for Engagement: Marianna Moore, Class of 2017
Marianna is a student who has impact the lives of many. She has consistently been practicing sustainable behaviors since she stepped foot on the SCU campus: she rides a bike (or walks) almost everywhere, takes short showers, tries to not flush immediately to conserve water (which her nominator asked us not to mention), and has done most things to change her behavior in a sustainable way. Most importantly, she’s affected change by encouraging peers to engage in sustainable behavior: She’s worked with peers in SCCAP and LOCALS to reduce waste, compost, and recycle. She has been a huge influence on her residents in SLURP, on the 7th floor of Swig Hall. We appreciate all she’s done, especially that she’s participated in the Eco-Fashion & Art Show so many times!
Sustainability Champion for Operations: Jane Barrantes, Auxiliary Services
Jane has been a long-time supporter of campus sustainability. She has been a leader not only by encouraging her team to integrate sustainability into daily operations, but also by supporting innovation among her staff. I’d like to invite her colleague, Chris Shay, Assistant Vice President for University Operations and Interim Vice President of Finance and Administration up to the stage to say a few words in her honor. Thank you Jane, for all of your support!
Sustainability Champion for Innovation: rEvolve Tiny House
Students across the University collaborated over two years to design and built a net-zero energy house by incorporating renewable energy, green building techniques, and sustainable living. The team used our campus as a living laboratory to create a showcase of sustainable innovation. By building the house on campus and winning the Sacramento Municipal Utility District's Tiny House Competition, they brought students' attention to sustainable building techniques. The team’s work will live on -- the rEvolve Tiny House was donated to Operation Freedom Paws, which pairs veterans with service dogs. The House will serve as temporary accommodations for out-of-town visitors -- from new clients being paired with a service dog to service dog trainers visiting to help lead classes.
Faculty: Ed Maurer, a Faculty Sustainability Liaison, involves the Civil Engineering department in sustainability related, local events such as creek clean-ups with the City of Santa Clara, rides his bike to work, and actively brings up new technology and ideas to the Center for Sustainability.
Staff: Julia Claire Landry, Director of Graduate Student Ministry, hosts graduate ministry events at the Forge and ensures that sustainability is woven into the programming or operations of the event. She also integrated Spirituality Facilitators into the Sustainability Liaison Network and is a second year Workplace Sustainability Liaison.
Student: Aaron Poor was the first ASG president (2015-16) to include sustainability in his platform, “community, sustainability, and snacks.” He always includes sustainability in conversation with student initiatives, especially off-campus. Aaron participates in Center for Sustainability programs and events, and volunteers with SCCAP’s Best Buddies program at the Forge Garden. Aaron also developed his own major to study sustainable business.
Group: The Food and Agribusiness Institute (FAI) provides students with an education in the functional areas of management with the application of modern business practices to food and agribusiness firms. FAI creates awareness among students with food-related events. This year, they have partnered with the Center for Sustainability to include the Forge Garden and other urban gardens or farms in their activities and research.
Collaborative Project: In November 2015, the Laudato Si Conference Planning Committee hosted a conference about Pope Francis’ Encyclical, “Our Future on a Shared Planet: Silicon Valley in Conversation with the Environmental Teachings of Pope Francis.” The two-day event attracted hundreds of students and community members, and featured speakers including Dr. Gretchen Daily, Dr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan, and San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo.
Sustainability Liaison: Justin Wojcik is a very active Workplace Sustainability Liaison who always makes an effort to never miss a liaison meeting and participates in various Center for Sustainability activities. He uses a personal compost pail, was instrumental in Loyola’s win of the Annual Energy Challenge, served as a panelist in the Eco-Fashion Show, and attends extra liaison events and field trips such as the Advanced Water Purification Center Tour in April.