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Utah State University Announces Earth Week and Sustainability Awards

Utah State University Student Sustainability Office and Sustainability Council are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and honoring the campus community’s sustainability award winners virtually from April 15 to 22. This year’s online events include High Stakes Kahoot, cooking and painting tutorials, yoga and a movie night. Students are also invited to participate in an art and literature contest. Winners will be announced on Earth Day. Full details are available at sustainability.usu.edu and on social media.

In addition, every year nominations are requested from the campus community for USU’s annual sustainability awards. The Community, Culture and Communication work group of the Sustainability Council is announcing the 2020 award winners.

Charles Darnell, Employee Sustainability Advocacy Award

Darnell has been a champion for sustainability and energy conservation in many ways through Facilities since he became the associate vice president for Facilities in 2011, and he has continued that work as he transitioned to associate vice president of energy management and sustainability in 2020. Darnell has supported student and faculty projects, including the permaculture garden, solar panels, and university composter. Darnell has prioritized energy conservation, resulting in significant energy savings. He has also become a statewide leader in bringing the greenhouse gas reduction into the discussion of statewide organizations.

Rob Davies, Sustainability Innovation Award

Davies is the "go to" faculty for many students and organizations with questions about climate change. Davies, a physics professor of professional practice, is known for his ability to present climate change through captivating visuals and a compelling narrative, on and off campus and throughout the intermountain west. Furthermore, Davies developed and teaches a course, entitled Unveiling the Anthropocene. This course is a model for other climate education efforts. As a quantitative intensive, depth science course for artists, it crosses the disciplines and reaches students in new ways and, likewise, encourages students to creatively communicate with others.

Brenda Hawley, Student Sustainability Leadership Award

Hawley, a graduating senior in graphic design, has been the Caine College of the Arts Sustainability Fellow for three years. During her tenure, she solidified the Impact Art Show as a kick-off to Earth Week while providing information to the college through the “Sustaina-Bulletin” newsletter. The solar panels that are now on top of the Fine Arts Visual building are also a Hawley original. She organized the team that wrote grants and secured matching funds for the project and the corresponding kiosk as well.

Doris McGonagill, Sustainability Educator Award

McGonagill, an associate professor of German, is an active proponent of sustainability. Over the past year, she has successfully initiated a conversation about sustainability at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHaSS), spearheading an effort to create and fund an AmeriCorps student sustainability fellow. In addition to publishing and presenting her own research on environmental issues, she has led students to share their research on environmental issues as well. She has collaborated with others to provide a venue for researchers to share their findings within the USU community.

About the USU Sustainability Council

The Utah State University Sustainability Council formed in 2007 after the university became a signatory to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). The Council seeks to reduce carbon emissions as well as conserve resources and enhance quality of life by promoting sustainability in USU’s academic and service missions.

About the Student Sustainability Office

The mission of the Utah State University Student Sustainability Office is to create a place on campus where students can generate and get help for their green ideas, obtain research grants for sustainability, and gain knowledge to take into their future.