Awards Celebrate Sustainable Employees, Students

Annual ceremony highlights `green' projects and people from across campus

This group shot features winners from the 2012 EMAC awards. Photo courtesy of Arwen Buchholz.
This group shot features winners from the 2012 EMAC awards. Photo courtesy of Arwen Buchholz.

From leading efforts to make labs across campus more sustainable to giving up a gas-guzzling car, Duke community members are focused on a variety of ways to make campus more "green."

Duke recently honored those efforts and others at an annual awards ceremony sponsored by the Environmental Management Action Committee (EMAC), which is comprised of Duke faculty, staff and students. The event celebrated the sustainable work of five individuals, four groups and the employees of the Pratt School of Engineering  Dean's Office.

"Most of our nominees do amazing work on top of their full-time expectations as faculty, staff and students," said Arwen Buchholz, Duke's recycling and waste reduction coordinator. "I draw significant motivation for the work I do just by reading the nominations, and I believe others are inspired to see so many highly motivated people." 

Each award winner received a plaque made of reused computer circuit boards with a certificate printed on recycled paper.

The winners included the Health System's Materials Management team, which received the Outstanding Group Recycler Award. The staff of six employees performs on-demand pickups of traditional recyclables every day throughout the Health System, handling up to 25,000 pounds of recyclables each month.

"It's all about finding the opportunity to do something positive for the environment," said Antonio Harris , materials resource supervisor for the group. "When I started it was just one employee with one truck. Now we make an effort each day to go out and educate staff on recycling and how they can help the effort."

Other students, faculty and staff honored include:

  • Steve Hinkle, a chaplain with InterVarsity Graduate and Faculty Ministries. Hinkle received the Community Service Award for choosing to give up his 1992 Toyota Corolla for a custom-made commuter bike which he solely rides for commuting and errands.
  • Randy Smith, departmental manger in the Department of Biology. Smith has spearheaded efforts to "green" labs at Duke and acting as leader for the Green Labs at Duke group, which maintains a website and listserv with sustainable information. He also helped create a Green Lab Certification as a companion to the existing Green Workplace Certification.
  • Casey Roe, outreach coordinator for Sustainable Duke, was acknowledged with the Environmental Education Award for her work to educate students, faculty and staff on Duke's sustainability efforts. Roe offers presentations and workshops and created the Green Workplace Certification class that's available to Duke community members.
  • Sarah Parsons, a graduate student, was given the Graduate Student Environmental Leadership Award. Parsons was recognized for her work coordinating sustainable efforts with several Duke projects, including the Honey Patch and Community gardens. She also was a part of Duke's "Farmhand" student group.
  • Moh Ismail, a student, received the Undergraduate Student Environmental Leadership Award for his work as director of publicity for the undergraduate group, Environmental Alliance. Along with working for the Campus Sustainability Committee and Students for a Sustainable Living, Ismail helped develop the GreenBook, a "101" guide to sustainable living for incoming students.
  • The Duke Smart Home and Community Garden were given the Undergraduate Student Group Environmental Leadership Award for efforts to establish  the Smart Home and Community Garden as a Sustainable SITES Initiative project, which recognizes sustainable spaces similar to the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED program.
  • The volunteer group Farmhand was presented with the Graduate Student Group Student Environmental Leadership Award for its work to build relationships between Duke students and community farmers by organizing volunteer days, sustainability dinners and other events.
  • The employees of the Pratt School of Engineering Dean's Office received the Outstanding Recycling Building Award for their continued efforts to recycle and encourage sustainable behaviors for trash collection and water use.