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Sustainability Leadership Awards announced

This year’s Sustainability Leadership Awards recognize a student and a faculty member whose efforts strengthen a culture of sustainability on campus and beyond.

The Sustainability Leadership Awards recognize excellence in leadership for the health of our community and planet. The annual awards honor leadership in the areas of education integration and the use of campus as a living lab. They include recognition as well as an honorarium. The campus as a living lab award is supported by the Craig B. Forster Legacy Fund, a fund established in honor of Forster, the Sustainability Office’s founding director and a beloved U professor.

The 2020 Sustainability Leadership Award recipients

Sustainability Integration Award

Shane Macfarlan, assistant professor in anthropology

Shane Macfarlan exhibits an excitement and commitment to sustainability education, inspiring students and fellow faculty members. He encourages sustainability by creating course content that integrates ecological, economic and social concepts.

“Collaborating with students in the creation of a more just, sustainable, and equitable world through the scientific study of coupled human-environmental systems is the task I find most rewarding,” Macfarlan says.

Macfarlan is a sustainability curricular leader in the anthropology department, despite only being at the university for four years. He is responsible for co-creating a human ecology emphasis, developing a cultural anthropology emphasis and receiving two global learning grants. He shows a commitment to his students’ educational experiences and successes. During the Spring 2020 Semester alone, he has mentored nine students in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.

Macfarlan’s Culture, Ecology, and Sustainability Field School was designed as a transdisciplinary community-engaged learning course in which students engaged with and learned from the small and diverse community of people from all over Mexico that were now making a life in Todos Santos, a Mexican town near the southern end of the Baja Peninsula. Through this course, students were able to apply ethnographic methods to answer research questions related to the growth of the population, social relationships within the community and sustainable development.

Craig B. Forster Campus as a Living Lab Award

Sydney Boogard, Environmental & Sustainability Studies Program student

Sydney Boogard has demonstrated a dedication to both sustainability and using the campus as a living lab through two projects that she has taken on during her senior year.

Boogard earned a Sustainable Campus Initiatives Fund grant to provide air filtration masks to the campus community at a reduced cost and educate about the importance of using air masks during poor air quality days. Boogard purchased 575 masks using grant money, and she worked with the manufacturer to sell a large number of masks at wholesale price. She sold all of the masks in just a few days to students, faculty and staff. Proceeds from the initial sale of masks were re-invested in the purchase of an additional 226 masks, all of which were sold.

Boogard’s second project was aimed at encouraging graduating seniors within the College of Social & Behavioral Science (CSBS) to sign a sustainability pledge, committing signatories to take social and environmental impacts of their individual and collective decisions into account in the workplace. Environmental & Sustainability Studies capstone students, led by Boogard, drafted a sustainability pledge, based on successful templates used at other institutions. The students received SCIF grant funding to provide graduating seniors who take the pledge with green cords to wear at CSBS commencement ceremonies. This project will support a culture of sustainability at the university and inspire individuals to make lasting behavioral changes at multiple scales.

The work done by this year’s award winners demonstrates the importance of sustainability collaboration, creative thinking, and expertise from across campus and the community. Join us in congratulating these awardees on their excellent work and look for a future call for nominations for these awards in early 2021.