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A&S Faculty, Students Receive UK Office of Sustainability Awards

By Carlie Laughlin

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 11, 2021) — University of Kentucky students, faculty and staff from every area of campus are leading exciting, sustainability-focused programs. These programs provide high-impact research and learning opportunities for students and faculty, have significant positive environmental and economic impacts on operations, and provide resources and support for a foundation of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion at UK and across the Commonwealth. 

The 2021 Sustainability Showcase, hosted in the innovative and community-facing Cornerstone Exchange, highlighted the university's accomplishments in student engagement, athletics, health care, campus operations and interdisciplinary scholarship. A brief award presentation also honored the recipients of the 2021 Sustainability Challenge Grants, the undergraduate and graduate winners of the annual sustainability research and creativity poster competition and the recipients of the first Staff Sustainability Champion Awards.

Six teams of UK students, faculty and staff were awarded Sustainability Challenge Grants totaling more than $200,000. The Sustainability Challenge Grant program is designed to engage multidisciplinary teams from the university community in the creation and implementation of ideas that will promote sustainability on campus and in the local community.

The 2021 Sustainability Challenge Grant winners include:

  • "Climate Resilience through Community Resilience" ($42,705): Rebecca Gayle Howell, senior Lewis Lecturer, Lewis Honors College and assistant professor, Department. of Gender & Women's Studies.
  • "Diverse Landscapes for Nature Rx on the UK Medical Campus" ($38,527): Quincy Ipsaro, UK sustainability intern for the Built Environment Working Group, Biology and Environmental and Sustainability Studies major. 
  • "Stories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Kentucky” ($22,670): Akiko Takenaka, associate professor, Department of History;  Sharon Yam, associate professor, Department of Writing, Rhetoric, & Digital Studies; Srimati Basu, professor, Department of Gender & Women’s Studies; and  Michelle Sizemore, associate professor, Department of English.
  • "Turning Plastic Waste into Fuel for Operating Campus Grounds Equipment" ($43,045): Betsy Beymer-Farris, director, Environmental and Sustainability Studies; Carlie Laughlin, online Masters in Applied Environmental and Sustainability Studies student;  Shelby Browning, online Masters in Applied Environmental and Sustainability Studies student; and  Kristin Six, Online Masters in Applied Environmental and Sustainability Studies student.