2017 Award Nominees

Congratulations to the NOMINEES for the 2017 Champions for Change Awards!

The following people and programs have been nominated for their significant contributions in the areas of Sustainability or health & Well-Being.

The 5 award recipients in each category will be announced on April 12th.

Sustainability: Florida Microplastic Awareness Project

“The Florida Microplastic Awareness Project (FMAP) is a statewide effort, spearheaded by Dr. Maia McGuire (UF/IFAS Extension Flagler County Sea Grant agent) that so far has resulted in over 1,000 people pledging to reduce plastic waste by taking an average of 3.6 of the suggested eight actions. (On average, people reported already doing four of the suggested behaviors.) Follow-up surveys show that 90% have made at least one behavior change to reduce plastic waste, with the average number of behavior changes made since learning about microplastics being three.As scientific research and the public media report more and more about the growing problem of plastic in the marine and freshwater environments, the Florida Microplastic Awareness Project seems to resonate with people. Almost two thirds of people taking the FMAP pledge have promised to read labels on personal care products like face wash and deodorant and avoid those products that contain polyethylene (plastic).”

Sustainability: Wendell Porter

Dr. Wendell Porter is a senior lecturer for AOM2520, Global Energy Sustainability, where he uses a pedagogical approach to demonstrate the effective methods of energy and water conservation. He utilizes on-line materials and videos to present the economic and environmental benefits of water and energy conservation in daily life. He also works as a member of the Board of Directors on the Community Weatherization Coalition, a local volunteer organization that performs free energy audits for low-income homes. He spends many hours volunteering for these energy audits and in training new volunteers in the organization.

Sustainability: Lauren Berkow

Dr. Berkow recently joined the faculty at UF Health- Shands and has been working to initiate more sustainable practices in this area. She has created a multi-disciplinary working group to reduce waste in the operating room and increase recycling opportunities. She has started quality improvement projects to organize and reduce waste in the operating room and pharmaceutical waste in the effort to reduce water and air pollution.

Sustainability: Department of Housing and Residence Education Social Justice Committee

Co-chaired by Tanya Hughes and Patricia Jordan, the DOHRE Social Justice Committee was formed in June 2016 with the mission to provide an equitable community and create and sustain an environment that is physically and psychologically safe for all identities. Since being founded, the Committee has facilitated several social justice sessions involving full-time staff, student staff and student leaders. The DOHRE Social Justice Committee aims to expand social justice knowledge base internally and externally to campus by sharing information through Student Affairs and regional and national conferences.

Sustainability: JWRU Maintenance Staff

During the recent upgrades to the Reitz Union mechanical systems, the JWRU Maintenance staff monitored and provided feedback to ensure successful and timely operation. Since the conclusion of this project, the staff members have continued to review operation and equipment to ensure maximum energy savings. Using the new Building Automation system, staff have been able to be directly involved with reviewing and troubleshooting equipment and operation.

Sustainability: PPD Refuse Department

After a 2014 waste audit, the Physical Plant Division Refuse Department launched a program to collect food waste paper towel waste on campus. Now implemented widely on campus, these materials are sent to a commercial composting facility to be turned into soil. The department continues to work to improve logistics of new routes and schedules and reduce contamination issues.

Sustainability: Florida-Friendly Landscaping

Operating under the UF Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology, Florida-Friendly Landscaping is an outreach program whose goal is to educate the public on landscaping that saves water and reduces nonpoint source pollution. The program works directly with homeowners through workshops, classroom presentations and irrigation evaluations to educate on the water savings potential through landscaping. The FFL program plans to continue to offer science-based education to the growing population of Florida to help ensure water conservation and water quality protection.

Sustainability: Field and Fork Team

“The Field and Fork Program was established in 2016 to provide students, faculty, staff and visitors with the opportunity to engage in a community of collaboration and learning about sustainable agriculture and food systems. The program is a campus-wide resource where individuals can take courses, engage in demonstrations, and participate in activities that focus on sustainable agriculture and food systems. From a home or community garden to an urban farm or large scale production, the program provides opportunity to explore production at multiple scales.  With the Food Pantry and community partnerships, the program provides opportunities to explore every aspect of food from food safety and processing to consumption and nutrition.”

Sustainability: Laura Warner, Kathleen Ruppert, Hal Knowles, & Katie Stofer

In a partnership between the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, the Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology, and the Program for Resource Efficient Communities, this team has been working to empower people outside of the behavioral sciences with the tools needed to change behaviors. This team worked to give interdisciplinary student access to Cultivating Community Change, a certificate program developed to train participants on the use of social marketing strategy in behavioral change.

Sustainability: UF Center for Humanities in the Public Sphere

Working with the Center for Precollegiate Education and Training and the CLAS Dean’s office, UF CHPS has developed and implemented the “Humanities and the Sunshine State” summer program for high school students and K-12 educators. “These programs use dialogues between the humanities and ecological sciences to help high school students and educators to understand pressing environmental issues affecting the future of our state, and to use novel cultural, historical, and ethical tools to address them in their classrooms and careers.”

Health and Well-Being: Michelle Yavelow

Michelle has been a member of the Peer Education group STRIVE (Sexual Trauma/Interpersonal Violence Education) for 4 years, starting as a sophomore. She went on to lead the coordination of two major STRIVE events, expanding and improving upon the events from years past. Among many other involvements in aspects of health, she has also volunteered with Streetlight, an adolescent and young adult support program for those living with chronic and life-limiting illnesses and currently interns at the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank.

Health and Well-Being: Gabriella Alverez

Gabriella has been active in several initiatives and research projects with the goal of promoting healthy living, stress management and positive body image. This includes helping to found the Fruvement organization, 3 campus-wide Town Hall events that resulting in a new 1-credit course “Wellness for Life”, and research evaluating the impact of intervention on body image perception.

Health and Well-Being: Mark Trujillo

Currently a District Public Health Specialist with the UF/IFAS Extenson Family Nutrition Program, Mark Trujillo serves Title 1 schools and disadvantaged communities through policy, system and environmental changes. He serves on the Garden to Go working group for the Tampa Bay network to End Hunger and has been instrumental in the revival of an urban hydroponic farm in Pinellas County.

Health and Well-Being: Reetu Grewal

As a member of the Honoring Choices Florida steering committee since 2013, Reetu Grewal has helped spearhead the campaign to spread awareness of advance care planning throughout northeast Florida. She oversaw the pilot program for advance care planning in the primary care setting. She is currently in the process of implementing this program across numerous UF Health primary care offices.

Health and Well-Being: Family Nutrition Program, Farm to School Community

The mission of UF/IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program (FNP), Farm to School and Community (F2SC) is to create policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) changes that facilitate health eating and physical activity habits for Florida’s limited-resource residents. The F2SC has organized training events that provide information on policies, procedures, and benefits of collaboration, installed and/or supported school gardens and community gardens and performed garden and Smarter Lunchroom Movement trainings.

Health and Well-Being: STRIVE at GatorWell Sexual Consent Campaign

“STRIVE – Sexual Trauma and Interpersonal Violence Education – is the peer education group at UF focused on educating and empowering UF students to create a campus community that is free from interpersonal violence. Since the Spring of 2014 STRIVE and GatorWell have developed and implemented an extensive Sexual Consent Campaign to promote the importance of getting consent in any sexual encounter. The campaign was implemented broadly starting in the Fall of 2016 and covers different aspects of the campus community addressing: individuals, interpersonal relationships, and the university population as a whole.”

Health and Well-Being: Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program

“The UF/IFAS Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program provides evidence-based nutrition education to low-income adults and youth throughout Florida. At the University of Florida, EFNEP’s faculty, staff, students and interns provide support to county-based faculty and paraprofessionals who deliver peer nutrition education lessons.”

Health and Well-Being: Elizabeth Diehl

The mission of the Therapeutic Horticulture Program is to improve the quality of life of individuals with special needs through gardening and to advance empirical research on the value of therapeutic horticulture. Elizabeth Diehl currently leads all planning and operating programs for participants, training groups and volunteer groups. She works to secure funding that enables patients to continue the opportunity for the therapy, interaction and support that the program offers.

Health and Well-Being: HealthStreet

Healthstreet provides referrals for needed medical and social services and direct access to services like clothing, toiletry, and computer usage. It provides a safe and caring space for community meetings, including those of TranQuility, a local group providing support for Transgender individuals in Gainevsille. It advocates a community-based, judgement-free and safe place for the Gainesville community.