2017 Award Recipients

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

The following people and programs have been selected to receive awards for their significant contributions in the areas of Sustainability or Health & Well-Being.

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: 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: 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: Humanities and the Sunshine State

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: 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.