Congratulations to the Recipients of the 2014 Champions for Change Awards!

The following people and programs were selected in 2014 to receive Champions for Change awards for their significant contributions in the areas of Sustainability or Health & Well-Being.

Academics: Kathleen Ruppert

Kathleen Ruppert has devoted her professional career to educating, inspiring, and empowering students to become change­makers in the world. She has portrayed tremendous dedication within the area of sustainable education by encouraging real-world sustainability projects through teaching a capstone course and by helping to extend both the UF Prairie Project and the Sustainable Floridians program.

Campus Organization of the Year: Gators Reaching Out With Botany (GROW Botany)

This group has invested time and effort in both the University of Florida community, and the Gainesville community as a whole. This club has worked closely with Gainesville Parks and Recreation to help preserve the natural environment, and plans weekly educational lessons for elementary school special needs students.

Community Engagement: Terry MacDonald

Terry has worked to increase the use of bicycles in and around the residence halls, coordinating with student leaders and other housing administrators to install bike repair stations near residence halls. Each station has an air pump and tools for performing basic repairs. Terry is in the process of coordinating bike repair education programs on-location with the help of Jackie Matthews and the Office of Student Activities and Involvement.

Energy Conservation: Physical Plant Division Central Stores

The Central Stores department has worked hard to improve internal energy usage. This group entered the EPA National Battle of the Buildings, a national competition for reducing energy consumption over a 12 month period. In 2013, they acheived a 39% decrease in building energy usage, placing them in the top 1.2% of the nearly 3,200 buildings in this competition. Reducing their energy use resulted in a 57% cost savings over the previous 12 month period, and earned them 1st place in the Warehouse division of the contest.

Health & Well-being: Cat Cramp

Cat Cramp, the Associate Director of Programs at Recreational Sports, has a long history of exercising, playing sports and sound nutritional practice, but like so many of us, these behaviors had not been as consistent as she wanted over time. But last year, Cat made a conscious effort and commitment to put herself first in spite of a very challenging workload and other demands. She began to consistently practice mindful eating, mindful exercising and to replace self-criticism with a more gentle approach. Her coworkers and students have been inspired by her sustained efforts. Cat has always been known for her boundless energy, her ability to connect with and motivate people, her strong work ethic and competence.

Health & Well-being: The CITT Ups

The instructional designers in the Center for Instructional Technology & Training are affectionately known as the CITT Ups. CITT provides course design and video studio recording services to University departments, but for the employees, the unit provides something a little different. The CITT Ups are committed to building a healthy workplace and workforce. To that end, there are weekly group coffee and smoothie runs, a two week long Office Olympics, and twice-daily 10 minute workouts in the department. The brief workouts relieve stress and foster a working environment where everyone can look a little silly doing sets of squats and burpees in their office wear.

Health & Well-being: Equal Access Clinic Network

The Equal Access Clinic Network is a family of patient-centered free clinics located throughout Gainesville. The clinics provide free medical services to our underserved population, offering primary and follow-up care, HIV testing and counseling, blood pressure and blood-sugar monitoring. In the last year, they have begun offering free occupational therapy nights every month, and began to schedule appointments for patients in order to focus more on continuity of care. The network provides much needed medical services, but also is a learning environment for UF students. It offers an inspiring team-oriented culture and helps UF foster real change in everyone the program reaches.

Health & Well-being: Gator Dining

As part of their Healthy for Life program, Gator Dining installed two Wellness Centers in the dining halls at Fresh Food Company and Gator Corner. Diners can check the nutritional information of menu selections and pick up brochures with healthy eating tips. They host monthly Healthy Bites events, where they provide nutrition education and opportunities to sample healthy menu options. MyPlate Mondays highlight the USDA program and model appropriate serving amounts, making it easier for diners to choose a balanced meal. The final piece of the Healthy for Life program is the commitment of Gator Dining to offering vegan menu choices.

Health & Well-being: Mayors’ Council for Graduate and Family Housing

Representing a very diverse population constituted of more than 80% of international students, spouses and children, the Mayors’ Council saw a need to provide fitness classes to promote healthy behaviors and habits in their communities. Starting in the fall 2013, this group planned and implemented 4 different weekly classes focusing on wellness: Hula Fitness, Zumba, Yoga and Pilates. The classes are open to students and their family members, providing a path both to building physical fitness and a greater sense of community.

Health & Well-being: Student Health Care Center Nursing Staff

This year, efforts were made to make flu shots much more available and accessible to faculty and staff. These nurses have attended the HR Benefits Fair, set up multiple visits to the Founders Gallery, and traveled to several satellite facilities on campus during the fall semester. Their commitment to preventing illness makes the entire campus community a healthier place.

Social Equity: Jane Muir

Jane created a project that helps benefit many people throughout the community, working through numerous lunch-hour meetings to create eWiTS, a program that empowers women in technology licensing. This free, hands-on program has grown to not only include information about entrepreneurship, but also serves as a networking and support tool for many women throughout the community.

Waste Reduction: University Athletics Assocation Operations and Facilities Department

Over the last year, this department has been hard at work to help make reaching zero-waste within Ben Hill Griffin Stadium a reality. By the end of the 2013 Gator football season, recycling reached a level of nearly 78%, with 25 of the 50 tons of waste being transformed into compost.

Published: April 30th, 2014

Category: News