Congratulations to the 2015 Recipients for the Champions for Change Awards

The following people and programs were selected in 2015 to receive Champions for Change awards for their significant contributions in the areas of Sustainability or Health & Well-Being.

Academics: UF Health Office of Interprofessional Education

The program fosters an opportunity for students to learn about the needs of our local community at the beginning of their health sciences education, providing an opportunity to demonstrate the importance of patient-centered communication and cultural acceptance and understanding. The program currently serves 700 first year students from the colleges of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, physical therapy, public health and health professions, veterinary medicine and IFAS. Past curriculums include promoting diet and exercise, smoking cessation and medication education. Through their work the office hopes to continue to serve as a key asset to UF and students of the pre-professional programs.

Community Engagement: Natural Resources Diversity Initiative

The program, now entering its fourth year as a student organization, works to introduce diverse students of all ages and from all disciplines to the field of natural resource conservation and its related career opportunities. This past year the initiative has partnered with Yopp, Inc., a Gainesville after-school program for elementary age children, to present Science Fridays to these young children. NRDI’s amazing commitment to bring their enthusiasm and knowledge about conservation science to Gainesville’s diverse children is essential to fostering a generation that will uphold the ideals of sustainability.

Community Engagement: IFAS Farm to School Team

The group works to integrates school garden and food access initiatives into communities throughout the state of Florida. Their hard work has produced breakthroughs such as increasing the quantity and variety of locally grown produce served in schools, the network of school gardens in the state, as well as empowering communities to adopt healthier eating habits. The team’s impact on UF and the greater community is one that will last through local food system development and healthy behavior change.

Community Engagement: PPD Central Stores

PPD Central Stores has been partnering with Alachua County School District’s Community Based Training Program for the last 5 years. Students identified as with certain disabilities are selected to the program to receive both vocational and social skills training. PPD has hosted eleven students in the Warehouse, Motor Pool, Custodial, Carpentry, and Bookkeeping departments. This partnership offers students exposure to a real life work settings, hands-on training in specific skills, as well as conveying high expectations of student performance, focus, and self-determination. Personal growth occurs on both sides, as PPD employees have the opportunity to teach and train students who face different challenges.

Energy Conservation: IFAS Facilities, Planning & Operations Team

IFAS Facilities, Planning & Operations team was recognized for their focus on Energy Conservation for the renovation of the Entomology and Nematology building. This 92,000 square foot facility houses offices, labs, classrooms, growth chambers and various insect rearing rooms. Meeting the demands of each space required a comprehensive plan to address research specific needs and occupant comfort, while providing energy savings sufficient to cover the equipment purchase and installation costs. As the first ESCO project completed by the University of Florida, the project required support and communication from numerous staff, and the assistance and cooperation of the displaced faculty, staff, and students. This project has demonstrated a viable method of financing sustainable improvements at UF. The reduction of utility costs, improved occupant comfort and safety, as well as the opportunity to provide real world training and development of employees has been paramount in these projects.

Social Equity: Dr. Deepa Borde

Dr. Borde is the director of the Care One Clinic, which was set up to help frequent visitors to the ER and patients discharging from Shands to connect to community services and not get lost in the cracks. The Care One team consists of physicians, nurses, pharmacist, social worker and psychologists, who spend time with patients to help set them up with additional testing, referrals to primary care or specialty care. Dr. Borde coordinates the services offered, is conducting studies on the fiscal and social impact of the clinic on the community, and continues to advocate for funding and expansion of clinic services.

Student Organization: Greeks Going Green

The organization engages the Greek community to become active in implementing environmentally friendly initiatives on campus. Each fraternity and sorority select delegates that represent their house and bring diverse perspectives that are relevant not only to their chapter, but to the campus and local community. Delegates are encouraged to adopt a project within their house, typically, one aimed at reducing waste such as limiting Styrofoam cups or food waste via meal sign-ups. Most recently the organization implemented sustainable strategies to certify the Chicken Wing Charity as a “Green Event” through our office.

Waste Reduction: Gator Dining Services/ARAMARK

Gator Dining Services has made strides towards ensuring a more sustainable dining operation at the university and is dedicated to helping UF achieve its Zero Waste goal. The organization championed initiatives include removing Styrofoam and plastic bags from all operations, implementing tray-less dining, and creating a reusable to-go container program. Most notably Gator Dining has composted approximately 267 tons of pre- and post-consumer food since March 2014 across the dining facilities on campus.

Waste Reduction: Angie Nicholson

Angie has spearheaded efforts within her office at the Center for Instructional Technology and Training to compost food waste; she also records weight measurements of the waste in order to track the diversion rate each week. For one year, it is estimated that over 72 lbs of food waste was stopped from being place in a landfill in part to her efforts. Angie has shown personal commitment to diverting the food waste to her personal compost pile that would otherwise end up in the UF campus waste stream.

Health & Well-Being: Stanley Latimer

In the past year, Stanley has completely revolutionized his diet and has sustained a balanced nutritional program which led to a significant amount of weight loss. Stanley is committed to maintaining these changes long-term and has served as a positive role model for his kids by showing them what it means to eat healthy. He has also served as a role model for his co-workers. They have been inspired by his decision to get healthier and admire his on-going perseverance.

Health & Well-Being: Sarah Deatherage

Sarah Deatherage is a Masters of Public Health student who has dedicated countless hours of extracurricular time and creativity to crisis intervention and violence prevention in the community and on campus.. Her contributions have been recognized as stellar at the many places she has served including the Alachua County Crisis Center; the University of Florida Police Department’s Office of Victim Services; GatorWell Health Promotion Services; UF’s Department of Housing and Residence Education; and STRIVE, a peer education program devoted to the prevention of sexual assault and interpersonal violence. She has mentored and educated many students in our community and on campus in both crisis intervention and interpersonal violence prevention. Through her outreach and advocacy, Sarah truly has modeled a sustainable alternative to the violence that permeates our culture and has created essential prevention programs that students will benefit from long after her time at UF.

Health & Well-Being: Madel Sotomayor

Madel has served as a leader in fitness by volunteering her time and expertise to offer a free, weekly Zumba class to UF Health employees at the Cancer & Genetics Research Complex. People of all fitness levels feel comfortable and welcome in her class, and the program has grown from 19 to 70 participants since the fall of 2014. Because of its popularity, she plans to offer another class in the future. Madel’s commitment to wellness has made a significant impact on employee morale, and faculty and staff are grateful for her dedication to improving the well-being of those in her community.

Health & Well-Being: Kayla Miller

Kayla Miller, a senior secretary at RecSports, was recognized for significantly improving her personal health by succeeding in weight loss and reducing her risk factors for disease. In spite of being raised in household that was not health conscious, Kayla has intentionally and persistently made consistent choices to create a healthier lifestyle. These choices have included taking Pilates classes, participating in fitness assessments, learning healthier cooking strategies, and seeking feedback on how to best work with her medical doctor. Kayla has overcome many obstacles and is serving as a positive role model for her family members and others. She is determined to continue creating a life that supports a healthy lifestyle.

Health & Well-Being: Dr. Joan Scully

Dr. Scully was instrumental in creating the Collegiate Recovery Community in 2012. This program is UF’s first student organization focused specifically on supporting students who struggle with drug and alcohol use. Their mission is to foster a safe environment for current or prospective students who are either in recovery or seeking recovery from drugs and alcohol use. The group meets weekly on campus for “Recovery Night” to play games, engage in fellowship, learn new coping strategies besides alcohol and drug use, and create ways to be of service to UF and the community. The organization also intends to change how alcoholism and substance abuse is stigmatized on the UF campus and within the local community.

Health & Well-Being: Heather Janney

Beginning on February 16, 2013, Heather made a pledge to become a healthier individual, and since then, she has not looked back. She has lost a significant amount of weight in a healthy way by drinking water, making conscious food choices, and simply walking. Heather used several apps to track her eating and exercise choices and even participated in a Couch to 5K event. She is now advocating for healthier citizens in Hamilton County and is recognized across the state and nation because of her achievements.

Health & Well-Being: Isabella Garcia-Rose

Isabella Garcia-Rose is an Adjunct Lecturer in the School of Theater and Dance. During this spring semester, Isabella has volunteered to lead a weekly Pilates class for UF and UF Health employees. Participants of all ages, genders, ethnicities, and body shapes and sizes attend the Saturday class, as well as those who are recovering from injuries which benefit from core strengthening exercises. Isabelle is recognized as an excellent instructor who provides tailored instruction to all individuals in her class, and her dedication to this effort is remarkable.

Health & Well-Being: David Bowles, Darcie Burde, Dave Bloch (Department of Recreational Sports) & Dr. Ann Grooms (Student Health Care Center)

These individuals have worked together to create the CHANGES program. CHANGES stands for Create Habits, Adopt New Growth and Enhance Self. The program provides overweight and at risk students with the resources they need to lead a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle by offering free personal training and group informational sessions. The program is more than just a workout group–it is a support group for students all going through similar challenges and experiences. CHANGES helps UF students make healthy choices in a safe and supportive way.

Health & Well-Being: Corry Cricket Club

Created this past fall, the club now has over 50 participants and has sparked interest in the game of cricket across the UF campus. The club especially meets the needs of international students by helping them transition to their new home at UF as well as stay fit by playing a familiar sport. Any student is welcome regardless of their level of competence. The club has brought together students from many different countries, academic departments, and research interests and provides social benefits to its members in addition to fitness.

Health & Well-Being: Angie Brown

Angie Brown is a Communications Manager in UF Human Resources Department. Angie not only excels at her job in communications, but also has a passion for wellness. A few years ago, Angie discussed the importance of wellness with her department’s leadership and conducted an extensive benchmarking project investigating other universities’ worksite wellness programs. Since then, she has worked diligently on creating a worksite wellness program for UF. Her efforts have included partnering with UF Health’s Human Resources Department where she serves as a co-chair of a joint wellness committee; developing a comprehensive wellness resource website; ensuring that wellness was represented at the UF Benefits Fair; and planning a spring wellness event.

Healthy Gators Leadership: Chris Machen

Chris Machen served as the leader of Healthy Gators from its beginning in 2004 until the fall of 2014. Over the past decade, representatives from over 25 campus organizations have worked together under Chris’ leadership to create a variety of programs, health assessments and policies to help make the campus a healthier place to work, study and live. Some of the more notable programs included launching the Annual Midnight Fun Run in 2007; collaborating on a scooter helmet safety campaign; supporting the inaugural World Diabetes Day at UF; and creating the Healthy Gators Recognition Award, which is now part of the Champions for Change Award. Since 2008, the coalition has also conducted periodic health surveys of UF students and employees, including a recent survey addressing e-cigarette attitudes, beliefs and behaviors among UF students. Finally, Healthy Gators worked diligently for five years to lay the groundwork for UF’s tobacco-free policy which took effect on July 1, 2010.

Published: April 30th, 2015

Category: News