Congratulations to the 2016 Recipients for the Champions for Change Awards

The following people and programs were selected in 2016 to receive Champions for Change awards for their significant contributions in the areas of Sustainability or Health & Well-Being.

Academics: Ronald Lange

Ronald Lange has been collecting and preparing voucher herbarium specimens and taking photographs of the campus flora for the past several years. He enriches the UF Herbarium collection and catalog with new specimens, images and field photographs in order to have a complete representation of the diversity of the plant life on campus. Mr. Lange has collected around 1000 specimens, nearly doubling the collections from campus. In addition, Mr. Lange’s photographs of the living plants add a new level of documentation to the collections and is presented online. Staff, students and visitors may use the site to discover the interesting native and cultivated plants of campus.

Social Equity: Paula Roestcher

In 2014, Paula Roetscher contacted Gainesville Interfaith Alliance for Immigrant Justice looking for an opportunity to help integrate immigrants and refugees into the Gainesville community. She has been the driving force behind making Gainesville an official Welcoming City through presentations to the City Commission, its committees, and civic organizations and faith communities. She became executive director of Welcoming Gainesville, authorized by the city government to develop programs to make Gainesville a truly welcoming place for immigrants, refugees, international students, and others. Each aspect of these community-building efforts is part of a larger vision to make our city a better place and build a more inclusive community.

Community Engagement: “Imagining Climate Change”

“Imagining Climate Change” is a UF initiative to engage authors, filmmakers, scholars, scientists, and the general public in the vital work of *imagining* our collective climate futures. It is an opportunity to explore collaborations between science, fiction, and art on the issue of climate change. ICC has fostered new working relationships between researchers and faculty in the sciences and humanities at UF, who have been brought together by their interests in sustainability, the effects of climate change and their commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration. ICC’s organizers are Terry Harpold (Assoc. Professor, UF Dept. of English), Alioune Sow (Assoc. Professor, UF Center for African Studies), and Madeline Gangnes (PhD student, UF Dept. of English).

Community Engagement: Ann C. Wilkie

Dr. Ann C. Wilkie oversees all operations conducted at the Student Compost Cooperative, a collaboration between UF Students, Staff and Faculty to engage in hands-on learning in composting, sustainable and organic gardening. Dr. Wilkie is responsible for the organization of several educational outreach events, regularly updating the equipment to meet evolving need and the mentor-ship of numerous participants. She personally reaches out to interested students to encourage “learn by doing” and helps find opportunities catered to their own skills, whether within the SCC or outside of the SCC.

Health and Well-Being: Jackie Matthews and Jennifer Alonso

Jackie Matthews is the Coordinator for Center for Outdoor Recreation and Education (CORE) at the Department of Recreational Sports. She has created an innovative program that combines mental and physical well-being with spiritual connection and recovery. She has worked closely with Jennifer Alonso of the Counseling and Wellness Center to further the efforts to target the emotional and mental needs of students through a “Mindfulness through Meditation” retreat. Future plans for retreats as a collaboration between RecSports, CWC and other departments will include diversity and inclusion training for students as well.

Health and Well-Being: Dr. Mary Fukuyama

Dr. Mary Fukuyama is a licensed psychologist at the Counseling and Wellness Center. Her advocacy for personal growth and wellness, her efforts to promote wellness and balance at work, and her leadership as chair of the Counseling and Wellness Committee are highly recognized. She regularly hosts monthly activities for CWC staff, faculty and student workers and promotes health and well-being through thoughtful interactions with others.

Health and Well-Being: Tyler James

Tyler James is an undergraduate student who works as Junior Health Educator with GatorWell Health Promotion Services. Utilizing research and findings from assessments and student health surveys, Mr. James has developed messaging and services at GatorWell. He also volunteer on the Student Health Advisory Board and is active in the Florida DeafBlind Association. From spearheading projects involving research and publication to assisting in survey design for related campaigns, Mr. James is focused on making a meaningful impact on his community.

Health and Well-Being: Hema Patel

Hema Patel is the wellness point-person for UF’s Physical Plant Division. From creating a very approachable environment to sending out informative emails with ways to improve health and lifestyle, Hema Patel has transformed the support for wellness in this department. She has formed teams for walking challenges and encourages participation in various 5Ks and in the March of Dimes.

Health and Well-Being: UF Mindfulness Team

In 2015, the UF Mindfulness Team was founded by a core team of three faculty members, Dr. Sabine Grunwald, Dr. Monika Ardelt and Dr. Ana Puig, along with cross-disciplinary support from faculty, staff and students. Its vision is to create a more mindful UF campus by incorporating mindfulness practices into courses and curricula. These are accessible through cross-disciplinary short courses, training and workshops. The UF Mindfulness Team has worked to develop the infrastructure necessary to ensure the initiative will continue to create a healthier campus culture.

Published: April 30th, 2016

Category: News