Congratulations to the 2022 Champions for Change!

The following people and programs were selected in 2022 to receive Champions for Change awards for their significant contributions in the areas of Sustainability or Health & Well-Being.

In the category of Sustainability:

Lisa Haynes

Lisa Haynes has been instrumental in achieving a goal of reducing, reusing and recycling all of the materials and supplies used by the School of Architecture office and the students’ studios. Additionally, Lisa found a way to minimize the use of paper and toner by requesting the school use monitors for students to review their project before printing, saving on paper and toner. Finally, Lisa works to ensure that school events reduce the use of items that are not recyclable, and reminds everyone of the need to reduce, reuse and recycle.

UF / IFAS Homeflow Team

Homeflow is a bilingual education program taught by UF/IFAS primarily to first-time homeowners with a focus on preparing participants to maintain the residence, conserve resources, and strengthen home-occupant relationships. The Homeflow team became creative during the pandemic in delivering the bilingual program while also developing its virtual version, resulting in team Extension Housing Outreach Awards at the national, regional, and state levels. During 2021, 72 Homeflow participants were trained in four counties. After the training, many homeowners showed improvements in saving on heating and cooling costs and saving on electricity and water costs.

Randall Penn

As UF/IFAS Extension Faculty in Sarasota, Randall Penn works with the University of Florida Active Learners Mentoring Program (ALP) to teach and lead students on internship projects related to sustainability. Additionally, he launched a sports sustainability webinar series that targets sports leagues, franchises, colleges, teams, venues, and events, aiming to embrace environmental programs: energy and water conservation, recycling and zero waste programs, sustainable purchasing, safer chemicals, and environmentally friendly practices. Randall also partners with local events to provide food waste collection and education, exposing event participants to the process of composting and teaching the importance of reducing waste and other negative impacts on the environment.

GatorsBEATWaste Station Research Team

The GatorsBEATWaste Station Research Team studied the accuracy of usage at the Gators Beat Waste Station to understand the most common types of items discarded and the relationship between contamination levels and usage.In order to understand the waste stream, 22 batches of waste were collected during the Spring & Fall 2021 semesters, and sorted through the contest of the bags with student volunteers. This was the first research of its kind to be implemented at the Gators Beat Waste station and took a tremendous amount of effort and coordination to conduct.

UF Center for Outdoor Recreation Education and Florida Alternative Breaks

UF CORE and FAB came together to create an innovative program that provides low-cost trips to students that include an outdoor service component, typically trail restoration or clean-up. Not only are these trips giving students an opportunity for hands-on participation in conservation and trail-restoration efforts, they provide a fun, affordable, accessible engagement for students outside of busy classes and coursework. This is a truly innovative and unique approach that blends sustainability, wellness and education for the campus community.

In the category of Health & Wellbeing:


The CALS WOWTeam is a group of employees in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Dean’s Office who gather in a central area each day to do a plank and a short 15 minute workout. This started back in 2018 UF-UF Health Wellness released a weekly series called “Workout of the Week.” and has grown into a team that energizes and supports each other. While some days it is harder to feel motivated than other days, the group continues cheer each other on and collectively are uplifted by completing the day’s workout. When they return to their respective desks, they are ready to take on the next work challenge with renewed energy and focus. 

The SMART Couples Program

The SMART Couples program is an ongoing multi-million-dollar federal grant project under the direction of Dr. Victor Harris in the University of Florida’s Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences. The project’s goal is to strengthen marriages, relationships, and families among Florida residents across ethnicities and income levels. To date, more than 500 five-week SMART Couples workshops have been successfully conducted across Florida with more than 5,000 youth and adults successfully completing all five-weeks of programming. And the work is not done yet, the SMART couple program continues to establish new partnerships with many UF departments and find opportunities to grow the program and increase the impact across the university and the state. 

Rachel Hartnett

Throughout her time at UF, Rachel Hartnett has been a tireless voice for equity and social justice.  She is currently in her second year serving as the Program Coordinator for PODEMOS – a two-semester initiative for first-year Hispanic-Latinx students at UF that consists of an academic success program in the fall semester and a professionalization program in the spring semester, along with structured mentorship with experienced undergraduate and graduate students. In addition to several other previous committee positions, Rachel is currently serving as Co-President of UF-Graduate Assistants United, where she developed a presentation series for graduate students covering major issues they might experience at UF, from research integrity to mental health.

Consultation and Referral Team (CART)

The consultation and referral team (CART) is 10-person team of mental health professionals that perform initial brief assessments, crisis counseling, lethality assessments, urgent care services, safety planning, transitory case management, and referral to on-campus and off-campus resources. CART has allowed for the CWC to meet the students’ culture of immediacy by providing initial services when they need them most. With a small, connected team there has been improved quality, consistency in referrals and clinical documentation which has allowed for overall better service to students in meeting their mental health needs.

Jerne Shapiro

As the Lead Epidemiologist of UF Health Screen, Test & Protect (STP) Jerne Shapiro managed >40 employees and numerous volunteers during its mission to limit the impact of covid in our ~120,000 UF affiliates across the state. Jerne provided recommendations on safety measures, led case investigations, contact tracing efforts, public health education and developed surveillance tools to identify areas of concern. Additionally, she directed the project to create a state-of-the-art data management system to communicate with UF COVID cases and contacts. This was a multidisciplinary effort that brought groups together from across the University and local community to help protect campus.

Learn more about the Champions for Change Awards and the winners from previous years here.

Published: April 14th, 2022

Category: News