The CWRU Office for Sustainability announced the winners of their annual Sustainability Champions Awards during their Spring Keynote and Awards presentation, Treenote: Soils, Canopies & Climate, on April 11. Speakers included Sandra Albro, co-chair of the Cleveland Tree Coalition and Research Associate at Holden Forests & Gardens, James Sotillio, Founder of Ecological Landscape Management, and Matt Langan, Landscape Architect at Sasaki.
Cara Fagerholm is a fifth year student from Bainbridge, Ohio majoring in both Mechanical Engineering and Environmental Studies. She is a member of the initial cohort living in the CWRU Sustainability House and is a past chair of the Student Sustainability Council (SSC). Cara was nominated by many fellow students including SSC members as well as a past student Sustainability Champion award winner. Cara has been very involved in ongoing SSC leadership development and projects like the annual Farm Harvest Festival event.
Cara tells us that she is “motivated by the injustices that environmental degradation causes to people that have the least flexibility and opportunity to respond to the issues presented and who most heavily bear the burden of externalized costs. I hope to help rectify the imbalance in our triple bottom line: people, planet, profit. I hope to protect and elevate recognition for our natural wonders (whether it is the Redwoods National Park, clean Great Lakes water, the food we eat, or the air we breathe) so that future generations may continue to recognize the connectivity of our planet and be inspired to better the world.”
Naveen Rehman is a fourth year Nutritional Biochemistry major and Religious Studies minor from Toledo, Ohio. Over the past several years, Naveen has held multiple exec positions with CWRU’s Food Recovery Network, as well as been instrumental in the development and expansion of what was formerly CWRU’s Food Week, and now is CWRU’s week-long Food Symposium. Naveen also works for the Office for Sustainability as a Sustainability Ambassador focused on the topic of sustainable food. Naveen was nominated by Narcisz Fejes, SAGES professor in the CWRU College of Arts and Sciences. Naveen tells us that she is motivated to take action on campus because she believes that “by taking care of the planet, we are taking care of each other. To me, sustainability is about inspiring mindfulness for the value of resources and taking initiative to use those resources to help others.” When asked what she is proud of in regards to CWRU’s sustainability program, she said “CWRU's commitment through Bon Appetit [CWRU’s food service provider] to local, sustainable, and fair food is where Case excels in the sustainability arena.”
Dr. Chris Laszlo, PhD, Professor of Organizational Behavior, won the Faculty Sustainability Champion Award. Chris has been associated with the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit for six years, the last two years as Faculty Executive Director. He just stepped down in February to head the new Quantum Leadership initiative at Weatherhead. Chris was nominated by one of his current graduate students and has taught sustainable business principles for many years and published several books on the value of sustainability for the business community. Chris is from Great Falls, Virginia.
On sustainability at CWRU, Chris states “For me, as a faculty member, CWRU stands out for its visionary thought leadership in sustainability. This leadership includes the work of David Cooperrider, Ron Fry, Richard Boyatzis, Diana Bilimoria, Anurag Gupta, and many others at the Weatherhead School, and faculty members from other departments including cognitive neuroscience and engineering. I’m honored to be part of this effort.”
Bill Frank has the distinction of being the most nominated Sustainability Champion winner to date. Bill is currently the CWRU Biomedical Service Engineer. He started working at the University in 1984 in an electronics shop in the Department of Pharmacology. In 1993, he shifted to the new the Scientific Instrument Repair Center (SIRC) and grew the facility from a department service to a campus-wide service.
Bill reports that he has single-handedly performed approximately 10,000 laboratory equipment services of all kinds at CWRU. In particular, his work with ultra efficient -80 C freezers in the medical school has helped reduce CWRU lab energy use. Regarding his sustainability impact Bill told us “I see every [repair] request as an opportunity to optimize the instrumentation and equipment used in research. Sustainability, in my mind, starts with the things we use every day. Well maintained equipment increases the useful lifespan of that equipment [and] reduces the energy used in its operation.”
Bill is a recipient of the 1995 CWRU President's Distinguished Service Award and formerly served in the US Navy as a propulsion engineer. Bill lives in North Ridgeville.
The CWRU campus community is encouraged to nominate their green heroes for next year on our nomination page.