Annually, the CWRU Office for Energy & Sustainability honors members of the campus community with their Sustainability Champion Awards. Each year, at least one student, one staff member, and one faculty member receives an award for working hard to make our campus a more sustainable place.
This year, two students won the award.
Catherine Chervenak is a fourth-year student graduating this spring. She is a Biology and Environmental Studies dual major and has served as a Sustainability Ambassador with the Office of Energy & Sustainability for two years. Even while not an official Ambassador, Catherine lent her passion, knowledge, and talents to our Green Grounds team to help them write the CWRU Tree Plan, which was instrumental in seeking our Arbor Day Tree Campus USA certifications. While an Ambassador this past year, she has represented our Food team, championing the "I can't believe it's Plant-Based!" campaign in partnership with Bon Appetit. She is an active member of the Student Sustainability Council, formerly the Co-Vice-Chair. One of Catherine's nominators said that she "has an aptitude for reaching across boundaries for understanding and to communicate her passions and unique perspectives." We honor Catherine's passion and drive to make the world a better place.
John Turner is graduating with his MBA this semester and also spent his undergraduate career at CWRU with a dual major in Economic and Environmental Studies. He is a Fowler Family Fellowship Recipient of the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. During his time at the Weatherhead School of Management, he continued the K-cup recycling program for the Peter B. Lewis building as well as lead the Graduate Student Sustainability Council. John also spearheaded making the Weatherheadless Ball a zero waste event and is working to ensure this continues. John served as the graduate and professional students representative on the university's Climate Action Plan Update Committee this year. As an undergraduate, John was involved with the Student Sustainability Council and successfully lead a push to improve the sustainability of the University's endowment. We honor John's initiative and deep, ongoing involvement with many sustainability issues.
Dr. Kurt Rhoads, Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at CWRU, is the winner of our faculty award this year. Dr. Rhoads earned both his PhD and his masters in Environmental Engineering at Stanford University. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Maryland, College Park with a BS in Environmental Engineering. Dr. Rhoads teaches numerous environmentally-focused courses each year and his research includes the fate of pollutants, bioremediation, algal biofuel, energy recovery from wastewater treatment, and more. Additionally, Dr. Rhoads is the director of the new first-year engineering experience, where students had to make their own water filters. Dr. Rhoads also presented a talk called "Do I Like Blue Because of my Shampoo?" on the impact of everyday chemicals on our lives at a Green Bag Lunch this past year. We honor Dr. Rhoads' positive influence on his many students and his commitment to pollution abatement.
Sam Arlia, Mechanical Coordinator for Plumbing in the Facilities Services Department is the staff award winner this year. As Sam conducts improvements to campus buildings, he always has sustainability on his mind, advocating for sustainable improvements, repairs, and renovations. Sam started the campus water bottle filling station installation program and is a big part of why the campus has as many as it does. He's been a part of the campus sustainability conversation since well before the Office of Sustainability even existed, having been a part of the campus community for over 27 years. Sam attends nearly all related events to ensure facility services continues to be part of the sustainability conversation on campus. It has been said of Sam that "he has a can-do attitude - when a more environmentally friendly alternative is suggested, Sam is willing to be an early implementer." We honor Sam's willing example and passion for sustainability.