First Annual CWRU Big Green Event

Students participating in the big green event

Students faculty and staff from CWRU’s campus community came together at the Tink‌ for CWRU’s first annual Big Green Event. Twenty campus groups and several community guests gave attendees insight into their sustainability initiatives on campus and in the surrounding community with short “popcorn” powerpoint presentations. The Office for Sustainability recognized five CWRU Sustainability Champions & Climate Leaders

Congratulations to the following BY15 Sustainability Champions and Climate Leaders:

  • Dr. Karen Braun, Associate Professor of Accountancy, Weatherhead School of Management
  • Mischelle Brown, Masters Student, MS in Positive Organization Development and Change (MPOD), CWRU Staff
  • Steven Cramer, Undergraduate Student, Cognitive Science and Economics, Class 2015, Chair of the Student Sustainability Council
  • Gene Matthews, Director of Facilities Services
  • Kathy O’Linn, HR and Facilities Manager, FPB School of Nursing, Green Team Leader
Image of Karen Braun

Dr. Karen Braun, an Associate Professor of Accountancy at the Weatherhead School of Management, was awarded the 2014 Climate Champion Award for a Faculty member by the Office for Sustainability.
Dr. Braun exemplifies the spirit of passion, engagement, and innovation in sustainability that the award was created to recognize. Dr. Braun co-authored the Managerial Accounting textbook used in her courses, and embedded sustainability in every chapter. Every student who now passes through one of Dr. Braun’s classes is exposed to sustainability as a topic, and how it intersects with business.
Dr. Braun is active across the CWRU campus and the Cleveland area in sustainability issues. Dr. Braun regularly attends the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 annual summit, and has been seen sporting gloves and a vest as a waste station monitor, helping attendees properly sort their recycling and compost at these zero waste events. Dr. Braun has happily volunteered as a waste station volunteer here on campus as well, for BBQs on the quad. Additionally, Dr. Braun, eager to continue educating herself on topics in sustainability, was part of the first class of Master Recyclers through the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District. This program aims to educate and empower local residents to live more sustainably, and to pass on their knowledge to the community at large through volunteer hours. Dr. Braun even recently downsized her home, ensuring as much was diverted from the landfill as possible!
Congratulations, Dr. Braun and thank you for your commitment!



Image of Mischelle Brown

Mischelle Brown, a staff member of Housing and Residence life and an MPOD student graduating in the Spring 2015, was recognized for her passion for sustainability, and her ability to successfully integrate sustainability into every class that she takes and every position that she holds. Mischelle is a Building Service Worker at CWRU for the housing division. She led an effort in 2014 to create a housing sustainability strategy. In 2015 she focused an MPOD research project on creating sustainability, positive change in CWRU’s custodial department. During FY15 Mischelle hosted special sessions with BSWs, led service projects, kicked-off a custodial green team and met with Facilities and custodial management. Additionally, Mischelle was a CWRU Ethics Table Fellow, helped to build an urban, community garden with other CWRU students and is also a Staff Advisory Council representative. Mischelle is one of the most positive and glowing personalities we’ve come across, CWRU is lucky to have her energy on campus!

Image of Steven Cramer

Steven Cramer was honored with the 2014 Climate Champion Award for a Student. The award is given to students, staff, faculty and departments who embody the spirit of sustainability and flourishing that will help the University reach climate neutral by 2050, as pledged by President Barbara Snyder to the American Colleges & University Presidential Climate Commitment. Steven was honored because of his longtime commitment to the Student Sustainability Council, and the achievements the SSC has made with his involvement and guidance. Steven moved through the ranks of SSC from member, to Public Relations Director, to Vice chair, and eventually Chair for the past year and a half. Steven spearheaded the effort to install recycling stations in Wade and Fribley commons to allow students to recycle batteries, small e-waste items, and printer cartridges. Even while successfully shepherding SSC through multiple outreach opportunities and events such as the annual Farm Harvest Festival, RecycleMania competitions and implementing sustainability improvements to Grab-It, Steven has been committed to succession planning and fostering future SSC leaders. Steven’s vast knowledge of computer programming allowed him to design an internal wiki for SSC to allow them to track progress, events and the group history. Steven loves delicious and nutritious vegetarian food, apple picking, and beach clean-ups!
Originally from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Steven will be graduating early, December 2014 with a degree in Cognitive Science and Economics. Steven will spend the winter and spring of 2015 traveling the world and hopefully working on an organic farm in the south of France. Steven has already accepted a position on the management team of McMaster-Carr in Chicago, Illinois, Summer 2015.

Image of Gene Matthews

Gene Matthews, the university’s dedicated Director of Facilities, was recognized for his hard work and years of service to make CWRU more energy efficient and sustainable throughout his university employment. Gene will be retiring in June 2015 and will leave behind a greener CWRU. Gene became passionate about sustainability while working at Oberlin first as a facilities electrician and then as Facilities director. While living and working in Oberlin Gene and David Orr became buddies. Orr is globally renowned environmental science professor. Gene credits Orr with inspiring his own sustainability passion. Also at Oberlin, Gene sat on the design committee for one of the countries first green buildings, the Adam Joseph Lewis environmental center where Oberlin College’s environmental academic program is headquartered. At CWRU Gene brought his green passion with him, he has overseen the energy conservation of millions of kilowatts, helped create the Climate Action Plan, participated in the design and management of the US Green Building Council certified LEED buildings and the re-launched the CWRU recycling program in 2005. Gene has always gone out of his way to work with faculty and students interested in sustainability, strives to make sustainability important and core to the work of the Facilities Services division and has been integral in creating and advising the Office for Sustainability. We can’t imagine CWRU without Gene’s spirit and famous one-liners!

Image of Kathy O'Linn

Finally, Kathleen O’Linn, the Human Resources and facilities manager for the School of Nursing, was recognized for her continued dedication to integrating sustainability into the lives and activities of School of Nursing staff; creating innovative and fun programming that combined sustainability and health objectives for her community. Kathy began working at CWRU in 1994. She created CWRU’s first volunteer green team for Nursing faculty, staff and students. Kathy and the Green Team were both recognized in a Fall 2014 piece here where you can read-up on several of her innovative initiatives. A recent creative video project that Kathy and her colleagues worked can be viewed here! We love Kathy’s spirit and are so appreciative of her partnership and leadership.

Faculty and staff award winners were presented with a terrarium, locally crafted by Green Thumb Design. Students were awarded a bring your own bag, put together by Assistant Director of Sustainability Erin Kollar.

This annual event will be held every Fall semester. The FY15 event was held November 20, 2014.

Story by Morgan Bulger