Sustainability Banquet

Each year the Office for Sustainability and leaders of campus sustainability groups host a Sustainability Banquet to reflect on the year's accomplishments and to recognize University of Richmond community members for their outstanding contributions to sustainability.

Sustainability leaders are nominated by their peers and at the dinner, Sustainability Leadership Awards are presented.

Sustainability Leadership Award Recipients

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  • 2023 Sustainability Leadership Award Recipients

    Beth Zizzamia, GIS Operations Manager, was recognized for mentoring dozens of students in creating storymaps for their research and sustainability-related projects. She also supports methane, temperature, and air quality mapping, and has been an integral part of the Amazon Borderlands Spatial Analysis Team (ABSAT), leading the team’s communications efforts and providing support for students and faculty. Beth also plays a big role in mapping and research related to the Cemeteries and Communities Collaboratory, the Unpacking the Census Project, and the UR Campus Tree Mapping Project.

    Dr. Jennifer Sevin, Professor of Biology, received an award for her inspiring teaching, exceptional fieldwork skills, and role in animal advocacy. She introduces students to big ideas found in nature and what we can do as citizens to minimize threats and protect species. Students credit Jen with awakening their feeling that they can be effective change agents through citizen science and hands-on advocacy projects. Also a conservation biologist, she is the founder of a group that combats illegal wildlife tracking in the U.S. and is a Smithsonian Research Associate.

    Carly Kessler ’23, was recognized for her leadership as an environmental advocate creating change for a more positive and sustainable future. She is credited among her peers as a shining example and role model for living sustainably. Carly has interned with the Aspen Institute, Environmental Media Association, Global Warming Mitigation Project, and the UR Office for Sustainability.

    Megan Salters ’23, was recognized for spearheading UR’s residential composting project as a Rethink Waste Representative, co-creating an award-winning video on the Charles City County landfill, leading the 2023 Sustainable Solutions Challenge efforts, and being an environmental justice advocate with GreenUR. She is also a visual artist who’s work shares stories related to human relationships with the environment and geography. 

    Tom Eliseuson, Osher Student, was recognized for his volunteer work in the Spatial Analysis Lab with the UR Campus Tree Mapping Project, leading to the addition of 2,175 trees and counting to the inventory database. In addition to his contributions to improving our understanding of the campus landscape, he is also incredibly generous with his time in sharing his knowledge with students. With a professional background as a geophysicist, Tom has also helped inventory trees at University of Minnesota, University of Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon.

  • 2020 Sustainability Leadership Award Recipients

    Kate Sjovold, ’21, was recognized for her dedication to sustainability in and out of the classroom. She has worked at Shalom Farms for three summers and created a Zine that can be used as a resource to explain sustainable farming to almost anyone. Kate also attended the School for Field Studies in Panama to learn more about marine biology and tropical forest conservation, participated in Earth Lodge, and is a member of the Outdoors Club.

    Dr. Trey Sutton, Assistant Professor of Management, was recognized for the impact he’s had on his students as he teaches about the environmental and economic dimensions of different environmental topics, as well as innovative technological solutions to sustainability challenges. Outside the classroom, he lives out his principles as a vegan and an active participant in Richmond outdoors and conservation efforts.

    Andre Eanes, ’20, was recognized for his leadership with GreenUR and consistent involvement in campus sustainability efforts. This year, he helped gather 700 signatures on a composting petition. He has also helped study air quality in Richmond and in a recent Global Sustainability class trip to Chile, he played an important role translating technical GIS instructions so that Chilean and other Latin American students and faculty could more actively participate in the Climate Change Atlas of the Americas project.

    Nancy Propst, Administrative Coordinator for Geography, Environmental Studies, Global Studies, and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies, was recognized for her leadership of the Trex soft plastic recycling program on campus. Thanks to Nancy’s tireless efforts, our campus was able to recycle hundreds of pounds of plastic bags to earn free recycled plastic benches for the Gambles Mill Eco-Corridor.

  • 2019 Sustainability Leadership Award Recipients

    Shani Buchholz, the Administrative Coordinator for Common Ground, was recognized for her constant pursuit of sustainability in her office and her individual habits. She always keeps sustainability on the table as a priority for her office and motivates her coworkers to support sustainability. Shani does all of this with cheer, which has made sustainability a pleasurable endeavor for her whole office.

    Emily Boone, Director of Biological Instruction, received an award in recognition of her efforts to incorporate current events, sustainability, and modern skills like storytelling through Arcmap into her courses. Beyond that, she sets up opportunities for her students to engage in community projects, serves as an advisee for many students, and serves on numerous university committees, including the Eco-Corridor Think Tank. In her free time Emily also coordinates Art in Ecology courses for K-12 teachers, introducing them to the amazing coastal wetlands.

    Peter Braun, ’21, was recognized for his involvement with the City of Richmond’s Office of Sustainability and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network as a Bonner Scholar, as well as his passion to learn more about sustainability and instill sustainability habits in his peers.

    Jenny Kearney, ’19, received an award in recognition of her dedication to sustainability, her critical work as an intern in the Office for Sustainability, her participation in SEEDS, her dedication in running the Food Recovery Program, and her role as a mentor for other sustainability interns.

    Monica Stack, ’19, was recognized for her advocacy for sustainability among her friends and within her role in student government, her passion for studying geography, and her dedication to becoming e a knowledgeable change agent for sustainability.

  • 2018 Sustainability Leadership Award Recipients

    Harleen Bal, ’18, was recognized for her ability to spearhead change and elevate conversations about sustainability. She has a unique ability to foster engaged, polite discussion on sensitive environmental issues. She is a leader, a do-er, a supporter, and a listener who uses her creativity, compassion, and curiosity to lift up people around her.

    Alexis Szepesy, ’19, received an award for her active role in the analysis of state and federal water policy documents, work with the Sierra Club, and support of the Governor’s Virginia Advisory Council on Environmental Justice. She was instrumental in the success of the Riverfront UR project, and has been called an inspiration by her peers who is sure to make an impact with whatever she works on next.

    Dr. Todd Lookingbill, Associate Professor of Biology and Associate Professor of Geography and the Environment, was recognized for his exceptional teaching, scientific expertise, and leadership by example. His students have been his co-authors and worked alongside him as field researchers on campus and in national parks. In only eight years, he supervised 34 students on 44 undergraduate student research projects and brought more than $1,000,000 into the University. Todd walks the talk and invites you to join him on the journey.

    James Campbell, Custodial Supervisor, received an award for his tireless efforts to steward recycling on campus during the University’s first Rethink Waste football game and the rollout of Rethink Waste efforts across campus. He is a compassionate leader who puts his team’s needs before his own and is quickly becoming the face of the Rethink Waste effort.

  • 2017 Sustainability Leadership Award Recipients

    Abby Houser, a staff member, received an award for her crucial role in organizing the University’s first ever RecycleMania basketball game. This game was part of the RecycleMania competition. 87% of the waste from the game was composted or recycled and only 13% went to the landfill.

    Diana Nguyen, a student, was recognized for her leadership of Spiders CARE, UR’s first animal rights group. She helped bring together an amazing, dedicated group of people and worked hard to educate her peers through events, digital media, and in person interactions.

    Joanne Kong, a faculty member, was given an award for her work to raise awareness of, educate about, and inspire action towards a plant-based diet.

    Donald Edmonds, a student, was recognized for his involvement in the Office for Sustainability, Earth Lodge, and SEEDS. Fellow students and faculty in the Geography and Environmental Studies departments also praised his dependability, creativity, and leadership.

    Mary Finley-Brook, a faculty member, received an award for her work with Green Schools and her work as an activist, educator, and social scientist. She has long been a cornerstone of sustainability at the University and has worked with dozens of students on sustainability issues on campus and abroad.

  • 2016 Sustainability Leadership Award Recipients

    David Donaldson, Operations & Summer Programs Coordinator in Events, Conferences, & Support Services, has been a longtime sustainability leader on campus. He was recognized for his management of the community garden, leadership in URSA, spearheading the zero waste graduation, and his work on green events.

    Kristine Grayson, Assistant Professor of Biology, was recognized for her work on the 2016 Power Dialog, her sustainability and environmental research with students in an Environmental Studies capstone course, her summer and lab research with Biology students, and her role on the Environmental Studies advisory committee.

    Maggie Johnson was recognized for her role as the founding President of Food Recovery Network at the University of Richmond.

    Peter Tight was recognized for his work with the paper towel composting project in Fountain Hall (formerly known as Puryear Hall).