KU recognizes 2020 Sustainability Leadership Award recipients

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Center for Sustainability has recognized five individuals and initiatives with annual Sustainability Leadership Awards. Sustainability Leadership Awards highlight outstanding work of individuals and organizations in the KU community who are committed to issues of environmental, economic and social responsibility.

Center for Sustainability Director Jeff Severin and members of the awards committee made presentations for the annual awards by surprise video and phone calls in May and June.

“Although we weren’t able to present awards in person this spring,” Severin said, “we felt it was important to create the time and space to honor faculty, students, staff and community members who are working to create a more just and sustainable future for Jayhawks and for others around the globe.”

The 2020 Sustainability Leadership Award recipients:

  • KU Center for Community Outreach Earth Program, Program Award: EARTH mobilizes KU volunteers to further sustainability on and off campus, including coordination of the Campus Garden, which provides produce for the Campus Cupboard. EARTH also has been supporting a remote gardening program during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • David Sconyers, doctoral student in chemistry, Student Award: Sconyers is being recognized for his research on carbon dioxide conversion into fuels. His work will not only expand opportunities for future green chemistry research at KU, but it has led to collaborative projects outside the university that could improve sustainability in the petrochemicals industry.
  • Mary Bujnak, administrative assistant, Staff Award: Bujnak is being awarded for her efforts to address energy efficiency, recycling and sustainability education on the KU Edwards Campus. Her collaboration on campus and with area businesses and organizations has resulted in Green Office certifications for campus departments and the campus as a whole, as well as R5 (Reinvest, Rethink, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) Certification from the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment.
  • Belinda Sturm, professor and associate vice chancellor for research, Faculty Award: Sturm is researching removal of nutrients and microplastics from wastewater, improving water quality while creating alternative fuels and fertilizers. Her expertise is being applied at the city of Lawrence wastewater treatment plant and across the state as she works to develop sustainable water use policies and water management plans.
  • Jasmin Moore, sustainability director for Douglas County and the city of Lawrence, Alumni Award: Moore is being recognized for her work in energy efficiency, climate change, food policy, equity and public health. She recently led the push to source wind energy for 60% of the electricity used by Douglas County government and nearly 100% of electricity used by city of Lawrence facilities. On a national level, she served on a steering committee that established the first Sustainability Fellowship program designed to encourage more people of color to pursue careers in sustainability.

Additional details about the award program and this year’s awardees can be found at www.sustain.ku.edu/awards

Along with these award recipients, the center will recognize 19 new and renewing Green Office recipients. The Green Office program acknowledges campus departments and offices that are working to use campus resources more efficiently and create a more sustainable workplace. Offices can achieve three different levels of recognition based on the sustainable practices and activities adopted throughout the department.