Leaders in Sustainability Honored During Green Week 2012

 TVA’s David Sparks, UM Vice Chancellor for Research and Sponsored Programs Alice Clark, Taylor Cook, Trey McCain and Oxford Mayor George “Pat” Patterson at the Sustainability Leadership Awards during Green Week.

Members of the University of Mississippi and Oxford community who have shown outstanding leadership in sustainability were honored at the third annual Sustainability Leadership Awards at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center on April 18. During the event, which was part of Green Week, Alice Clark, UM vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs, and Oxford Mayor George “Pat” Patterson delivered keynote addresses, citing efforts by the university and city communities to advance sustainable practices and awareness.

“Progress appears in small steps,” said Jim Morrison, director of the UM Office of Campus Sustainability. “I believe we can agree that a healthy and thriving community arises from an engaged and knowledgeable population. Oftentimes, solutions to a community’s issue come from the community itself. It’s exciting to be part of a partnership between the university and city with individuals who have a passion for making a difference.”

The 2012 SLA recipients are Taylor Cook, a public policy leadership and Spanish major from Memphis and recipient of the prestigious Morris K. Udall Scholarship for her environmental work; Trey McCain, a graduate student in modern languages who has been actively involved in the Oxford Community Garden and is a founding leader of the North Central chapter of the Gaining Ground Sustainability Institute of Mississippi; and Missy Hopkins, owner of the Green Door Co. in Oxford, who launched the Be Green with the Green Door Co. campaign. The campaign included the Earth Day Technology Initiative, which encouraged local residents to stop by the business and drop off their old computers and other unwanted technology items to be recycled or refurbished and donated to local school districts.

Also during the ceremony, the UM chapter of the Tri-Delta sorority was awarded the Green Cup for incorporating eco-friendly practices within campus groups. Tri-Delta eliminated Styrofoam to-go plates and introduced reusable water bottles in its house, presented an eco-project on waste reduction, replaced paper forms with online sign-in sheets and order forms, and created a recycling program within the sorority.

“I hope that these nominees and winners inspire us to the goal of promoting sustainability,” Patterson said. “The beauty of this community is that even a small initiative can be felt.”

Patterson and Clark spoke about sustainability strides in the community, including the Oxford University Transit buses and UM’s newly opened Insight Park, a research park that has been designed to earn silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. David Sparks, TVA Mississippi manager for energy efficiency, also addressed the audience during the event.

Green Week, created in 2009, is a collaboration between UM and Oxford to promote sustainability awareness through activities for all ages. Recipients of the SLAs are nominated by community members and reviewed by a board of the previous year’s winners.

For more information on Green Week, visit olemiss.edu/greenweek.