A small metal pot that says "Flowers & Garden" holds an edible centerpiece made of lettuce.

Office of Sustainability Practices recognizes Champion Award recipients

The 2023 Sustainability Champion Awards recognized students, faculty, staff, community members and organizations for their outstanding contributions to sustainability efforts on and around campus. The awards were to “celebrate the people who are doing sustainability day-in and day-out,” said Yumiko Jakobcic, director of the Office of Sustainability Practices.

GVSU has always had roots in sustainability, pointed out Provost Fatma Mili. James H. Zumberge, Grand Valley’s first president, was a geologist, who promoted environmental education throughout his career. The individuals and organizations honored help carry on his legacy of environmental education and day-to-day sustainability methods.

Award winners were honored for a wide range of practices from faculty member Marcia Frobish for her work collecting and recycling hundreds of dry erase markers through TerraCycle’s program to student Kaitlin Fredericks for her work on a new form of composting at the Sustainable Agriculture Project. Local organizations were also honored, including Blandford Farm, Kent County Food Policy Council and Organicycle.

A student receives his award.
The Feenstra family and Vivian Gaskin pose for a photo.
A student smiles for a photo while holding his award certificate.

Erin Ensing presented the award for the Dave Feenstra Sustainable Agriculture Project Fund, a recently endowed scholarship that commemorates the life and legacy of her father, Dave Feenstra. Feenstra began serving as Farm Manager at the Sustainable Agriculture Project in 2014, and was a vital part of making the farm as successful as it is today. Vivian Gaskin was the recipient of this scholarship. 

Scholarships were also awarded to Katherine Carron and Luis Fernandez for the Nicols Sustainability Scholarship, and to Vivian Gaskin and Elsie Van Meurs for the Student Sustainable Endowment Fund.

A full list of 2023 award recipients can be found on the Office of Sustainability Practices’ website

The Sustainability Champion Awards were given out in conjunction with the Sustainability Showcase, which gives students an opportunity to present projects, designs, and assessments about real-world problems related to sustainability. These projects are available to view virtually through March 25.

Community award winners pose for a photo.
Student award winners pose for a photo.
Faculty and staff award winners pose for a photo.


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