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Campus, community leaders recognized as sustainability champions

  • Grand Rapids City Manager and Grand Valley alumnus Greg Sundstrom congratulates award recipients.
  • Faculty and staff recipients at the Sustainability Champion Awards.
  • Community members who received a Sustainability Champion Award.
  • Student recipients of a Sustainability Champion Award.
  • Photo of a travel mug.
  • Candid photo of event goers.
  • Anne Hiskes, dean of the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies. Brooks Colleges houses the Office of Sustainability Practices.
  • Krista Affholter, center, and Tim Thimmesch, far left, with the Feenstra family.

Posted on April 04, 2017

Sustainability leaders in West Michigan were recognized March 31 at the ninth annual Sustainability Champion Awards.

Nearly 40 awards were given to students, faculty, and staff members who practice sustainability and use a triple-bottom line approach (social, environment, economic) to solving problems and issues.

Grand Rapids City Manager and Grand Valley alumnus Greg Sundstrom congratulated award recipients and discussed the university's important relationship with the City of Grand Rapids. 

“We hire Grand Valley students to complete internships on sustainability-related research and projects, and many times employ them after they graduate," Sundstrom said. "Grand Valley has a passion for sustainability both in and out of the classroom and we are thankful for that." 

Community members and organizations were also recognized as Sustainability Champions. Recipients included individuals from Cascade Engineering, Spectrum Health, Nichols, New City Neighbors and Seeds of Promise.

At the event, Krista Affholter was named the second award recipient of the Dave Feenstra Sustainable Agriculture Project Internship Scholarship. The fund was established in memory of Dave Feenstra who died in December 2015. Feentstra retired from Grand Valley in 2012 then returned in 2014 to serve as adjunct manager for the Sustainable Agriculture Project. Feenstra’s wife and four daughters attended the ceremony.

Tim Thimmesch, associate vice president for Facilities Services, presented Affholter with the award. Thimmesch was Feenstra's supervisor for more than 18 years. 

"Dave was in his element when he was helping students," Thimmesch said. "We continue to remember Dave's wisdom and thoughtfulness, and honor his legacy by supporting an intern at the Sustainable Agriculture Project."