Sustainability Leadership Awards Given

Allison Menendez '20 checks on bees in one of two hives club members maintain.

Geneseo Beekeeping Club President Allison Menendez '20 checks on one of two hives club members maintain on campus. (SUNY Geneseo Photo/ Keith Walters '11)

Discover how Geneseo’s faculty, staff, and alums are addressing the U.N. Sustainability Development Goals with our award-winning, interactive map.

The President’s Commission on Sustainability recently recognized faculty, staff, and students for their efforts with Campus Sustainability Leadership Awards.

"The sustainability awards are given annually to students, faculty, staff, and clubs that exemplify our campus mission of sustainability," says Dan DeZarn, Geneseo's director of sustainability. "Much important sustainability work happens under the radar, and this is an opportunity to recognize some of that effort."

Award recipients were nominated by students, faculty, staff, and student organizations for their innovative and progressive practices, ability to raise awareness, and commitment to building enthusiasm and collaboration for sustainability efforts. The 2019–20 award winners are:

• Student organization: The Geneseo Beekeeping Club

Members of this six-year-old club maintain two honeybee hives on campus, facilitate education and discussion regarding bees, and advocate for native grasses and wildflowers on campus. The commission said the club is one of the most visible on campus, often tabling and bringing awareness to sustainability, especially on campus. Read the Geneseo Scene article about the club.

• Staff member: Steve Schunk, plant utilities engineer for facility services

A member of the sustainability commission since 2017, Steve Schunk has been integral in grant writing for campus energy efficiency upgrades and has volunteered to pursue professional development opportunities to learn more about sustainable energy practices and implementation on campus. He also leads tours of the facility, informing students, faculty, and staff about how energy is produced, distributed around campus, and monitored.

• Faculty member: Barbara Welker, associate professor of anthropology

Sustainability is a passion that Welker weaves into her anthropology courses, research, and service, inspiring students to think through a lens of sustainability, say commission members. Her contributions include authoring an open-source textbook that provides students with a free resource for interpreting contemporary sustainability as part of a larger timeline of evolution; developing a study abroad course in Peru that includes a service-learning component featuring ecological projects; and developing a course series in which students identify and collect data on migrating birds.

•Faculty member honorable mention: Karleen West, associate professor of political science and international relations, and Suann Yang, associate professor of biology

West and Yang, say commission members, are advocates for sustainability through their curricular design and research, including implementing the DOMES (Digital Open Modules on Environmental Sustainability) project, in which students across a variety of majors complete an assignment in their discipline, then examine assignments from other disciplines to broaden their perspective.

•Student: Catherine Fedor ’20, biology major and environmental sciences minor

As part of the SEED (Sustainable Energy Education through Demonstration) initiative, Fedor’s team developed, built, and deployed 10 hands-on sustainability energy demonstrations and presented them at Geneseo Central Schools. Her many projects include initiatives in the eGarden, such as studying the efficiency of a plug-in, electric club car, and she has presented at regional and national conferences.


Kris Dreessen
Manager of Editorial Services
(585) 245-5516