15:25 PM

Celebrating 2023 Pitt Sustainability Superheroes

Pitt Sustainability and MCSI Celebrated 2023 Sustainability Awardees at Annual Luncheon and Student Sustainability Symposium

On April 21, 2023, 135 attendees gathered in the O’Hara Student Center to celebrate the people leading the way in sustainability at the University of Pittsburgh and beyond. 

Since 2015, Pitt has recognized faculty, staff, students, and groups for their efforts to make the University more sustainable. The 2023 Pitt Sustainability Awards Luncheon celebrated six Pitt Sustainability Awardees, the inaugural Erika Ninos Student Sustainability Leadership Award recipient, and eight graduating Pitt Student Sustainability Champions.

This year's awardees are:

2023 Erika Ninos Student Leadership Award

Cameron Chase, Environmental Studies  

Pitt Sustainability Awards, 2023

  • Faculty: Dr. Maya Ragavan, Pediatrics
  • Staff: Brandi Belleau, Academic Records  
  • Staff: Nelson Castilho Coelho, Computational & Systems Biology 
  • Student: Claire Kemick, Environmental Science 
  • Student: Gal Yovel, Neuroscience  
  • Group: University Movers & Drivers, Parking, Transportation, and Services

2023 Graduating Student Sustainability Champions

  • Dahlia Edwards, English Literature 
  • Elaina Geiger, Environmental Engineering 
  • Daniel Petros Huffman, Environmental Engineering 
  • Drew Kallinicos, Environmental Studies
  • Amanda Latowsky, Anthropology 
  • Sophia Lex, Environmental Engineering 
  • Nori Schalles, Environmental Science

Read more about this year’s awardees here.

The luncheon was bookended by presentations and videos featuring student projects and coursework across several Pitt sustainability courses and academic centers. 

“The annual Pitt Sustainability Awards and Student Sustainability Symposium are an amazing celebration and showcase of the individuals and innovation working to advance sustainability at Pitt, in our community, with external partners, and around the world,” said Aurora Sharrard, Pitt’s Executive Director of Sustainability.  “I’m always inspired by the Awardees’ persistence at effecting positive change in every part of the University. The student research and projects demonstrate exciting potential solutions for addressing the environmental and social challenges of both our campus and for other organizations.”

For the past 16 years, students in Ward Allebach’s “Sustainability” class have planned and organized the Student Sustainability Symposium. The students also presented their projects, each focused on campus sustainability efforts that help advance goals of  the Pitt Sustainability Plan

Graduate Business Fellows supported by the Center for Sustainable Business kicked off the Symposium by summarizing their sustainability research projects. Students from the “Sustainability Capstone” course (taught by Dr. David Sanchez, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering) also presented the results of their project with external stakeholders on a variety of sustainability projects that address the company, nonprofit, or government’s needs.  

The Symposium also included film screenings of environmental documentaries presented by students in Sarah Moore’s “Filmmaking as a Sustainable and Environmental Practice” class. Moore’s class is a part of her 2021-22 John C. Mascaro Faculty Fellowship in Sustainability

Madeline Weiss, the student sustainability engagement manager in Student Affairs, closed out the day with a keynote presentation that discussed how to advocate for change in your campus or community.

Check out photos from the event below.