Sustainability Leadership Awards

The Sustainability Leadership Awards recognize excellence in leadership for the health of our community and planet.

Rewarding Sustainability Leadership

These annual awards honor sustainability leadership in the areas of education integration and the use of our campus as a living lab. They include recognition as well as a $2500 honorarium. The campus as a living lab award is supported by the Craig B. Forster fund, a fund established in honor of Dr. Forster, the Sustainability Office’s founding director. All students, faculty, and staff are eligible to participate. Nominate yourself or a colleague by submitting a nomination form by March 1, 2021.

Award Categories
  • Craig B. Forster Campus as a Living Lab AwardRecognizes a student (graduate or undergraduate) who completes an outstanding project or initiative that makes the U more sustainable. Reviewed by the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund Allocations Committee. Find review criteria here.
  • Sustainability Education Integration AwardRecognizes an instructor (at any level) who successfully integrates sustainability education into their course(s). Reviewed by the Sustainability Education Advisory Committee. Find review criteria here.
Past Recipients


  • Daniel Mendoza, research assistant professor in Atmospheric Sciences and the School of Medicine’s Division of Pulmonary Medicine was awarded the Sustainability Research Award for his commitment to equity in sustainability though rigorous research and community-centric outreach on air quality and urban pollution exposure.
  • Edward Barbanell, professor (lecturer) in Philosophy was awarded the Sustainability Education Integration Award for his trans-disciplinary, multi-institutional, integrative, and imaginative approach to bringing sustainability thinking into the classroom.
  • Austin Green, graduate student in Biological Sciences received the Community Partnerships Award for providing transformative experiences for volunteers, building scientific literacy in our communities, and harnessing the power of community science to achieve research goals that would be impossible for an individual scientist.
  • Sierra Govett, Dillon Seglem and Yinhuan Huang, undergraduate students in the Environmental & Sustainability Studies program were awarded the Craig B. Forster Campus as a Living Lab Award for using a Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund (SCIF) grant to retrofit the lighting in the Special Collections section of the Marriott Library which ultimately will save the university $56,000 in energy costs and 600 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over twenty-two years, while extending the lifespan of priceless archives.
  • Stephen Goldsmith, associate professor (lecturer) in City & Metropolitan Planning received the 2019 Lifetime Sustainability Leadership Award for his part in transforming the City & Metropolitan Planning Department’s undergraduate degree program from Urban Planning to Urban Ecology, his ability to mentor faculty, and his role in seeding or catalyzing a diversity of initiatives, programs, and projects across campus.


  • Richard Forster, associate dean in the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences and professor of Geography received the Sustainability Research Award for his interdisciplinary research on the effects climate change has on ice sheets, mountain glaciers, and seasonal snow.
  • Emily Nicolosi, doctoral student in Geography received the Sustainability Research Award for her transdisciplinary research and active efforts to present her research on grassroots innovations for sustainability.
  • Jennifer Watt, associate director of Environmental and Sustainability Studies was awarded the Sustainability Education Integration Award for her unfailing commitment to strengthening her courses and the Environmental & Sustainability Studies program.
  • Amy Sibul, associate professor of Biology received the Sustainability Community Partnership Award for her long-term commitment to partnering with Hawkwatch International, and her work as the Community Engaged Learning Program Coordinator for the U’s Biology Department.
  • Jörg Rügemer, associate professor of Architecture received the Sustainability Community Partnership Award for his collaborative and interdisciplinary community research project the Field of Dreams Eco-Community.
  • Eric Blyth, Shay Meyers, Matthew Cranney, Julia Warner, students in Architecture + Planning received the Craig B. Forster Campus as a Living Lab Award for their multiple projects on the University’s Salt Lake campus and the School of Architecture’s satellite campus in Bluff, UT.


  • Elizabeth Archuleta, associate chair of Ethnic Studies in the College of Social and Cultural Transformation received the Sustainability Education Integration Award for her course “American Indian/Indigenous Women,” as well as her work fostering sustainability education across campus.
  • Robin Craig, professor in the College of Law received the Sustainability Research Award for her extensive interdisciplinary research regarding the governance of water resources.
  • Hunter Klingensmith, undergraduate student in Environmental and Sustainability Studies led by faculty member Jenn Watt in Environmental and Sustainability Studies, along with along with her team; architecture students Matthew Cranney, Matthew Drake and Nathan Jellen received the Craig B. Forster Campus as a Living Lab Award for their work on water-smart design for the Carolyn and Kem Gardner building.
  • Aaron Phillips, assistant professor (lecturer) in Management at the School of Business received the Sustainability Education Integration Award for his course “Leadership & Sustainability in Living Systems” and his integration of systems thinking into “Foundations of Business Thought,” a pre-requisite course for business majors.
  • Cheryl Pirozzi, assistant professor of Internal Medicine in the School of Medicine received the Sustainability Community Partnership Award for her tireless efforts to increase the awareness of the physician community regarding the importance of air quality to our patients’ health.
  • Onno Wieringa, Alta President and General Manager was also honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his work to advance sustainability.


  • Robin Rothfeder, doctoral student in City and Metropolitan Planning, received the Craig B. Forster Campus as a Living Lab Award for his work as the project manager and lead author of the Red Butte Creek Strategic Vision.
  • Benjamin Fasoli, graduate student in Atmospheric Sciences, also received the Craig B. Forster Campus as a Living Lab Award for his work with UTA to monitor air quality continuously throughout the Salt Lake Valley, including redesign of the mobile lab with more user-friendly equipment to allow real-time display of air quality measures.
  • Brian Codding, assistant professor of Anthropology, was awarded the Community Partnership Award for his extensive community-engaged research with Navajo community members.
  • Carol M. Werner, professor of Psychology, won the Leadership Research Award for her work identifying psychological mechanisms impacting behavior change.
  • Amanda Smith, assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering, was honored for her work in sustainability education, integrating sustainability literacy into a mechanical engineering course.


  • Youcan Feng, doctoral student in Civil & Environmental Engineering, won the Craig B. Forster Campus as a Living Lab Award for his work in quantifying water and energy budgets for green roofs at the University of Utah.
  • Rob Kent, doctoral student in Psychology, was awarded the Community Partnership Award due to his efforts to use behavior change science to improve Utah’s annual Clear the Air Challenge.
  • Julia Corbett, professor of Communication, was honored for her work in sustainability education, including founding the University’s first environmental communications course 18 years ago and more recently a class on communicating climate change.
  • Barbara Brown, professor of Family & Consumer Studies, was lauded for her sustainability research on healthy communities, neighborhood revitalization, and public transit.
  • For more information contact Meghan Burrows.