Portland State recognized seven standouts in sustainability Thursday at the 7th Annual PSU Sustainability Celebration held in the Smith Memorial Student Union Ballroom. The annual event featured 39 sustainability research and classroom initiatives as part of the Project Showcase, along with live music, hors d'oeuvres, and an action-packed overview of sustainability initiatives on campus. President Wim Wiewel gave a keynote along with Jackie Dingfelder, senior planning and sustainability policy advisor to Mayor Charlie Hales and former Oregon State Senator.
In addition, the annual Sustainability Excellence Awards were conferred to the following sustainability leaders:
Excellence in Sustainability Research: J. Alan Yeakley
The Excellence in Sustainability Research award recognizes the role that research plays in advancing sustainability, inspiring students and the community, and bolstering Portland State University’s reputation for excellence and innovation. Alan Yeakley, Director of the School of the Environment, is lead PI of the Portland-Vancouver ULTRA-Ex project, which studies our region’s urban ecosystem, and is a member of the Independent Multidisciplinary Science Team for the State of Oregon. As a leader in both scientific and policy fields, and with a concerted focus on the social aspects of his research, he has become an ambassador for PSU sustainability programs in all of these capacities.
Excellence in Teaching and Sustainability: Kelly Gonzales
The Excellence in Teaching and Sustainability Award recognizes the important role of PSU faculty inspiring leadership and innovation in PSU students. Assistant Professor of Community Health Kelly Gonzales brings her scholarly expertise on health disparities among populations of color into the classroom to help her students understand the linkages among social equity, economic opportunity, and access to environmental assets. She has become a role model for others striving to develop and teach an inclusive vision of sustainability.
Excellence in Sustainability Engagement: Elizabeth Hormann
The Excellence in Sustainability Engagement recognizes a student who makes a mark on this campus and brings others along on the sustainability journey. Elizabeth Hormann, a Masters of Public Administration student, stands out for her collaborative leadership, her great listening skills, and her tireless efforts to promote sustainability on campus and throughout the SoMa EcoDistrict, where she has served this year as project coordinator. One example of her impact is the fact that the City of Portland recently approved a project to build a “parklet” in front of the Fourth Avenue Food Carts. Hormann championed that student-led project and saw it through to approval.
Excellence in Promoting Campus Sustainability: Ian Stude
Awarded to one of the many dedicated PSU staff members, the Excellence in Promoting Campus Sustainability recognizes tireless work to make the Portland State campus a beacon of sustainability leadership. Director of Transportation and Parking Services Ian Stude has managed bike and transit programs at PSU for many years. Stude worked with the City of Portland to ensure bike routes to PSU meet the needs of commuters and has worked with TriMet and Portland Streetcar to develop transit pass programs. Stude makes sure students and employees have options for sustainable transportation that are desirable and affordable.
PSU Sustainability Alumni Award: Alando Simpson
The PSU Sustainability Alumni Award honors alumni who are doing great things in the field of sustainability. This year’s award winner, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences alum, is Alando Simpson, vice president for City of Roses Disposal and Recycling. Some of Simpson’s achievements at City of Roses include securing the highest recycling rate in the metro region for materials recovery facilities while growing sales through a new recycling program, becoming a Certified B Corporation and maintaining an 85 percent workforce diversity rate.
PSU Sustainability Partner Award: Port of Portland
The Sustainability Partner Award recognizes the community partners who help Portland State achieve sustainability excellence and help the University make the Portland region a better place to live. Through the Community Environmental Services research and service unit, PSU has worked with the Port of Portland for more than a decade. The Port has raised the visibility of sustainability and waste minimization efforts to national and international audiences, influencing the operations of airlines and other airports. In the past two years alone, more than 22 CES student employees engaged in over 6,697 hours of applied sustainability work on-site at the Port and in the last year the Port has increased its research support to PSU by 13 percent.
The Roy Koch Award for Sustainability Leadership: Judith Ramaley
The Third Annual Roy Koch Award for Sustainability Leadership, named for the former PSU Provost, was presented to Judith Ramaley, former Portland State University President and a valued adviser to many current sustainability-related programs. Ramaley fostered a foundation for engaged learning and scholarship at PSU. Her tenure as President in the mid-90s saw an emphasis on applied scholarship and community based learning at PSU, creating fertile ground for the sustainability work the university is engaged in today. Ramaley has shown national leadership as a former assistant director at the National Science Foundation and current member of the Board of Directors for Second Nature, champions of sustainability in higher education. She is generous with her time as an adviser working with programs including Impact Entrepreneurs and the Institute for Sustainable Solutions.