Campus News

UGA students, faculty and staff receive sustainability awards

Athens, Ga. – Four members of the University of Georgia community recently were recognized for their dedication to creating a more sustainable UGA. The UGA Office of Sustainability, as part of Athens-Clarke County GreenFest, presented the 2013 Sustainable UGA Awards to outstanding students, faculty and staff on April 19.

The winners were junior Matthew Tyler, graduate student Zach Richardson, associate professor Alfie Vick and water quality program coordinator Katy Smith.

Sustainable UGA Award winners were recognized by their peers in the UGA community for demonstrating dedicated efforts to conserve natural resources, advance sustainability initiatives and improve quality of life both on and off campus.

Tyler received the 2013 Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. An Honors student and Foundation Fellow from Atlanta, he is pursuing a dual bachelor’s and master’s degree in political science from the School of Public and International Affairs. As a leader of Students for Environmental Action, Tyler has helped spearhead hands-on projects aimed at improving the quality of life on campus and in the community. His involvement ranges from the Lunchbox Garden Project, where he teaches gardening and nutrition to local elementary school students, to a student-led energy audit of UGA’s Park Hall and coordination of UGA Earth Week.

Richardson was honored with the 2013 Outstanding Graduate Student Award. A first-year master of landscape architecture student in the College of Environment and Design from Nashville, Tenn., he volunteers in the UGA and Athens communities and, in particular, talks about land use, water quality and innovative solutions to everyday environmental challenges. With the help of a 2012-2013 Campus Sustainability Grant, Richardson established the Tanyard Creek Chew Crew, which uses goats to help restore the riparian forest along Tanyard Creek through a technique known as prescribed grazing.

Vick, an associate professor in the College of Environment and Design, received the 2013 Outstanding Faculty Award. Through collaboration and service, he conveys his passion for establishing healthy communities through appropriate ecological design to his students and community members alike. From the Athens Land Trust to the Institute of Native American Studies and the U.S. Green Building Council, Vick shares his time and expertise beyond campus to improve people’s quality of life and the natural environment.

Smith, who works in the UGA Marine Extension Service in Brunswick, was honored with the 2013 Outstanding Staff Award. From reusing and recycling to improving water quality and marine ecosystems, she teaches students of all ages how to make a difference environmentally through simple, tangible actions that can be integrated into daily lives. “Life is overwhelming and busy as it is,” she said. “You don’t have to do everything. Just pick one thing that matters to you.”

To learn more about programs and initiatives sponsored by the Office of Sustainability, see