Leading the green scene: Sustainability Leadership Awards honor individual, organizational green efforts (Slide show)

The Environmental Caucus at Northern Arizona University held its annual Sustainability Leadership Awards in April to recognize the outstanding efforts made by students and community members toward green initiatives.

These awards honor NAU and Flagstaff individuals and organizations for their dedication and service toward a more sustainable environment in and around Flagstaff.

Undergraduate Student: Summer Peltzer

Working as the diversity and inclusion coordinator for the Office of Sustainability, Peltzer organized the Climate Justice and Social Justice webinars presented this year. She also addressed the regents at a town hall regarding the NAU presidential search about the importance of climate and environmental justice.

Graduate Student: Ellie Broadman

Broadman is the director of climate action for the Graduate Student Government (GSG), where she has substantially advanced several projects. During her time, she connected with two regents to advocate for the GSG’s climate action metric, raised discussion about offsetting emissions for graduate student travel and leads a podcast focused on unlearning racism in the geosciences.

Faculty: Jennifer Wade

Wade, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, has provided leadership and oversight in the development of the Climate Action Plan (CAP) and the Sustainable Campus Ecosystem Initiative. She also serves on the Green Fund, assists in the development of a revolving fund and sponsors capstone projects in engineering that provide insights to improve energy performance on campus. Her dedication to her work and as a member of the Energy Action Team has resulted in energy savings across campus and a reduction in NAU’s carbon footprint.

Staff: Jon Heitzinger

As the assistant director of Facility Services, Heitzinger has been instrumental in shaping the scope of the CAP. He is responsible for managing the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions and actively works to reduce emissions through efficiency upgrades and the development of a revolving fund to overcome financial obstacles. He also engages regularly with students and faculty on projects and tours to help inform and increase efforts towards a greener campus.

Facility Services Award: Jimmy Curley

Curley, the senior stationary engineer of Facility Services, operates central heating and cooling plants on campus. He came to NAU looking to improve its systems, but his work ethic and drive has influenced those around him to do the same. This has resulted in an improvement to the baseline operations of systems, which has contributed to an overall increasing net efficiency of systems on campus.

Leadership: Andrew Iacona

As facilities project manager and interim sustainability manager, Iacona’s leadership has facilitated many conversations about mitigating climate change, which focused on energy, water, waste and resilience. His efforts have demonstrated commitment to inclusivity during the process of developing the new CAP and he helped established carbon neutrality goals on campus among many other accomplishments.

Alumni: McKenzie Jones, Caryn Potter and Ethan Aumack

Jones is the sustainability manager for the City of Sedona. Under her leadership, the city completed its first Municipal Sustainability Plan, which sets goals and objectives for improving the organization by reducing consumption, increasing effectiveness and enhancing employee retention. Prior to being with the City of Sedona, Jones served the City of Flagstaff as a leader in community sustainability initiatives.

Potter is employed as an Arizona program associate and utilities program manager at the Southwest Energy and Efficiency Project (SWEEP) to promote greater energy efficiency and clean transportation for several states in the west. Within SWEEP, she supports work on electric vehicle policy, utility regulation and carbon neutrality. She also serves on the advisory board for the Climate Science and Solutions program at NAU and engages with its programs through yearly summer internship opportunities.

Aumack is the executive director of the Grand Canyon Trust and a dynamic leader for the conservation and protection of the Colorado Plateau. He has helped establish Grand Canyon Trust as a formidable regional conservation organization along with many other accomplishments towards sustainability. Additionally, he is an adjunct faculty member with the School of Earth and Sustainability, serving as a guest lecturer and a member of several graduate committees.

Organization: Health and Habits

This group is based out of the Office of Sustainability with ASNAU and Health Promotion Partnerships. It is led by junior Alanna Massman, conservation manager, and provides students with greater access to sustainable health care products, plant-based living information and knowledge about mental and physical health resources available from NAU departments.

Flagstaff Project/Organization: Northern Arizona Rural Food Pathways Project (NAZRFPP)

The goal of NAZRFPP is to connect rural food production innovation to local food consumers. The project stems from the NAU Sustainable Communities program and has expanded the capacity of local and regional food systems in rural northern Arizona, especially Mojave county. Many small-scale producers now have the external support they need.

See Lumberjacks at work beautifying the campus with greenery on Earth Day. View NAU Social’s slide show.

Student planting on Earth Day