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The 2018 Oak Awards

By Sustainability Office on May 3, 2018

– Cecilia Kane ’20

At the Green Summit on April 12, three individuals were recognized with Oak Awards for their contributions to sustainability in the Colgate community.

Sergei Domashenko, Coordinator of Government Documents, Maps, and Microforms and Lecturer in Russian and Eurasian Studies, received the staff Oak Award for his efforts at Case-Geyer Library. A two-year member of the Sustainability Council, Domashenko helped form the Library Sustainability Group, which focuses on waste reduction, outreach, marketing, literacy, and education. While significant campus programming has been geared toward students, Domashenko recognized the need for staff education and literacy surrounding sustainability. One of the Library Sustainability Group’s most notable achievements has been its zero-waste all-staff meeting, which was successful due to staff members bringing their own beverage containers and having both recycling and compost bins available for any potential waste. Domashenko has also expressed his hope that the Library Sustainability Group might serve as a precedent for other buildings and departments on campus.

Chris Henke, Associate Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies, was awarded the faculty Oak Award for his work with the local government in the Village of Hamilton. As the Faculty Director of the Upstate Institute, he works to engage the Colgate and Hamilton communities in a reciprocal transfer of knowledge. In this position, he has helped to create the Hamilton Climate Preparedness Working Group, demonstrating the interconnectedness of local sustainability issues. Henke also teaches ENST 390: Community-based Study of Environmental Issues, a project-based, interdisciplinary course that examines current environmental issues in the context of community-based learning. Many students’ projects ultimately reflect the philosophy of community interconnectedness that Henke himself has adopted.

Finally, Christina Weiler ’21 was presented the student Oak Award for her initiative with UCan, which she founded through the Thought into Action (TIA) entrepreneurial incubator. UCan is a beverage container recycling program that donates its proceeds to hunger and homeless outreach organizations in Utica. By integrating her concern for social justice into a recycling program, Weiler demonstrates how sustainability is an integrative discipline that reaches beyond the natural environment. In this way, UCan shows the value of waste management and aims both to help the environment and to spread awareness of social justice. Weiler hopes to extend UCan to other college campuses in the hope of reaching as many students and communities as possible. Weiler also serves as a first-year Sustainability Representative for the Ciccone Commons.

Congratulations to our Oak Award recipients, and thank you to those who attended the Green Summit!

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