Sustainability Leadership Award

Sustainability Leadership Award


Environmental sustainability as envisioned by UVA’s 2030 Sustainability Plan represents the University’s commitment to making the world a better place and of being a good neighbor locally and globally, today and in the future. The Sustainability Leadership Award honors those who exhibit this overall commitment to advancing sustainability practices and solutions. 

Winners will exemplify innovation and passion in work related to civic engagement, stewardship of the built and natural environment, discovery through teaching and/or research, and governance and collaboration.

Four awards will be given in the following groups: UVA student or student group; UVA faculty or department; UVA staff or department, and a community member or organization (e.g., a teacher, high school student, UVA alumni). Each winner or winning entity will receive $1,000, and all will be recognized at a joint celebration in February, 2023.  

The award, originally established in 2017 but put on hold during the pandemic, is under the auspices of the Civic Engagement Subcommittee of UVA’s Committee on Sustainability. The subcommittee has established a nomination process, evaluation rubric and Selection Committee.


UVA candidates must:

  • Be a current student, faculty or staff member at UVA or UVA College at Wise, or an employee of UVA Health, University Physicians’ Group or an affiliated foundation.
  • Demonstrate commitment and/or actions to advance the UVA 2030 Sustainability Plan 
  •  Not have received a prior UVA Sustainability Leadership Award within the past three years.   

Community member candidates: 

  • Be a resident of Virginia (including UVA alumni and retirees) engaging in work that exemplifies innovation and passion in community engagement, environmental conservation and stewardship, academic discovery, advances in governance or policy, or collaboration across entities in the Commonwealth and beyond. 
CavMan with students on Earth Day 2022

Categories for submissions:

Projects, programs or initiatives that demonstrate commitment to sustainability must fall into one or more of these areas: 

  • Engagement: Fostering sustainability awareness, literacy or action through innovative programs, communications, inclusive partnerships, peer-to-peer outreach and other pathways.
  • Stewardship: Ensuring the sustainability of the built and/or natural environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, nitrogen emissions, energy use, water consumption or waste, or increasing sustainable purchasing.
  • Discovery: Fostering critical thinking and innovative solutions to local and/or global sustainability challenges through interdisciplinary and inclusive teaching or research.
  • Governance and Collaboration: Incorporating sustainability into the University’s or the community organization’s leadership decision-making and collaboration strategies.

Nomination Process and Timeline 

  • The deadline for 2022 nominations is has been extended to Friday, December 9 at 5 p.m. 
  • For the 2022 award, projects or work done in 2020, 2021 or year-to-date 2022 are accepted. In future years, the timeframe of the project or work will be the previous 12 months. 
  • Best practices will be used to communicate the award nomination opportunity to under-represented groups.
  • Individuals or departments/organizations can nominate themselves. Nominators will complete a survey form and provide evidence of the candidate’s commitment to or actions to advance sustainability. UVA candidates must demonstrate impact on the University’s sustainability goals.  
  • Nominators will be informed of the Selection Committee’s decision by early December, followed by a public announcement.
  • An award recognition celebration will be scheduled for February.


Award Celebration

A hybrid (in-person and virtual) event will be held in February to present the award to the winners and also to help build the community of previous and current winners and University alumni and friends committed to sustainability issues, including the UVA Sustainability Alumni Network. The event will feature comments from University leadership and will highlight the work of the award winners as well as other examples of sustainability teaching, research, operations and engagement activities in the current academic year. 

Please use this form to submit nominations. Self-nominations are encouraged.

For more information, email

    art photo of plant