Sustainability Leadership Award

Sustainability Leadership Award

Sustainability Leadership Award 2023

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

Winners 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. 

11 images of people and groups taking action

Each winner or winning entity will receive $1,000, and all will be recognized at a May luncheon.  

Congratulations to these winners!

  • Students: Leah Germain, Madeline Morphis, and Olivia Vargo; The Graduate Biomedical Engineering Society (GBMES); Garreth Bartholomew; London Tuma
  • Faculty: Lisa Colosi Peterson
  • Staff: Rebecca Duff, Michael Duffy, Linda Hanson, Ryan McCarthy
  • Community members: Community Climate Collaborative and Cville Loaves and Fishes Pantry.

The award, originally established in 2017 (put on hold during the pandemic), is sponsored by the Office for Sustainability, which has established a nomination process, evaluation rubric and Selection Committee. Meet the 2023 Award Winners!


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 must be: 

  • Residents of Virginia (including UVA alumni and retirees) or organizations based in Virginia 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. 

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

  • 2024 Deadline TBD.
  • 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 in the Spring, followed by a public announcement.
  • An award recognition celebration will be scheduled.
  • Check out our 13-minute video presentation of the award and process or just view the slide deck.

Award celebration


An event will be held to present the award to the winners and 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. View the event presentation slides and image gallery here!

For more information, email [email protected]