Skip to main content

The university recognized campus leaders in sustainability during the Environmental Leadership Awards ceremony on Campus Earth Day on April 19.

Michael McKinney, professor of geology and environmental studies, and a member of the Committee on the Campus Environment (CCE), presented the Environmental Leadership Awards given to a student and faculty and staff members whose environmental efforts on campus help ‘make orange green.’

Environmental Leadership Award winners Kenneth McFarland, Nick Alderson, and Claudine Nagel.

Nick Alderson

An environmental studies and sustainability double major, Alderson received the Ryan Edwards Memorial Award for undergraduate environmental leadership.

Alderson is extremely active within the Student Environmental Initiatives Committee and the CCE.

He is a student worker for UT Recycling and an active member of Students Promoting Environmental Action in Knoxville (SPEAK). Alderson has submitted personal op-eds to the Daily Beacon, most notably for the conversion of the campus steam plant from coal to natural gas.

Kenneth McFarland

A lecturer in the Department of Biology, McFarland received the faculty member Environmental Leadership Award for his dedication to promoting environmental awareness through botany. He has devoted more than forty years to planting and tending the native plants and archival crop gardens on campus as well as organizing student oriented efforts to remove invasive plants from university property.

McFarland is also a long-time chair of the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is going on now.

Claudine Nagel

An employee in Parking and Transit Services, Nagel received the staff member Environmental Leadership Award. Nagel is dedicated to recycling within her office. She constantly reminds fellow staff members to reduce the use of natural resources, promoting sustainable habits throughout the department.

At the awards ceremony, Jay Price, the campus’s environmental coordinator, recognized individuals within facilities for their dedication to promoting recycling on campus.

Patrick Call and Jon Carleton received Outstanding Student Awards as student workers within UT Recycling. A senior, Carleton was an integral part of growing the campus composting program. Call, also a returning student worker, placed hundreds of additional recycling bins around campus.

Outstanding Student Interns Mikaela Falwell and Jacob Pieper were acknowledged for their contributions and commitment to UT Recycling. Falwell was essential in implementing initiatives within residential life, including the start of freezer composting in Apartment Residence Hall. Pieper worked tirelessly to help UT Recycling behind the scenes.

Freshman Josh Ferrell was awarded Outstanding Student Volunteer for his work with game day recycling, collecting recyclables during almost every home game this past football season.

Jessica Hurt, a foreman in Building Services, received the 2013 Recycling All-Star Award. Nominated by her fellow staff, Hurt regularly educates her staff on proper recyclable handling and frequently requests recycling bins.

Now in its seventh year on UT’s campus, Earth Month promotes environmental awareness, conservation, and sustainable practices to the campus community.

For a recap of UT’s Earth Month festivities, visit the Make Orange Green website. To learn more about the Office of Sustainability initiatives, visit