The 2021 Environmental Leadership awards were jointly hosted by the Committee on the Campus Environment (CCE) and the Office of Sustainability via Zoom, where eight awards were given out after an update on campus sustainability initiatives was provided by UT Sustainability Manager and CCE Co-Chair Jay Price. One award recipient was Rachel Stewart, who is minoring in nuclear decommissioning and environmental management. Read more about Stewart’s award below.
Student Environmental Leadership Award—Engagement
Awarded to a student or students that demonstrate environmental sustainability or environmental justice leadership outside of the classroom, in addition, or separate from their education.
Recipient: Rachel Stewart, sophomore, environmental justice in Central Asia with a minor in nuclear decommissioning and environmental management
Stewart is an undergraduate research assistant with the research center CURENT. Her research interests focus on how radioactive waste and nuclear testing impacts the environment and people’s health in a post-Soviet context. Stewart has been an Office of Sustainability intern for two years—focusing on composting efforts on campus—and helped create the new student-led Compost Coalition in order to tackle the logistics, marketing, and student engagement of expanding compost infrastructure.
Stewart also started driving UT’s compost truck and working at the site in order to get a more in-depth picture of how waste flows through our campus. She is also the co-president of student organization SPEAK—Students Promoting Environmental Action in Knoxville—where she has adopted an environmental justice lens in order to show members how environmentalism and social justice interact. She has helped establish a bigger campus presence for the group by taking the lead on actions like Say No to the Foam, an effort to eliminate Styrofoam, from UT’s campus.