Earth Day Environmental Award Winners


Zoe Holderness

Zoe Holderness

Zoe Holderness is an undergraduate student majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Zoe serves as Greek Sustainability's Executive Vice President, Collegiate Panhellenic Council's Director of the Environment, Alpha Phi's Director of Sustainability, and is a member of Student Sustainability Advisory Council. She is an advocate for the environment, picking up trash as she walks and educating her peers on the negative implications of single-use items, the importance of energy and water reduction, in thinking about how their food is sourced and how far it travels. Zoe leads by example, and the long-lasting impact of her work is the way she influences the perceptions and practices of those around her. 

Maithili Appalwar

Maithili Appalwar

Maithili Appalwar is an undergraduate student majoring in Industrial Engineering. Maithili is the founder of a social enterprise that aims to create low-cost solutions to help farmers in developing countries harness the power of natural resources. The flagship product is called Jalasanchay, which means conserving water in Hindi. Jalasanchay is a cost-effective lining used to create ponds on farms. Each pond, on average, stores 3 million liters of water. Jalasanchay has been piloted at over 4,000 ponds in India, helping farmers to extend the growing season by providing consistent access to water throughout the year. The ponds also reduce the need for drilling bore wells, which  helps to restore the level of the underground water table.

Akanksha Menon

2017 Environmental Award Winner Akanksha Menon

Akanksha Menon is a PhD student at Georgia tech. Akanksha is the president of the Energy Club at Georgia Tech, which is a student-led organization that has over 500 members from within and outside of Georgia Tech. The organization's goal is to be at the forefront of discussions on the energy landscape, sustainability and the environment. The Energy Club hosts an annual Energy Expo, which brings in stakeholders with different agendas (industry, scientists, policy makers, etc.) to discuss climate change and strategies to mitigate its effects. Akanksha joined the Energy Club in the fall of 2013 and has served two terms as the club's president. Due to her involvement and leadership within the Energy Club, Akanksha was selected as one of 100 graduate students nationwide to participate in the ARPA-E Innovation Summit and in the C3E Women in Energy Symposium in 2016. Akanksha's PhD research focuses on finding ways of providing energy to all without compromising our planet.

ORGT Volunteer Student Staff

2017 Environmental Award Winner ORGT

Outdoor Recreation Georgia Tech (ORGT) staff have been leading Instructional Program trips since its founding in 1970. The organization has served over 150,000 students within its 47 years. ORGT volunteer staff consists of 220 active volunteers who, in 2016, volunteered 102,000 contact hours, and worked with more than 5000 participants over the course of 15,100 service days. Outdoor Recreation Georgia Tech volunteer staff bring thousands of students into the wilderness each year and foster an appreciation for our planet. Students experience the beauty and wonder of the environment and so become future stewards and leaders in advocating for our environment. At an institute so renowned for developing future leaders in industry, it is important that we are providing these perspective-changing experiences. ORGT also teaches staff and participants to care for our planet. ORGT staff regularly pick up trash on the trail or rivers while out on trips. All seven sports teach the principles of Leave No Trace as part of their curriculum. 


Students Organizing for Sustainability

Students Organizing for Sustainability

Students Organizing for Sustainability (SOS) is a Georgia Tech student organization with a long history of helping the environment and initiating successful and sustainable projects at Georgia Tech. SOS's biggest ongoing project is the Campus Community Garden. The garden is a source of fresh produce from urban agriculture as well as a central point that fosters community interactions.

Carl DiSalvo

Carl DiSalvo

Concrete Jungle forages fruits and nuts around the metro Atlanta area and donates them to local homeless shelters and food banks. Using Dr. DiSalvo's expertise about sensor deployments, and software developed by his research group, Concrete Jungle will be able to predict upcoming tree ripening events with much more clarity and will be able to forage even more fruit in the future.


Hyacinth Ide

Hyacinth Ide Accepts Environmental Award

As the associate director of Georgia Tech Landscape Services, Hyacinth Ide contributes on a daily basis to the beauty and sustainability of the campus grounds. Mr. Ide was instrumental in acquiring the recent Professional Grounds Management Society Operations & Maintenance accreditation, which is based on a wide variety of criteria including sustainable practices and environmental stewardship. Under Mr. Ide's leadership, Georgia Tech became the first institution in Georgia to be recognized as a Tree Campus USA, and the campus has maintained this certification since 2008.

Grace Brosofsky

Grace Brosofsky Accepts the Earth Day Environmental Award

Grace Brosofsky is an undergraduate student at Georgia Tech majoring in Environmental Engineering. As a member of Engineers for a Sustainable World at Georgia Tech, she is leading a natural herbicide project that explores and implements the best ways to utilize nontoxic solutions to manage undesirable plant populations. By maximizing the efficacy of natural solutions, Ms. Brosofsky's goal is to decrease dependence on chemical herbicides harmful to our air, soil, water, and overall health. This project builds upon previous research that Ms. Brosofsky conducted for the Google Science Fair in 2012, in which she placed as one of fifteen Science in Action finalists worldwide.

Campus Kitchen at Georgia Tech

The Campus Kitchen at Georgia Tech Accepts Earth Day Award

The Campus Kitchen at Georgia Tech is an organization dedicated to ending hunger in the Atlanta area by bringing together the Georgia Tech community to prepare and deliver meals to those in need. Georgia Tech Dining Services donates its overproduction throughout the week, which is packaged weekly by student volunteers at the Brittain Community Restaurant. Minimizing food and energy waste is a priority of both Georgia Tech and Georgia Tech Dining Services, and this initiative, led by Dining Services and our student leadership team, has already donated over 1,500 meals, totaling more than 2,000 pounds of food.


SGA Sustainability Committee

Student Government Association Sustainability Committee

The Student Government Association Sustainability Committee works to connect members of the Georgia Tech community and empower them in their pursuit of environmentally and socially sustainable projects. The committee's primary purpose is raising campus-wide awareness about sustainability, bringing together the relevant stakeholders and facilitating positive action. The Sustainability Committee has focused its efforts on four initiatives: the GT Green Alliance, a semesterly Sustainability Forum, the Silver Leaf certification program for student organizations, and a Digital Awareness Campaign, which includes our electronic newsletter "Up With the Green and Gold".

Carson Meredith

Dr. Carson Meredith

Dr. Carson Meredith, a professor in Georgia Tech's School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, has been leading groundbreaking research in environmentally-friendly chemical processing and sustainably-sourced polymetric materials for over twenty years. Dr. Meredith joined the faculty of Georgia Tech in 2000, and has built a successful research group that has ambitiously developed bio-inspired novel materials for addressing sustainability challenges - notably, finding new sources of materials based on designs found in nature.

Georgia Tech Urban Honeybee Project

Georgia Tech Urban Honeybee Project

The Georgia Tech Urban Honeybee Project is an undergraduate educational research program that maintains three beehives on the roof of the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons. Our goal is to engage Georgia Tech students with science by incorporating authentic research into undergraduate courses and to allow students to participate in independent research opportunities. We are working to raise awareness about how human activities can affect the well being of important pollinator insects like honey bees. We are also working to identify ways that people can manipulate urban environments to be more hospitable to bees.


Circle K

Circle K Members Accept the 2013 Environmental Initiative Award

Sponsored by Kiwanis International, Circle K is the largest collegiate service organization in the world. The Georgia Tech branch of Circle K is completely dedicated to the three tenets of service, leadership, and fellowship. The group has three to five weekly service projects and allows students to volunteer without any minimum requirements and at their own pace. Year after year, the leaders have shown great passion and been awarded at state and international levels. The members also maintain a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, building strong relationships and memories. This organization fosters good will and compassion, helping humankind and the Earth in as many ways as possible.

Steven Van Ginkel

Dr. Steven Van Ginkel Accepts the 2013 Environmental Leadership Award

Sustainable Aquaponic Systems (SAS) is a net zero –water, -energy, and –material, high intensity, aquaponics initiative aimed to help people grow their own food in an urban environment. Dr. Van Ginkel's aquaponic systems operate entirely off of rainwater and solar energy, while using recycled building materials and food waste which is the sole nutrient input into the system. After the initial capital expense, the system operates at a very low cost. SAS is collaborating with hundreds of like-minded urban farmers to bring good food to Atlanta starting with the Georgia Tech campus and the English Avenue and West End neighborhood churches, schools, and civic associations.


Georgia Tech Department of Housing

Georgia Tech Department of Housing Accepts 2012 Environmental Initiative Award

The Georgia Tech Department of Housing acquired North Avenue Apartments (NAA), the former 1996 Olympic Village, in the Summer of 2007. The group completed a check-list of more than 25 projects and in November 2011 achieved the LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification for Existing Buildings in Operations & Maintenance, making NAA the largest university housing complex in the world to achieve the LEED® Gold EB O&M certification. A LEED® Policy Manual was developed to guide the operations of the NAA complex, and has since been adopted for the running of all Housing on the Georgia Tech campus.

Jonathan Murphy

Jonathan Murphy Accepts the 2012 Environmental Leadership Award

Jonathan Murphy has been the backbone of StarterBikes, an on-campus bicycle co-op, educating students and staff on how to maintain their bicycles and providing inexpensive bicycles through the program. Jonathan has helped countless students use bikes rather than cars, and has helped show them that it's not only cheap and easy, but a wonderfully enjoyable way to get around. He has coordinated the creation of creative and wacky bicycles (including a dodeca-cycle, six bikes welded together!) to advertise bicycling's fun side at events around Atlanta. Jonathan knows that actions speak louder than words. His actions have spoken volumes, and helped make Georgia Tech a much more bike-friendly place.