2013 Tech Green Awards

Environmental Initiative Award

Environmental Initiative Award

The Environmental Initiative Award (EIA) is designed to celebrate a particular project by an individual or group that has had a significant environmental imact within the past year, whether on campus or out in the community at large. The 2013 EIA recipient is Circle K.

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. They have 3-5 weekly service projects and allow students to volunteer without any minimum requirements at their own pace. Year after year, their 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.

Recently, Georgia Tech Circle K has started the Green and Clean Initiative, a combination of various efforts aimed at making the world a better and healthier place to live in. Every year, Circle K chooses a weekly service project for this initiative. The year before, the club regularly volunteered with the Global Soap Project where donated bars of soap are cleaned and remade into new bars of soap. This soap is sent to several third world countries to improve sanitation and health. This past year, Circle K has been working with Trees Atlanta, planting trees in and around Atlanta. Circle K also supports UNICEF's Six Cents Initiative, its name due to the six cents a week needed to save a person from dehydration in poor, unsanitary areas of the world. For years, Circle K has donated hundreds of dollars to this initiative by selling baked goods and tabling in the Student Center. Overall, these three projects support recycling and composting, clean air initiatives, water conservation, and pollution control and make up the Green and Clean Initiative of Georgia Tech Circle K.

 

Environmental Leadership Award

Environmental Leadership Award

The Environmental Leadership Award (ELA) celebrates an individual or group that has had a significant environmental impact via a long-term commitment, resulting in a body of exemplary work. The 2013 ELA recipient is Dr. Steven W. Van Ginkel.

Sustainable Aquaponic Systems (SAS) is a netzero –water, -energy, and –material, high intensity, aquaponics initiative aimed to help people grow their own food in an urban environment. We plan to operate our aquaponic systems entirely off of rainwater and solar energy while using recycled building materials and food waste which will be the sole nutrient input into the system. After the initial capital expense, the system operates at a very low cost. By helping to cure hunger and provide employment, recycling materials and using solar energy, SAS will be socially and environmentally sustainable which we think will lead to its financial sustainability. 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.

Dr. Steven W. Van Ginkel received his green thumb from his mother at their farm in Mitchellville, Iowa. He has received a B.S. in Fisheries focusing on freshwater fish physiology and ecology; a B.S., M.S., and a Ph.D in Environmental Engineering focusing on water and wastewater treatment; and a minor in Environmental Studies focusing on energy. He has worked for the National Research Council, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, and is currently in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech. He has 30 publications and three book/book chapters all focusing on water/wastewater treatment and sustainability issues. He is currently partnering with the University of Georgia, Fort Valley State University, and several aquaponic farmers around the state. Steve's main position at Georgia Tech is working on a Department of Energy algae-biodiesel project where algae not used for biodiesel production can be used as fish feed!

Steven has constructed an aquaponics system for his family which produces several pounds of fresh fish and vegetables every week. For free blue prints, step by step instructions, and consulting for this family-sized aquaponics system which can be constructed for less than $750 in just a few days, please contact Steven at svg7@mail.gatech.edu. If you would like Steven to give a talk to your group, please email him as well. It's Steve's hope that we generate an urban farming, good food, movement that will cure hunger, provide employment, reduce waste, and make for a more sustainable, resilient, self-sufficient, healthy, and productive society starting here in Atlanta.


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