From the moment in 1973 that he arrived in Storrs as an assistant professor in the ecology and evolutionary biology, Gregory Anderson has been a campus environmental leader, dedicating time and effort, above and beyond his internationally recognized research and academic pursuits, to making UConn a more sustainable campus.
More than four decades later, the Board of Trustees’ Distinguished Professor who also served as department head, then vice provost for graduate research and education, was acknowledged for his environmental work. At a ceremony earlier this month, UConn presented Anderson with the first Environmental Leadership Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Even as an emeritus faculty member working in Torrey Life Sciences lab, Anderson is still as active, engaged and passionate about the environment, said Rich Miller, director of the sustainability office at UConn, who presented the award.
During Anderson’s half-century of work, he founded and led the committee that oversees the Teale Environmental Lecture Series; established and co-chaired the Campus Arboretum Committee; and advocated for UConn’s signing of a Climate Action Plan (CAP) for carbon neutrality by 2050. The CAP has since driven the university’s sustainability efforts, which have resulted in successes acknowledged by the Sierra Club and GreenMetric World University rankings, said Miller.
Last year, Anderson worked with the co-president of EcoHusky to begin a tradition of planting a graduating Class Gift Tree, using crowd-sourced funding by students and friends of the Arboretum, plus tools and expertise provided by UConn’s landscape architect and arborists.
“The inaugural UConn Environmental Leadership Award for Lifetime Achievement looks great in the hands of Greg Anderson, the heart and soul of UConn’s environmental movement for more than four decades,” said Miller.
Additional winners of the 2017-2018 UConn Environmental Leadership Awards:
- Undergraduates: Ben Breslau ’18 (CLAS); Xinyu Lin ’20 (ENG), Taylor Mayes ’18 (CLAS).
- Graduate students: Georgia Hernandez-Corrales ’19 (CLAS); Nasya Al-Saidy, doctoral candidate in economics; Joshua Litwin ’18 (BUS).
- Faculty: Jack Clausen, professor of natural resources and the environment, David Wagner, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and Carol Atkinson-Palombo, associate professor of geography, Jonathon Mellor, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.
- Staff: Len Oser, manager of the UConn bookstore; Elaina Hancock, research writer in University Communications; and Dianisi Torres, education outreach in the food and nutrition program.
- UConn Group: EcoHusky; Undergraduate Student Government Sustainability Committee; HEEP Trail Dedication and Signage Team; UConn Climate Corps.
- Partner: Quantum BioPower; Coca-Cola New England.
- Special recognition: Sena Wazer, 15-year-old Mansfield activist; Jon Volin, vice provost for academic affairs.