Environmental Leadership Awards

About The ELAs

The Environmental Leadership Awards (ELAs) were created as a way to honor those individuals that have truly excelled in their efforts to contribute to environmental awareness and promote progress in our 'green' efforts. These individuals  have worked with other groups to make real, immediate improvements in the sustainability of our campus and beyond.

Engagement - ELA - ela-2005-presaustinNominations may be submitted from faculty, staff, and students throughout the University. A winner is selected for each of the major categories: Undergraduate Student, Graduate Student, University Faculty/Administrator, and Staff. There are also ELA awards given to UConn-Affiliated Groups (e.g., Clubs, Organizations, Centers or Institutes), Alumni, and Special Recognition/External groups and individuals who have made significant contributions in executing major projects and initiatives for the University of Connecticut.

"In departments throughout the University, from the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources to Engineering and Liberal Arts, we are developing conscientious thinkers and citizens by modeling the behavior that we teach our students to follow… It is the cumulative effect of seemingly minor events that will change the world. It is through innovative examples and teamwork that UConn can be a steward of the Earth's future."

Former University of Connecticut President, Philip Austin

View the President’s complete opening remarks from the 2005 awards ceremony

"One year ago today, by adopting our Environmental Policy Statement, the University of Connecticut affirmed its commitment to protect and preserve natural resources. In the following months, many throughout the University community, including all of you, have dedicated time and energy to the principles outlined in our Policy. Today we'd like to recognize your leadership and show our appreciation for all you've done – because the University has truly benefited from your voluntary efforts and personal commitment.

"During the past few years, we have improved our environmental performance by implementing best practices and raising environmental awareness. We've begun careful monitoring -- of our air emissions, water usage and life-cycle cost savings, among other things -- in order to compile data, which will provide essential benchmarks for measuring our progress, and will create the appropriate business case for future environmental sustainability initiatives. With our new Sustainable Design Guidelines and our commitment to pursue “green” building and LEED certification, the University has become a beacon of responsible growth, incorporating cutting edge engineering and low-impact design concepts into new construction, like the Burton Family Football Complex and Shenkman Training Center.

"As public and private entities throughout Connecticut continue to look to the University for guidance and information, we can now speak to the benefits of sustainability with increasing confidence that we “practice what we preach” here on our campuses. In departments throughout the University, from the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources to Engineering and Liberal Arts, we are developing conscientious thinkers and citizens by modeling the behavior that we teach our students to follow. And students from all departments benefit from the University's environmental vision. Responsibility rubs offs: every time someone uses an Energy Star bulb or an EcoHusky Mug, or recycles or chooses to bike instead of drive, we not only help the planet but implicitly educate our peers. It is the cumulative effect of seemingly minor events that will change the world. It is through innovative examples and teamwork that UConn can be a steward of the Earth's future.

"Today we are here to celebrate environmental leadership and teamwork at UConn. The environmental leadership award recognizes those individuals and groups whose commitment to improvement in practice and design has gone above and beyond their regular roles on campus. Many of these people serve multiple roles as students, teachers, advisors, peers, coworkers and friends. In all their capacities, the University thanks them for the ingenuity and passion that has driven them to create change in our community. To this end, the University of Connecticut and the Environmental Policy Advisory Council are proud to honor the following individuals and teams for their outstanding contribution to the University's environmental vision."

University President Phillip Austin

April 22, 2005

ELA Nominee Criteria

Nominees must be affiliated with the University in one of the award categories.  Alumni and Special Recognition/External nominees need not currently be working directly with the University provided that their work reflects positively upon the University's reputation.

Nominees must have proven dedication and outstanding contributions to at least one of the principles of environmental leadership as outlined UConn’s Environmental Policy statement, which is outlined below.

The nominees activities should have taken place in during the 2010-11 and/or 2011-12 academic year(s).


Help ensure environmental compliance or improve environmental responsibility as it relates to the University's operational, research, or other activities.

Responsible Management and Growth

  • Significantly influence or promote environmentally sustainable design and construction of UConn buildings or sustainable landscaping of UConn's grounds, or
  • Improve practices for maintaining them in order to better protect the environment, natural resources, public health and safety


Demonstrate UConn's environmental stewardship and initiative through volunteer efforts and partnerships with surrounding communities or non-profit organizations working on behalf of the environment.


Advance understanding of the environment through academic endeavors.  These include but aren't limited to:

  • Developing a new General Education course,
  • Implementing an environment-related curriculum enhancement, or
  • Conducting an innovative education, research or outreach program that either improves environmental literacy at UConn or demonstrates UConn's academic leadership in the area of environmental sustainability


  • Conserve or restore natural resources (including energy, water, etc.) or improve habitat and ecological value on UConn-owned land or areas that may be affected by UConn's activities; OR
  • Increase UConn's use of environmentally sustainable products, materials and services (including those that are renewable, recycled, recyclable, non-toxic, or energy or resource efficient).


Achieve shared environmental goals, i.e., initiate environment-related activities or organizations that involve multiple parties, disciplines or functions across the University


Past ELAs winners and finalists

The 2012 Environmental Leadership Awards

Click here to view the winners of the 2012 Environmental Leadership Awards.

Click here to view the 2012 ELA presentation and the awards ceremony brochure.

Environmental Leadership Awards are given biennially for significant contributions to the principles and objectives of UConn's Environmental Policy Statement. The Environmental Leadership Awards given out in Fall 2012 covered all activities from 2010 on that contributed to increased environmental stewardship in our community.

Nominations for the awards were accepted and evaluated in each of the following categories:

  • Undergraduate Student
  • Graduate Student
  • Faculty/Administrator that has contributed to the campus’ efforts to augment environmental initiatives beyond the scope of their employment
  • Staff
  • UConn-Affiliated Groups (formally recognized clubs, organizations, centers, and institutes)
  • Team (cooperative networks that may not have a formal affiliation but have worked together on a program, initiative, etc.)
  • Alumni
  • Special Recognition/External