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ESF Alum Named 2019 AASHE Sustainability Award Winner Sean Vormwald focuses research on achieving campus sustainability goals9/9/2019


Dr. Sean Vormwald, a recent graduate student at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), was named a recipient of the 2019 Campus Sustainability Research Award by the Association of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

The AASHE awards recognize outstanding achievements and progress toward sustainability. AASHE bestows its awards on the institutions and individuals that are helping to lead higher education to a sustainable future. Vormwald's work was recognized in the graduate student research category. Vormwald received his Ph.D. ESF in May 2019 from the College's environmental science program.

Vormwald's research focused on how colleges and universities can encourage students and employees to engage in sustainability-related behaviors, such as recycling and energy conservation, to help achieve campus sustainability goals. The research relates to Vormwald's work as director of sustainability and environmental health and safety at Onondaga Community College.

"I've had an interest in how higher education institutions can provide leadership on sustainability issues since I was an undergraduate student, and through my master's program I gained insight into how organizations can engage people in order to achieve organizational sustainability goals, such as reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions," Vormwald said.

"These themes of campus sustainability action and stakeholder engagement have been present throughout my studies and my career, and they carried over into my dissertation research. I hope to continue with applied research that has practical value, providing insights to sustainability practitioners while increasing academic knowledge," he said.

This year, AASHE received 350-plus entries that resulted in 11 winners in four categories. Winners will be recognized during the annual AASHE Conference & Expo in Spokane, Washington at the end of October. Entries were judged on overall impact, innovation, stakeholder involvement, clarity and other criteria specific to each category.