Mercy Mondays: Earth Champion Awards announced on Earth Day
As part of the Earth Day 2022 celebration on Friday, April 22, the Office of Mission Integration awarded ten Salve Regina staff, faculty and students with Earth Champion Awards, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award. Each recipient received a beautiful cedar bird house handmade by Michael Oliveira, a carpenter in facilities at Salve Regina.
“I was proud to present these awards to folks within the community who are thinking of the earth and its sustainability all year long,” said Mary Beth Pelletier, program manager for the Office of Mission Integration. “These are faculty, staff and students who are extraordinary and never falter. Some may not even realize the enormous impact that their actions and the way they live their lives and do their work makes on the earth.”
Florencia Reiche Blanco ’23, Salve Regina’s delegate to the global climate change conference COP26, was awarded for promoting solidarity with special attention to the vulnerable groups such as indigenous communities. Salve Regina’s two other COP26 delegates — Cassidy Curry ’23 and Dr. Jameson Chace, professor in the Department of Biology and Biomedical Sciences — were also awarded for their advancement of climate action at Salve Regina.
Jared Coleman, assistant director of facilities, and Dr. Craig Condella, professor of philosophy, are sustainability committee co-chairs. They were awarded for their leadership in furthering sustainable practices on campus and offering academic coursework in environmental ethics.
Coleman doesn’t let the constraints of working on an historical campus with local restrictions discourage him, and Dr. Condella’s ENV-334: Environmental Justice course teaches students that all people — regardless of race, class, gender, ethnicity and economic capacity — have a right to a clean and safe environment and access to adequate natural resources.
Michael Chester, superintendent of grounds, and Michael Potter, assistant superintendent of grounds, were awarded for their dedication to Salve Regina ’s arboretum and to the Act on Climate Law, which calls all in Rhode Island to become NET ZERO in carbon emissions by 2050.
Samantha Parsons ’23 was recognized for her leadership in offering Salve Regina a Thrift Pop-Up during Earth Week 2022. This sustainable shop raised over $500 to sponsor local children for the YMCA Summer Camp and donated all unsold clothes and accessories to Rogers Closet at Rogers High School.
Dr. Paula Martasian, associate professor and chair of the Department of Psychology, and Joseph Goff ’18, (M) ’22, assistant men’s rugby coach, were recognized for their connections to the Earth through meditations, which they offered together to start Earth Week last Monday. As a vegan, Dr. Martasian practices gratitude to the Earth regularly and inspires the community to consider how it can do its part to lower greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption.
The Office of Mission Integration also recognized Robert “Rusty” Granger, groundskeeper, with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his loyalty as a Salve Regina employee and for his dedication to the earth.
“You have to be made of some pretty tough stuff – like true grit – to work in the Grounds Department, let alone dedicate yourself, with a kind heart, a brave face, and compassion to the Mercy Mission, to the Earth, and to your community for nearly 50 years,” said Pelletier during the ceremony.
Rusty has worked through the Great Blizzard of ’78, over 30 tropical storms and hurricanes including Hurricane Gloria and Hurricane Bob in 1985, Irene in 2011, Sandy in 2021, and the Perfect Storm in 1991 and been a humble role model to over 100 different Grounds staff members. Rusty is a true gift to Salve Regina.
This presentation of these awards followed the conclusion of Salve Regina’s Clean-Up for Earth Day, which brought 50 staff, faculty, students and Sodexo EVS employees together to pick up over 220 pounds in trash, recycling and sticks across campus and the Cliff Walk.
The Office of Mission Integration is so grateful to all who participated in Earth Week 2022 events and looks forward to working as a community towards a more Sustainable Salve.
This post is part of an ongoing series called Mercy Mondays that highlights Salve Regina’s dedication to its Mercy Mission. Search the tag Mercy Mission for more updates on the Mercy branches of Salve Regina.