GSURC Sustainability Awards

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s GSURC Sustainability Awards!

The sustainability awards were initiated 4 years ago at GSURC by interested faculty and GSU’s Office of Sustainability Initiatives to help promote and reward students across all majors for making environmental problem-solving a priority in their scholarship and class projects. Environmental protection and sustainability is something we all need to be prioritizing to help resolve and heal the environmental crisis that humans have caused because all living beings on our planet need healthy ecosystems to survive and thrive. And all these student sustainability projects at GSURC are helping make that happen.

Take a look at the 2019 Sustainability Award winners:

Student(s) Project Description
Nishant Sinha-Best Applied Project (oral category) By designing affordable and portable spectrophotometry equipment, Nishant is revolutionizing the way that water quality can be tested. Incorporating light sensing and computing enables users to test impurities in water, specifically Lead, Arsenic, and Oil in water, opening the doors to a new era of water quality awareness and optimization.  
Liv Fallon- Best Film Liv’s film, “Elohi,” presents the story of the Cherokee people from the perspective of the Earth, Elohi. She masterfully connects her heritage with the conflict of removal following the Trail of Tears through sacred sites in Georgia and North Carolina, interviews with Cherokee citizens, and research of traditional Cherokee art forms.
 Gillian Gilbert-Watson- Best Poster Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata,) found in Florida, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean is a vital part of reef-building. It provides a habitat for many organisms but has been heavily impacted by coral bleaching, resulting from climate change. GPS mapping and digital imagery enabled Gillian to analyze the health status of elkhorn coral and found that there was widespread devastation of the coral population in 2018.
Madison Floyd- Best Overall Project  Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata,) has been listed as federally endangered. Due to its habitat being shallow water, Elkhorn coral is susceptible to significant storm damage, that can take more than a decade to recover from. A survey of elkhorn coral in Salt Pond Bay, St. John, USVI indicates a severe threat to coral colonies based off recent hurricane damage. Madison excelled at her research and analysis of this damage, earning her Best Overall Project.  
Franka Riviere- Best Environmental Justice Focused Project Franka connects the data between lead contamination and its effects on children’s health. Many of the symptoms caused by lead exposure are irreversible. That’s why America should be doing more to eradicate lead contamination and eliminate children’s exposure to it.
December Weir- Best Applied Project (poster category) The increase of commercialization in Coral Bay, St. John, USVI has impacted the water quality of the bay. Runoff increased site development, and other pollutants are entering the ecosystem. December uses surveys of the watershed in Coral Bay to map marine habitats to provide data to the Coral Bay Area of Particular Concern Management Plan to help develop and implement plans for sustainable change.
Chazz Jordan- Best Poster The orchid, Stanhopea, is found in areas of Mexico and Central and South America. Through research of 86% of all Stanhopea species at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Chazz analyzed the DNA sequencing of the different orchid species to better understand the relationship between floral fragrances and pollination. By comparing DNA to Phlogenetic trees, improvements are made to plant species database and conservation surveys.