UMass Amherst Students Win International Prize for ‘Acts of Green,’ Promoting Campus Sustainability Education and Awareness

"This university did a great job spreading awareness to the students on their campus and beyond."

AMHERST, Mass. - Students and staff active in sustainability programs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have won an international award for performing the most "Acts of Green" in the "education and awareness" category during a month-long environmental activism competition known as MobilizeU held from March 29 to April 29, surrounding Earth Day.

Senior Sarah Hebert of Sutton, an environmental science major and the campus’ student sustainability coordinator was cited by the MobilizeU committee for leading the campus’s winning Eco-Rep Program. She and student volunteers worked with the Campus Sustainability Initiative and the Earth Day Planning Committee led by Student Affairs and Campus Life.

The prize was announced this week by the Earth Day Network (EDN) and its Mobilize the Earth campaign, which sponsored the contest among 297 colleges and universities in 35 states and 51 countries. During the month, students hosted as many "acts of green" as possible on their campuses such as leading community clean-ups, organizing major Earth Day events and amplifying existing environmental programs at their schools.

Campus sustainability manager Ezra Small says an increasing number of students are passionate about living on a green and sustainable campus. "Student enthusiasm drives an amazing number of ambitious projects that offer a wide variety of activities to join, and that keep environmental issues in the campus conversation," he notes.

In announcing the campus’s winning Eco-Rep Program, EDN notes that one of UMass Amherst’s accomplishments is the Sustainable Move-Out publicity campaign, for which students create a website, send out advertisements and e-mail the student body informing them of the greenest ways to vacate their rooms at the end of the school year.

EDN defines an "act of green" as any activity that educates someone about the environment or reduces the campus’s carbon footprint. Winners were determined by calculating the number of hours per person spent planning, implementing and participating in projects.

"Earth Week was a huge success at UMass," EDN adds. "A student fair took place on Earth Day to showcase student efforts towards a more sustainable campus and 40 student groups displayed their environmental projects." Robert Kennedy Jr. gave a speech on "Our Environmental Destiny," attended by approximately 1,050 people.

"Needless to say, thousands of students were reached through the hard work of the UMass students. This university did a great job spreading awareness to the students on their campus and beyond!"

MobilizeU is an international movement of concerned and active college students competing and uniting around environmental action in support of a sustainable future that seeks to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement on college and university campuses. EDN estimates that more than 1 billion people participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.