May 06, 2010

Students honored as Environmental Ambassadors

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A group of Southern Illinois University Carbondale students donated more than 1,000 hours of their time and energy to benefit Mother Earth during the past academic year and this week, the University said, “Thank you.”

Presenting the students with plaques recognizing them as SIUC Environmental Ambassadors during a special ceremony were Larry Dietz, vice chancellor of student affairs, and Paul Restivo, director of the SIUC Center for Environmental Health and Safety and chair of Beautify Southern Illinois.

To earn the award, each of the students contributed 30 or more hours of environmental volunteerism during the 2009-2010 school year. They built trails in the Shawnee National Forest, planted flowers and trees for non-profit organizations including Carbondale Main Street, assisted Keep Carbondale Beautiful and the Beautify Southern Illinois Campaign with clean-up efforts, worked with youth environmental education projects and much more.

Glenn Poshard, president of SIU, encouraged establishment of the awards in 2002 when he was vice chancellor as a way to recognize students for extensive volunteer service beautifying the region. With the presentation of awards this week, it brings the total to more than 100 SIUC students recognized as environmental ambassadors.

During the award ceremony at the SIUC Student Center Tuesday, May 4, Mythili Rundblad, Student Development coordinator, introduced the honored students.

The 2009-2010 Environmental Ambassadors, listed by hometown with major and year at SIUC, are:


• Pawel Sawicki, junior, geography and environmental resources.


• Ryan Grumish, senior, biological sciences.


• Russell Cerocke, junior, forestry.

East Moline

• Andrew Dennhardt, senior, zoology and environmental studies.

Grand Chain

• Alex Dover, senior, political science.

Hanover Park

• William Sutphin, junior, geography and environmental resources.

Loves Park

• John Larson, senior, geology.


• Melissa Brandt, a December 2009 graduate, geography and environmental resources.


• Ari Weiss, sophomore, political science.

Orland Park

• Kyle Carevic, senior, forestry and environmental studies.


• Nathan Speagle, senior, forestry and resource management.


• Sherri Wurtzel, senior, forestry and business.


• Brian Thietje, junior, forestry and environmental studies.


Mt. Vernon

• Sarah Waggoner, graduate student, geography.


Iowa City

• Eric Wilke, graduate student, geography and environmental resources.



• Lisa Thomas, graduate student, education.



• Tariq Whitaker, senior, geography and environmental resources.