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Press Release

Cal Poly Recognizes 2023 Campus Sustainability Awards Winners

Contact: Aaron Lambert

805-234-4644 [email protected]

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly has announced the winners of its third annual Sustainability Awards, celebrating those campus community members committed to creating a more sustainable future.

This year’s awards drew 54 nominees, the largest nomination pool yet, showcasing student clubs and staff members dedicated to making a difference.

A group displays awards in front of a large screen that says sustainability awards
From left: Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong; Erin Pearse, associate professor in the Department of Mathematics; Emily Zhu, co-president of Sustainable Fashion Club; Kalea Conrad, Green Campus team lead; Allie Mortensen, Green Campus team member; Marlene Cramer, director of Transportation and Parking Services; Niles Wertz, ARCH student.

“Having so many nominations reaffirmed our campus commitment to climate action,” Sustainability Coordinator Kylee Singh said. “We have so many students, staff and faculty members who are working to make our campus more sustainable; I wish we could give them all an award.”

The Sustainability Organization Award was presented to the Sustainable Fashion Club, whose focus on sustainability in fashion includes promoting secondhand “slow” fashion and working with local businesses to host sustainable events.

Transportation and Parking Services Director Marlene Cramer was named the Sustainability Staff Champion. Cramer has been a driving force behind the Campus Transportation Demand Management Study and a key leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions at Cal Poly.

The Sustainability Student Champion Award was a tie between Kalea Conrad and Allie Mortenson. Conrad works tirelessly to create a “circular economy” on Cal Poly’s campus, while Mortenson has overseen the Eco Reps x Sustainability Roundtables and facilitated discussions around important topics such as environmental justice and climate action planning.

Dennis Elliot displays his perpetual namesake award alongside three other Cal Poly officials
From left: President Jeffrey D. Armstrong; Cynthia Vizcaíno Villa, senior vice president for administration and finance; Dennis Elliot, executive director of Facilities Operations; Mike McCormick, associate vice president of Facilities Management and Development.

To congratulate Facilities Operations Executive Director Dennis Elliot on his 40+ years of dedicated service to our community, Cal Poly has created the Dennis Elliot Sustainable Facilities Award. This award recognizes Elliot's commitment to sustainability and facilities operations and will honor facilities staff members who demonstrate excellence in sustainable facilities management.

The award review committee also acknowledged Niles Wertz for honorable mention for his project to build a sustainable mobile storage shed at Swanton Pacific Ranch. Although Wertz’s impact did not quite fit the criteria for this specific award, his project demonstrated an exceptional commitment to sustainable design and planning.

The award review committee was led by Singh and comprised of staff, faculty and student representatives. The event was supported by Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong, who provided a cash prize for each winner.

About Cal Poly

Founded in 1901 and part of the renowned California State University system since 1960, Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, four-year comprehensive polytechnic public university located in San Luis Obispo, California. Known for its Learn by Doing approach, small class sizes and open access to expert faculty, Cal Poly is a distinctive learning community whose 21,000 academically motivated students enjoy an unrivaled hands-on educational experience that prepares them to lead successful personal and professional lives.

About Cal Poly Corporation

Cal Poly Corporation is the nonprofit auxiliary organization to Cal Poly, providing self-supporting, innovative and high-quality services to the university and assisting the institution in achieving its educational mission. For additional information, visit or call 805-756-1451.