The evening of 19 April 2011 saw COTE celebrate its 10th Anniversary and 80th meeting with an Awards Ceremony and Banquet honoring the 2010-2011 COTE award recepients. 

Click here to download the awards ceremony brochure in PDF format:
2010-11 COTE Awards Ceremony Program

The awards fall into two main categories:

COTE Exemplar Awards recognize individuals or groups with significant accomplishments promoting the sustainable use of natural resources or the protection of ecological systems.

Individuals who have a record of continual significant achievements are further recognized by the awarding of a "COTE Exemplar Lifetime Achievement Award".

COTE Green Initiative Awards recognize everyday activities, decisions or contributions that help to move Ball State University toward sustainability.  Their purpose is to reward discrete contributions rather than a history of multiple accomplishments.

COTE Award Recipients 2011

Exemplar Awards

Jason Donati

Jason Donati is the Stormwater Educator for Muncie/Delaware County Stormwater Management. He is a gifted environmental educator and community leader who tirelessly works to enhance the sustainability of our community. His many efforts include:

• President of the Board of Directors for Muncie Delaware Clean and Beautiful.
• Assisted in the planning and execution of the 2010 White River Clean-up which occurred on September 11th 2010. Coordinated over 300 volunteers who helped to remove over 50 tires and 13 tons of trash and debris from the White River.
• Co-founder of the North Street Urban Garden, a non-traditional community garden in downtown Muncie. See http://ccgray2.iweb.bsu.edu/northstreet/ 
• Served as the Chair of the Children’s program for the 2010 Living Lightly Fair. Implemented a mini-camp for over 40 children during the fair on September 18, 2010.
• Planned and implemented Camp Prairie Creek, a free environmental education day camp, which served 50 youth participants in August 2010. More info at http://www.munciesanitary.org/stormwater-managment/camp-prairie-creek/ 
• Serves on the Urban Forestry Committee, a Weed and Seed Neighborhood Restoration and Prisoner Re-entry Committee, Delaware County Community Corrections Board of Directors, and the Roy C. Buley Center Board of Directors.
• Founding board member of Slow Food ECI.

Jim Lowe

Jim Lowe started at Ball State University in 1987 as Facilities Assessment Engineer. His responsibilities included evaluating the condition and life cycle of all campus facilities. Replacement of mechanical and electrical equipment due to age or poor efficiency was then and continues to be part of his responsibility as Director of Engineering, Construction and Operations. He manages the priority and distribution of Repair and Rehabilitation Funds allocated by the state and auxiliaries. In conjunction with others, a plan to assess and improve energy utilization by facilities was developed in the late 1980’s that continues to be implemented today.

Most notably, technological improvements to building systems have been applied as a means to reduce energy utilization and costs. These improvements include high efficiency lighting, variable speed controllers on major drive motors, occupancy sensors, insulation, high efficiency windows and doors, steam loss control, computerized monitoring and control of all building operating systems, elevator modernization, installation of high efficiency chillers eliminating the use of the most harmful CFC’s, heat plant operational and control upgrades and many others. Jim has embraced the LEED building design guidelines and supports application of those guidelines to all new building construction and major building renovations. A total for dollar savings or reduction in various emissions from all of these cumulative efforts over the years is not available but is estimated to have resulted in several million dollars worth of avoided costs and reduced tons of various emissions to the environment.

His most recent accomplishment has been leading the design and construction of the geothermal district heating and cooling system now under construction. This project will eventually allow the discontinuation of all coal burning on the Ball State University campus, reduce CO2 emissions by 50% and save over $2 million per year in purchased fuel costs and operating expenses. This project will also permit Ball State University to benefit from the development of renewable sources for utility electric power in Indiana without further capital expenditure.

Jim has taken a strong leadership role in bringing the geothermal project to reality with the planned startup of phase 1 scheduled to occur this summer. Planning and installation of infrastructure to support the project including new hot water supply lines to all campus buildings, expansion of the existing chilled water line system and retrofitting many buildings to operate on hot water rather than steam has also been a significant part of this project and Jim has led all of that. His attention to the details and coordination of the efforts of many different groups of designers, contractors, and campus constituents has been remarkable.

Jim has also actively participated in educating the university community about the geothermal project and is frequently asked to be a guest speaker at classes and events for various groups. He is also frequently interviewed and quoted in regional and national media as well as being sought out by individuals from many countries and states who are interested in the details of the geothermal project. This has brought additional notoriety and public attention to the good work that Ball State University is engaged in to reduce energy use and environmental impacts of campus operations.


Mary McConnell

The Nature Conservancy

Hired as a "Protection Specialist" on September 8, 1992, Mary’s talents were quickly appreciated and more and more responsibility was sent her way, so that about 6 years later she became Director of Conservation Programs. She is largely responsible for Indiana’s seven community-based conservation program offices, where much of the Conservancy’s leading-edge work is being done.

In this role, she developed an amazing feel for where the federal government keeps its conservation dollars, and managed to direct millions toward conservation projects in Indiana and to TNC projects nationwide. For example, Mary led the acquisition of and fund-raising for Kankakee Sands one of the largest prairie restorations in the country. She developed a network of contacts that continues to pay conservation dividends for Indiana.

She plays a leading role on land-use issues in Indiana, serving on various state-wide agriculture and conservation committees. More important, she built respect for TNC and her knowledge and skills with many of our state’s leaders.

In 2000, Mary was named State Director for Indiana. Her understanding of the business end of conservation and her leadership capabilities have made Indiana’s Nature Conservancy a national leader. Indiana has played a leading national role in suggesting solutions to issues raised in connection with TNC’s recent re-organization. The financial conservatism practiced by this Chapter is now recognized within the organization, and many of the solutions suggested are being adopted nationally.

During the last decade under Mary’s leadership, the Indiana Chapter of The Nature Conservancy has protected over 27,800 acres of natural lands, including forests, wetlands and prairies. Major river projects are currently underway on the Wabash, Tippecanoe, and Big Blue rivers.

Through Mary’s driving initiative, the award winning Efroymson Conservation Center was opened in 2010. The building, LEED platinum certified, was the first Conservancy constructed and owned office building to be designed and built to achieve the highest level of energy efficiency and sustainability. Graduates of Ball State’s College of Architecture and Planning were engaged in the most creative dimensions of the building’s design and landscaping. The green roof and grounds are planted with 100% Indiana native plants and the site serves as a national demonstration model for sustainable planning in the conservation movement.

Mary is a true champion for environmental conservation and sustainability!


Green Initiative Awards


Diana Saiki & Jinhee Nam

Drs. Saiki and Nam implemented a program to help those in need of a job in the community dress professionally and within a budget. The project addressed issues of sustainability by encouraging recycling and reusing clothing. It has been estimated that 4% of landfills are from textiles through disposed clothing. A typical U.S. city with 50,000 people has to pay tax dollars for handling and disposal of 3,000 tons of textiles every year.

The project specifically involved making an online exhibition developed by Ball State University students in a summer 2010 class with artifacts from the Beeman Historic Costume Collection, a collection housed in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS). The exhibition features artifacts that demonstrate how individuals in the past have dressed well while maintaining a budget. Topics in the exhibit (http://beeman.iweb.bsu.edu/index.html) promote themes of sustainability including making many outfits from few clothing pieces, making clothing last through smart cleaning, mending clothing, and using old items to make something new (e.g. a belt made from a tie).

Students with guidance from Drs. Saiki and Nam also developed an educational outreach program related to the exhibition. The outreach program requires students enrolled in FCSFA 202 Fitting and Intermediate Apparel Construction courses during fall 2010 and spring 2011 to engage with community groups. Educational sessions about proper workplace clothing, incorporating the developed online exhibition as supplemental educational material for these sessions, were developed for the unemployed community member. In fall 2010, a community participant from TEAMwork for Quality of Living searching for employment attended the educational session about workplace dress and then was paired with a student from the fit course. The pairs used concepts from the exhibition and the fit course to purchase clothing from a second hand clothing store that is appropriate for the workplace and maintains a budget. The store chosen for fall 2010 was Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana, a company operated with donation based items. Environmental responsibility is one of their values (). The program will be repeated in spring 2011 with different community partner.

David Hua and the Computer Technology Student Organization

During an immersive learning project, student members of the Computer Technology Student Organization (CTSO) identified simple, low cost initiatives that could lower the power consumption of desktop and laptop computers. The CTSO developed a report that will be presented to administrators of Ball State University. The report contains the findings of their research, recommendations, and estimated cost savings for the university.

Dr. David Hua, Assistant Professor of Technology, led this immersive learning project during 2010-2011 academic semesters.

Meagan Tuttle

Meagan Tuttle designed Students + Sustainability which is a guide that was created specifically for Ball State students. The guide includes a brief narrative illustrating the importance of sustainability in the campus community and highlights several key initiatives that Ball State has engaged in to achieve its goal of becoming a more sustainable university. The guide provides recommendations for ways that BSU students can implement sustainable practices into their everyday lifestyles in five areas: at home, in class, when traveling, eating and shopping. The recommendations are simple and practical to help show students that it can be easy for Ball State to go green. The project includes a guide that has also been formatted to a webpage and a page on the social media site, Facebook, Students for a Sustainable Campus website to provide students with updates and weekly "green challenges."

In addition, Meagan’s guide has been showcased at a COTE meeting and offered to Students for a Sustainable Campus. Her work supports and has been referenced within the BSU STARS reporting document for AASHE. Her work aligns with BSU’s commitment to be recognized as a sustainability campus within higher education.  http://sites.google.com/site/gogreenbsu/

Jonathan Spodek and Bill Morgan

ecoREHAB, a nonprofit organization, was created by Jonathan Spodek, associate Professor of Architecture and Bill Morgan, City of Muncie’s Historic Preservation Officer to give abandoned houses a new lease on life.

As part of the project, Spodek and his class of about 10 Ball State students spent the Spring Semester (2010) combining sustainability with affordability to turn 601 E. Washington Street, Muncie into a new home for a low-income family. The house was upgraded for less than half the money it would take to build a comparable new house.  http://sncope.iweb.bsu.edu/485final/index.html


COTE Service Award

Recipients have formerly served at least one term as a member of the Ball State University Council on the Environment.

David Concepcion

Vernon Draper

Robert J. Morris

Christina Weir