Ohio State University wins environmental competition
By OSU Extension
COLUMBUS — The Big 10 may not have prevailed in the national college basketball championship, but The Ohio State University was named national champion in the second annual Environmental March Madness tournament.
The competition is sponsored by Enviance Inc. in partnership with GreenBiz Group and Qualtrics.
Organizers said in the April 9 announcement that Ohio State’s demonstrated excellence in environmental academics and sustainability, as well as outstanding student and faculty engagement in the tournament, were the reasons it beat out three other universities in the tournament’s “Finest Four”: Colorado State University, George Mason University and the University of Washington.
“We are very excited to be recognized as national champion and are especially proud of our exceptional academic programs focusing on the environment and sustainability efforts at Ohio State,” said Ron Hendrick, director of the School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
Neil Drobny, director of Ohio State’s Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability (EEDS) program, led the university’s effort in the competition. The program is a combined effort of SENR and the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics (AEDE).
“In the 10 years I have been teaching at Ohio State, I have seen sustainability go from a topic that only a niche crowd cared about and even fewer knew the meaning of, to becoming an area that every department and college wants to work into its courses,” Drobny said. “It has been very gratifying to witness and support the change, and we’re thankful for Enviance’s decision to put together this competition.”
Tim Haab, chair of AEDE, said the recognition is a tribute to the cooperation of faculty in developing EEDS and to Drobny’s leadership early in the program.
“I hope this can be used to further spread the word that SENR and AEDE are leading the way at Ohio State — and in the nation — in sustainability,” Haab said.
As winner of this year’s tournament, the EEDS Program at Ohio State will receive an award of $5,000, and Drobny, who is also a lecturer in sustainable business practices in Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business, will attend and speak at the Enviance User Conference in San Diego, April 22–26.
Lawrence Goldenhersh, CEO and president of Enviance, said Ohio State competed “with power” in every area of the contest.