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UMass Amherst Libraries

Undergraduate Sustainability Award

Details on the current year's award requirements and timeline

2022 Award Winners

We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2022 UMass Amherst Libraries Undergraduate Sustainability Awards! 


  • What has Fast Fashion got to do with Sustainability?
    • Shakhi Begum
  • Toto, We’re Not in Hadley Anymore!: Environmental, Economic, and Cultural Complexities Surrounding the Adoption of No-Till Farming on Large-Scale Farms
    • Theodore Eagle
  • Community Food Action Plan
    • Adam Finke
  • Urban Greening Techniques in U.S. Cities:  Public Welfare or Social Warfare?
    • Gwynnevere Klumpenaar
  • Cooked Nature: What Three Classic Books on the American Lawn Can Tell Us About Our Current Struggle to Mitigate Climate Change
    • Gregory Poelker-McGee

Honorable Mentions:

  • Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactors as a Treatment for Wastewater and Biogas Production at University of Massachusetts Amherst
    • Brady Bell
    • Marley Norton
    • Ariel Fine
  • Undergraduates Raising Awareness for Anaerobic Digestion
    • Kieran Tay
    • Nicholas Sbalbi
    • Michael Forozis
    • Flo Sabatini

2021-2022 Award Description

The Undergraduate Sustainability Award promotes in-depth understanding of sustainability topics,
research strategies, and the use of library resources, providing participating students with vital skills they will carry into future academic and vocational endeavors.  The award is funded by the award-winning UMass Amherst Libraries’ Sustainability Fund. decorative images representing sustainability


We are accepting two types of submissions this year:

Option 1: Previous academic work done while a student at UMass Amherst (in any format) related to sustainability. 

Option 2: An original essay of 1500-2000 words. In this essay, communicate something that you learned about sustainability while at UMass. Was it something surprising? Concerning? Gave you hope? Got you fired up to help change the world? 

For both options, on the submission form, you will be asked to provide some context for the judges (maxiumum 500 words total):

  • Why you chose the topic or focus area of your submission
  • How you used campus and library resources
  • If submitting previous work, the class it was for and the assignment

Five (5) scholarships of $800 will be awarded. 

Group Submissions: If you are submitting a group project, only one member of the group should submit an entry, but ALL group members need to be current UMass undergraduate students. The submission form will have space to list other group members. If selected as one of the winning entries, group members will split the $800 scholarship. 

To learn more about sustainability efforts at UMass check out these links:


January 25, 2022 - Open for submissions

March 11, 2022 - Application materials due by 11:55 p.m. (No late submissions accepted.)


April 21, 2022 - Evening reception at the Science & Engineering Library to recognize and celebrate award winners. 


  • Be a full- or part-time UMass Amherst undergraduate enrolled in any discipline and at any level. 
  • Diversity of age, ability, race, religion, gender, social class, educational background is welcome.
  • If awarded, agree to add your submission to ScholarWorks, the UMass Amherst digital showcase (with a Creative Commons license of your choosing)

  • If awarded, attend library event the evening of April 21, 2022 at the Science & Engineering Library (time TBD). 

Review Process

Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of librarians and staff from the Science & Engineering Library and a faculty member.

Submissions will be evaluated on:

  • Substantive Topic
    • Potential for sustainability change or broader sustainability awareness/appreciation (environmental, social, and/or economic).
    • Broad scope (geographic or in aspect of sustainability work) or in-depth analysis score highest.
  • Research Strategy
    • Research methodology
      • UMass Libraries/other resources searched
      • keywords used or other search strategies
      • use of sources to find other sources
    • Depth and breadth of sources
      • All academic? All from single journal/NGO?
      • Direct quotes only? Or supporting ideas behind other arguments, too?
    • Consult context statement
  • Attribution of Sources
    • Consistent formatting throughout with in-text notation (superscript, author-date, etc.) and complete reference list or footnotes/endnotes.
    • Quotes, paraphrasing, and credit for others' original ideas all clearly attributed.
    • Sources include all information needed for reviewers to track down full text.
    • Applicants should declare the citation style they are using.
      • No points lost for minutia of punctuation, as long as overall style is consistent.
  • Effectiveness of Communication 
    • Compelling narrative or imagery, writing is coherent/imagery conveys the meaning intended (compare to context statement from submission form), facts are conveyed to support the argument/emotions evoked as intended.
    • Disregard minor grammatical mistakes.
  • Overall Impression