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UT Hosts Sustainability Events

Published: October 08, 2008

Most visitors to Busch Gardens know that Jungala is a hot new attraction. But what they may not know is that the exhibit was made from recycled parts of discontinued rides.

This is just one of several sustainability initiatives to be recognized by The Earth Charter U.S. at the Sustainable Business Awards of Tampa Bay. The Charter worked with a group of University of Tampa graduate students who chose Busch Gardens and 15 other local businesses to be the first recipients of the award.

The awards will be presented at a luncheon on Friday, Oct. 10 in UT’s Vaughn Center, marking the kickoff of the Earth Charter Global Climate Change Community Summit – a global environmental conference, taking place at UT on Saturday, Oct. 11.

“These businesses are doing great things and no one knows,” said Rakefet Bachur-Cohen, a UT graduate student who helped develop the awards in addition to coordinating the Earth Charter Summit. “And they’re not doing it to gain a competitive advantage. They just do it because it’s the right thing to do.” [view all winners].

The UT graduate team developed the awards criteria and led the campaign to market the awards to bay area businesses and evaluated the nominations for Earth Charter. The team includes Elli Armstrong, Bachur-Cohen, Sejal Dsouza, Emily Ghosh, Christine Goodwin, Sulman Hamid, Radmila Marinkovic and Fayez Shafi. The team’s advisor is Dr. Daniel Verreault, UT associate professor of accounting.

In addition to the Sustainable Business Awards, the daylong summit the following day will feature videoconferences, workshops and lectures with the goal of developing locally based solutions to climate change. Representatives from 25 cities throughout the world will participate in a “Global Round-Robin,” giving two-minute presentations via a satellite hookup about their cities’ efforts to combat climate change. Highlights include:

  • Alexander Likhotal, president and CEO of Green Cross International and advisor to Mikhail Gorbachev, will speak at UT at 11:05 a.m.
  • Lunch and the “Webcast Global Round-Robin” will run from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m.
  • From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. children can participate in Earth Scouts, a scouting program for boys and girls ages 3-13. The festival features children’s hands-on activities in human rights, respect for nature, economic justice and a culture of peace. For more information, go to
  • A post summit party, with live music, food and beverages, will be held at 4:15 p.m. for registered attendees.
“Being the first of its kind in Tampa Bay and essentially the country, we hope that the upcoming summit will thrust the issue (of sustainability) to the national spotlight and help us spread the message to a much greater audience,” said UT graduate team member Hamid.

The public is invited to the free day-long summit, which will be held in Falk Theatre and the Vaughn Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration begins at Falk Theatre at 10 a.m.

For a schedule of events for the Earth Charter Summit, go to .

The Earth Charter is a nonprofit organization that upholds an international declaration of values and principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society.