The University of Wisconsin-River Falls has bestowed its highest non-academic honor on eight students including Violet Penman, a senior conservation and environmental planning major from Hudson.
Penman’s passion for sustainability led to a leadership role with the Office of Sustainability. In her role as a student representative, she helped to promote sustainable practices, as well as environmental consciousness, both on campus and throughout the community.
“Violet was always a source of positive energy and interaction with her fellow students – she knew how to make others feel at ease and helped foster a more positive learning environment,” wrote a nominator.
Penman’s undergraduate research included a land-use project involving the rezoning of River Falls development which culminated in a paper and presentation. She also researched the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and developed public education pieces on them, resulting in a presentation made through the River Falls Public Library as part of the climate change series co-hosted by multiple organizations in and around the city.
Penman has engaged and conducted extensive amounts of research during her time as a volunteer, and later in a paid position, through the Office of Sustainability. As a Falcon Scholar and member of the UWRF Honors Program,Penman has also completed over 135 hours of community service, many working toward sustainability goals on campus. She has also worked as a note-taker with Ability Services.
Penman volunteers with the UW Divestment Coalition, which includes 10 of the 13 UW schools working with the UW System to divest from the fossil fuel industry and reinvest in a sustainable future, a group that she has helped to shape and catalyze.
Even in per position with Textbook Services,Penman is recognized for bringing sustainability improvements.
“I appreciate the changes she helped initiate here with sustainability issues, in particular our recycling practices,” wrote nominators. “Violet will undoubtedly go on to accomplish amazing things in this world and will be a great ambassador for UW-River Falls.”
Penman’s post-graduation plans may include moving into the workforce as a designer of sustainable spaces or the Peace Corp.
What is the Chancellor’s Award
The UWRF Chancellor’s Award for Students recognizes those who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, excellence and service, both on campus and in the community. Recipients must also have shown a commitment to UWRF’s core values, as well as positive and inspiring personal traits and contributions in areas such as undergraduate research, inclusivity and global education.
Recipients must be juniors, seniors or graduate students and can receive nominations and letters of support from UWRF faculty or advisers, UWRF staff, external organization leaders, fellow students or be self-nominated. A selection committee comprising appointees from the chancellor’s staff, academic colleges, student support staff and the Student Government Association considers every nominee and selects finalists for interviews. After the interviews, the committee submits its recommendations to the chancellor, who makes the final decisions.
The 2021 recipients
The 2021 student recipients are Sophie Ackerman of Marshfield, Morgan Leigh Anderson of Madison, Magdala Diersen of New Ulm, Minn., Dannie Esterline of Wausau, Marie-Ange Kivi of St. Paul, Minn., Adam Leseman of Champlin, Minn., Ezekiel Olakunle of Oakdale, Minn., and Violet Penman of Hudson.