Two University of Mary Washington (UMW) undergraduate students, Maria Morran and Sam Fortier were awarded with the Innovation in Environmental Stewardship Award, at the firm’s annual “Green Gala” on December 2nd, 2014. Each student receives a $2,500.00 cash award, will be assigned a Marstel-Day advisor with relevant expertise to guide them throughout their project, and then will present their findings to Marstel-Day in August, 2015.
Maria Morran is a junior at UMW pursuing a degree in geography and her winning project was to study the elimination of plastics in the ocean gyres (“gyres” are swirls of ocean currents caused by global winds). Sam Fortier is also a junior at UMW and is pursuing an undergraduate degree in business administration and sustainable development. His project is to investigate eliminating plastics from the economy as a whole.
“Maria and Sam’s projects stood out, because they are truly innovative, ambitious and address some of today’s most pressing environmental challenges, namely the hazards of plastics to our species, and polluting our lands and water.” explained Rebecca Rubin, President and CEO of Marstel-Day.
“Maria and Sam represent the creativity of their generation and show us that the next generation is taking its environmental stewardship seriously, since there is, as they say, ‘no Planet B.’ ”
UMW student awardee Sam Fortier said, “I realized that most of the people I spoke with were sympathetic to protecting the natural environment, but relatively few take action to do so.” He added, “Therefore, I believe there needs to be a shift in our production methods to eliminate negative products, such as plastics, because people are too busy to focus on curtailing their consumption. So, I decided to explore eliminating the need for plastics altogether and I’m grateful this scholarship will allow me to.”
“I am honored to be awarded with this opportunity to be working with Marstel Day to make a positive change in the world,” Maria Morran said, “With the award for environmental stewardship, I am no longer a bystander watching the world’s problems unfold, but am an active participant in the solution to them. Thank you.”
The awards were presented at the Gala by Marstel-Day CEO Rebecca Rubin; the University of Mary Washington Provost Jonathan Levin; and Richard Finkelstein, Dean of the UMW College of Arts and Sciences. The Gala, held at the Jepson Alumni Executive Center Rappahannock Grand Ballroom at UMW, was described as a “Party with a Purpose,” because proceeds from the event sponsorships were donated to two non-profits: Tree Fredericksburg and the National Wildlife Refuge Association. Tree Fredericksburg’s leaders Carl and Anne Little also were honored by Marstel-Day at the Gala, with the Community Conservation Award. The Gala raised a total of $23,000 for these two non-profits.
“The University of Mary Washington is very proud that its students are working to build a better future for all of us and that they envision a resilient, green environment at its center. We are delighted that Marstel-Day has recognized Maria Morran and Sam Fortier for their entrepreneurial planning to remove plastics from our waterways and beyond.” Richard Finkelstein, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, University of Mary Washington.