Radow College Professor Receives Keep Cobb Beautiful 2023 Environmental Education Award

KENNESAW, Ga. (Jan 23, 2024) — by: James R. Turner

The Keep Cobb Beautiful (KCB) Awards Gala, held at the Cobb Galleria in December 2023, celebrated the contributions of community partners and volunteers for their work to create a healthier environment for Cobb County citizens. Among the recipients was Kennesaw State University (KSU) Professor of Geography Dr. Vanessa Slinger-Friedman, who was presented with the 2023 Environmental Education Award in recognition of her exceptional dedication to sustainability in Cobb County.

Dr. Vanessa Slinger-Friedman speaking at the KSU Field Station
Dr. Vanessa Slinger-Friedman speaking at the KSU Field Station

Keep Cobb Beautiful Inc. is the local affiliate of Keep America Beautiful (KAB), a national non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing waste-handling practices in American communities. KAB plays a crucial role in educating millions of Americans on various aspects of waste handling and solid waste issues. KCB also holds membership in the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation.

The KCB Awards Gala, attended by many community leaders, showcased Dr. Slinger-Friedman's commitment and contribution to making Cobb County a better place. Dr. Slinger-Friedman's noteworthy achievements include connecting students with service-learning projects through courses including, Local and Global Sustainability (GEOG 3710) and Resources, Society, and the Environment (GEOG 1125) that offer hands-on experience applying classroom education to real-world action that also serve to keep Cobb beautiful. 

Executive Director of Keep Cobb Beautiful, Kimberly White, presented the award to Dr. Slinger-Friedman and expressed appreciation for their partnership, stating, "I really appreciate our partnership and how engaged you are with sustainability efforts."

Dr. Slinger-Friedman's commitment to environmental education includes providing tours at the KSU Food Forest, a living-learning lab for sustainable agriculture, which she co-founded with KSU Senior Lecturer of Geography Dr. Jason Rhodes and KSU Field Station Operations Manager Michael Blackwell. The Food Forest serves as a model of sustainable urban cultivation, demonstrating the potential of food forest systems to mitigate climate change while promoting food security and health.

“I am humbled by this wonderful recognition from Keep Cobb Beautiful, an organization that I respect and admire for the impact they have on making Cobb County more sustainable and improving our living environment,” said Dr. Slinger-Friedman. “Sustainability is applicable to every academic discipline, every institution, and every business and is important because it underpins the use of resources and the output of waste over time and space, and with consideration of all people now and in the future to ensure survival and well-being.”

The Norman J. Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences at KSU is the second-largest college among the 11 academic colleges at the University. It comprises over 8,400 students enrolled in over 80 diverse programs of study, constituting approximately 25% of the University's graduates.