Jacob Bintliff, an Environment Bridging Disciplines Programs student, recently received the Texas Exes President’s Leadership Award, a Senate of College Councils Undergraduate Research Award, a Global Leadership Grant from the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS), and the LLILAS Davidson Family Scholarship.
Jacob commented that the Environment “BDP has allowed me to compliment my LLILAS degree with excellent courses and connecting experiences which have helped me go from a basic commitment to environmental protection as a freshman to a well-versed scholar in the fascinating global sustainability movement.”
He describes discovering his “passion for the environment and. . . capacity to lead other students. . . when I co-founded my high school’s first ‘Green Club.’ I. . . found a wonderful home in the Campus Environmental Center. My involvement in the CEC has been the single most challenging, enlightening, and fulfilling part of my college career.” Jacob served as the first-ever student Campus Recycling Coordinator, CEC Assistant Director, and CEC Co-Director.
The President’s Leadership Award is for Jacob’s extensive work promoting UT sustainability in the administration and student body. The Award is given to six UT Austin students each year. This year’s recipients included the current and former Student Body Presidents.
The Research Award recognizes proactive and creative research projects by UT undergraduates, and seeks to facilitate those projects with funding. Jacob received $1000, the maximum amount awarded, for this summer’s project: assisting in developing an Ecuadorian recycling program for six to eight weeks.
Another $500 from the Global Leadership Grant will help with his travel expenses. The grant is to help students conduct research in the sustainability field in Latin America. The Davidson Family Scholarship recognizes outstanding LLILAS undergraduates.
Jacob has also worked with the Enironmental Science Institute to connect a State Energy Conservation Office grant to the student body, served as a special TA for Environmental Action in Dr. Banner’s pilot signature course “Sustaining a Planet,” and was appointed as the undergraduate student representative on the first-ever President’s Task Force on Sustainability. This year, he co-founded the Rail 4 Real Coalition, which involved him in legislative efforts with the statewide Reenergize Texas youth environmental coalition. Jacob is also an LLILAS honors student in Economics.
From late June to mid August, Jacob will live in the rural village of Vilcabamba in the Loja Province on southern Ecuador. He will join a team, led by Dr. Erle Janssen (former Director of the UT Austin Environmental Health & Safety department), that works on establishing a hazardous waste disposal and recycling program for the town. Currently, hazardous and non-hazardous waste alike are dumped in a poorly-constructed landfill which leads to a variety of ecological and human health issues.
Jacob will facilitate meetings among community residents, leaders, and waste management industry officers in order to draft a proposal for a collaborative waste management system in the community. The team will use the proposal to pursue international funding for the project while Jacob returns to UT to use his research to write his LLILAS honors thesis. The thesis will focus on community-based waste management strategies.