Biology professor wins sustainability award

During Sister Maura Smith’s Earth Day Lecture on April 18, Michael Campbell, Ph.D., professor of biology, was presented the college’s Sustainability Award by President Tom Gamble, Ph.D.

The award came as a complete surprise to Campbell.

“The president gave a speech to announce the winner. He said nice things about me, but I didn’t even know he was talking about me until he said my name,” Campbell said.

Ethan Magoc photo: President Gamble, Ph.D., presented Michael Campbell, Ph.D., with the college’s Sustainability Award.Ethan Magoc photo: President Gamble, Ph.D., presented Michael Campbell, Ph.D., with the college’s Sustainability Award.

While Campbell works with the on-campus sustainability program, the main project he takes pride in is the sustainability farm in Girard with garden manager Tim Boucher.

“Most of the arable land in that area is used by (Tim), who grows various vegetables like corn, squash, tomatoes and much more,” Campbell said.

The part of the farm that Campbell works with is about five acres, but he uses unconventional means to grow the crops.

Mercyhurst, he says, wants to show the agricultural industry can, in fact, grow food without today’s popular chemical pesticide methods.

In addition to the Girard farm, Campbell has worked with the sustainability program, which consists of a minor, a contract major and concentrations in both the biology and chemistry majors.

Sustainability is something beneficial to everyone.

“If anything is going to change, it’ll be from the grass up,” he said. “I decided that I’m not going to wait, and I took matters in my own hands.”

The green movement is something that Campbell believes will get stronger with time.

“If people learn from us and take that knowledge with them, that’s how we will change the world,” he said.

He thinks businesses that show how they are green will receive more business than other, less eco-friendly businesses.

“Green marketing helps sell your products. I was staying at a hotel, and there was a sign above the toilet with advice on how to live green,” Campbell said.

Receiving the Sustainability Award, Campbell said, was “a real nice shot in the arm.”

“In the last two to three years, we’ve done a lot. This award gave me encouragement to keep plugging away,” Campbell said.

Campbell emphasized that there are countless individuals — Mercyhurst students, faculty and community members — who deserve credit for this award.

“The only reason that we’ve been so successful is because there have been so many people nudging it ahead,” Campbell said.