Glasser, Quada win Distinguished Service awards

contact: Mark Schwerin
| WMU News

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A driving force behind Western Michigan University's sustainability initiatives and a staff member who has spearheaded University efforts to serve military veterans are winners of WMU's 2014-15 Distinguished Service Award.

Dr. Harold Glasser, executive director for campus sustainability, and Tracey Quada, formerly director of the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, will be presented their awards during WMU's annual Academic Convocation ceremony beginning at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10, in the Dalton Center Recital Hall. The event also will feature WMU President John. M. Dunn's State of the University address and presentation of other campuswide honors, including the Distinguished Teaching, Emerging Scholar, Distinguished Faculty Scholar and Annual Make a Difference awards.

As recipients of the Distinguished Service Award, Glasser and Quada join 57 faculty and staff members who have received the accolade since it was established in 1980. The two were chosen from among nominees across campus who have demonstrated exceptional service in areas that reflect innovative and effective programming, increase WMU's stature or extend WMU's impact and presence into the larger community. Both will receive a plaque and $2,000 honorarium.

Harold Glasser

Photo of Harold Glasser.


In addition to being sustainability director, Glasser also serves as professor of environmental and sustainability studies and joined the WMU faculty in 1999. His years of service reflect a long career of university bridge building—between service and teaching, physical and academic infrastructures and WMU and the community.

Nominators noted Glasser's significant impact on the WMU campus, from the insulated refillable Eco Mugs students carry across campus and throughout Kalamazoo to photovoltaic panels that generate electricity on Wood Hall and near Miller Auditorium and charging stations for electronic vehicles. Other initiatives credited to Glasser include integrated waste disposal receptacles across campus that have improved waste diversion, the organic community gardens on Stadium Drive, a bicycle cooperative serving hundreds of people, efforts to obtain LEED certification for new campus buildings and more.

Behind the scenes, Glasser has worked diligently to advance and showcase WMU's leadership in sustainability, including chairing the University's Environmental Impact and Sustainability Committee as well as the President's Universitywide Sustainability Committee. He also has helped shepherd WMU's recent commitment to and implementation of STARS—the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System for colleges and universities.

"Throughout his work on building campuswide sustainable systems, Dr. Glasser has brought Western students, at every step, into the process of change," says one letter of support co-signed by several of Glasser's WMU colleagues. "A demanding and inspirational teacher, Dr. Glasser has turned the campus, as he calls it, into a 'living learning laboratory' for students … We say with confidence that without Dr. Glasser, Western would not be the recognized leader that we are in sustainability."

A high-ranking city official singled out Glasser's commitment to improving the quality of life in Kalamazoo, such as being a key organizing partner in creating and committing regional leaders to the 2009 Southwest Michigan Sustainability Covenant and persistently reaching out to city leadership to collaborate on improving bicycling infrastructure.

"Dr. Glasser clearly helps WMU set an example that other institutions and organizations can follow," wrote the official. "Much of his work on campus and in the surrounding community helps us to normalize sustainable living."

Community environmental organizations also supported Glasser's nomination. An executive at an area nature preserve also noted Glasser's work on the sustainability covenant signed by all major government entities, employers and education institutions in Southwest Michigan.

"I have always been very impressed with his devotion and dedication to making the University stand out among peers as one of the best, especially as it relates to sustainability," the executive wrote. "He is well known for his tireless efforts to implement sustainable practices at the University, which are now widely regarded throughout our community and beyond … He devotes his full energy and keen insights to each project."

Tracey Quada

Photo of Tracey Quada.


Quada began her role in 2009 when her office was part of the Advocacy Office for Transfer Students and Military Affairs. At that time, one person was dedicated to transfer students and one to military and veteran students. Before leaving WMU for a new position earlier this year, Quada, through her tremendous energy and enthusiasm, built an office that boasts a graduate assistant, four interns and a shared marketing coordinator. Letters of support for Quada's selection as an award recipient came while she was still in her WMU role.

One nominator credited Quada with playing a key role in bringing a Department of Veterans Affairs representative to campus two days a week to address questions for students and their families.

"Tracey continues to develop and strengthen networks both on campus and off campus to bring attention to the needs of our military and veteran students and their families," a colleague wrote. The nominator noted Quada's regular contact with and attendance and support of programs at area VFWs and other community programs that offer services for military personnel.

Quada's on-campus activities were also praised.

"On campus, Tracey is the 'voice' of our military and veteran students," the colleague wrote. "She has also made several presentations across campus and across the nation and sponsored programs that bring light to the issues and concerns of this student population."

Examples include an annual Veterans Day 5K run and special athletic programming for veterans and their families. Quada also supervises the WMU Chapter for Student Veterans of America and was instrumental in coordinating efforts to create a Military and Veterans Student Lounge on campus.

Quada's diligent advocacy and action have led to both state and national recognition. WMU has been recognized for four consecutive years as one of the nation's best institutions for military veterans, as noted in Military Times EDGE magazine, and as a Military Friendly School. In addition, the University became one of only three schools in Michigan and one of 20 in the nation to be recognized as a VetSuccess on Campus school in 2012, while in 2013 the Obama administration named WMU an "8 Keys to Success" school for its services to veterans, the only school in Michigan to be so recognized.

Quada has established strong ties with vets on campus, wrote a WMU colleague.

"She has established a safe haven lounge on campus dedicated to veterans as a way of connecting and aiding one another through group study, social interaction and emotional support," a colleague wrote. "She is always available to our veteran students to discuss any issues they may be having."

Veterans Affairs officials also supported Quada's nomination.

"Tracey has been a tremendous leader in developing Western Michigan University's Office of Military and Veterans Affairs," an official wrote. "Her support, advocacy and mentoring for veterans and spouses has been, in my opinion, a foundation that other schools and universities should build or start on."

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