IDEAS was founded at the University of Central Florida (UCF), Home of the Knights, in Orlando, Florida. Chris Castro and Henry Harding, both Environmental Studies majors inspired by the cause, and a group of friends decided to create an organization that got others involved with the sustainability movement and engaged others in experiential learning outside of the classroom.
They started small, adopting pond 3A and recruiting a handful of friends to clean it up. But with a dose of scientific curiosity and youthful ambition, the group grew quickly.
The Student Government Association at UCF we’re difficult to work with at times but persistence and passion payed off. For an entire year, IDEAS was denied a “Registered Student Organization” (RSO) status for false reasons. But that didn’t stop them from organizaing others to get involved.
Over that year, IDEAS UCF was printed in the school newspaper over 7 times and after our 3rd semester trying to attain RSO status, we succeed.
IDEAS at UCF has convinced student government to not only recycle its paper but use recycled paper; introduced local school kids to the concepts of recycling, renewable energy and sustainability; spawned a lake-restoration company that turns a small profit (Agrarian Lake & Pond); is currently developing a new prototype of “aquaponic” small-scale agriculture; and helped to create the U.S. Department of Energy’s student ambassadors program, among many other things.
After 3 years, IDEAS UCF has created a community of environmentalist and humanitarians helping to leave this place a better place than they found it.
In June 2011, the Florida Wildlife Federation will name IDEAS the “conservation organization of the year.”
“I think more and more people are seeing that these guys are action figures,” says Linda Stewart, a former Orange County Commissioner who presented IDEAS with the county’s Green Leaf Award for Environmental Excellence last December. “They’re not just talking.”
2012- 2013 Officers:
- Jaques Werleigh – Co-President
- Chill Will – Co-President
- Tina Bechtold – Treasurer / Up-cycling Coordinator
- Dave Oswald – Research (R&D) Director / Aquaponics
- Zak Marimon – Ecosystem Facilitation
- Chill Will – Bikes Save CO2
- Sebastian Church – IDEAS for Education
- Dan Schreiber – Community Outreach
- Laurent Saint-Louis – Healthy IDEAS
- Ryan Harrigan – Technology Coordinator
- Julian Belilty – Innovations 4 UCF
- Nicole Trivison – Clean-up Coordinator
Check out IDEAS UCF on Facebook and join our movement!