2019 News Stories

USF Stavros Center receives Coca-Cola Foundation grant to help educators integrate lessons on sustainability into K-12 curriculum

Sustainability Superheroes Grant Project - Check Presentation

Pictured from left to right: Dick Puglisi, PhD, Professor and Director, Stavros Center; Merrill Stewart, Glazer Children’s Museum; accepting on behalf of the Coca-Cola Foundation, Mark Pitts, Vice President, Coca-Cola Beverages Florida; Deborah Kozdras, PhD, Associate Director, Stavros Center; Robert Knoeppel, PhD, Dean of the College of Education; Govindan Parayil, PhD, Dean of the Patel College of Global Sustainability.

TAMPA, Fla. (March 28, 2019) – To help K-12 educators teach their students about sustainability in all subjects and grade levels, the Gus A. Stavros Center for Free Enterprise and Economic Education is teaming up with the University of South Florida’s Patel College for Global Sustainability to create new training and lesson plans for teachers throughout the Tampa Bay region.

Titled “Sustainability Superheroes,” the project will provide teachers with lesson plans, workshops and guest lectures from both USF experts and business and industry professionals that empower them to teach students about key sustainability issues and to inspire them to become “everyday superheroes” who are ready to make positive change in the world.

“We believe creating an awareness of the importance of ‘economic sustainability’ is critical to the future of our region, nation and world,” said Dick Puglisi, PhD, Stavros Chair in Free Enterprise & Economic Education and Director of the Gus A. Stavros Center. “The funding provided by The Coca-Cola Foundation to the Gus A. Stavros Center will enable us to develop this important initiative, which will impact hundreds of educators and thousands of students. We are very grateful to our partner, the Patel College for Global Sustainability, for their support and involvement in this project”

The project is funded by a $200,500 grant awarded by the Coca-Cola Foundation. Since its inception in 1984, The Coca-Cola Foundation has given back more than $1 billion to enhance the sustainability of local communities worldwide. 

“We are pleased to partner with the University of South Florida in support of its Sustainability Superhero Program, and other efforts to educate future leaders about important sustainability topics, such as conservation, clean energy, recycling, sustainable packaging, revitalization of green spaces, and sustainable agriculture,” said Helen Smith Price, President of The Coca-Cola Foundation.

Sustainability Superheroes will provide resources to educators in six of the Stavros Center’s partnering school districts, including Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota counties, which collectively serve more than 550,000 students annually.

In addition, the project will also support a two-year program titled “Sustainability Scholars.” Each year, a group of five educators will be selected to develop lesson plans and other resources for teachers that reflect real-world problems in sustainability. These lessons will then be tested and evaluated so that they can be used by all educators in the future.

“The Stavros Center continuously demonstrates impact through the resources, services and professional development they provide to the educational community,” said Robert C. Knoeppel, PhD, Dean of the USF College of Education. “This program is a perfect example of how the Center trains teachers to impart knowledge and life-skills on their students, and is also an example of the transformative community engagement taking place in the USF College of Education.”

About the Gus A. Stavros Center for Free Enterprise and Economic Education:

The Gus A. Stavros Center for Free Enterprise and Economic Education is housed in the University of South Florida’s College of Education and works to advance the effective teaching and integration of free enterprise, financial literacy and economic education into the K-20 curricula. For more than 38 years, the Center has provided quality professional development to educators in a variety of areas relating to free enterprise and the global economy.

About The Coca-Cola Foundation:

The Coca-Cola Foundation is the global philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company. Since its inception in 1984, the Foundation has awarded more than $1 billion in grants to support sustainable community initiatives around the world. For more information about The Coca-Cola Foundation, please visit www.coca-colacompany.com/our-company/the-coca-cola-foundation.