It’s often easy to say that we care about the environment, and that we want to fight climate change. But how many of us actually go out and do something to benefit our environment, or raise awareness about the issues of sustainability? Even for those of us who take the initiative to tackle this huge topic, there are numerous challenges to working on sustainability issues. For one, there isn’t always easy access to hands-on opportunities related to sustainability. Second, there are multiple groups all trying to make a difference in preserving our environment but cohesiveness between the differing groups might be lacking. Lastly, funding for sustainability projects may be very limited. At UCSD, however, there has been much progress in dealing with these three issues. The challenges of trying to work on sustainability at UCSD have inspired the creation of many new opportunities.
Challenge 1: Ease of access to environmental service projects
Itching to do some hands-on work that helps the environment? Volunteering at the gardens on campus is an accessible and satisfying project to get involved in. Roger’s Community Garden (Revelle College), a student-led garden that serves the UCSD and San Diego community, is a popular destination. While working in Roger’s Garden, you can learn about growing organic produce, and other sustainability initiatives such as sustainable agriculture and nutrition.
Challenge 2: Cohesion among the various environmental organizations
Is the sheer number of sustainability orgs on campus overwhelming? It would be helpful to have a centralized group that brings all the different orgs together—that is the goal of the Inter-Sustainability Council (overseen by representatives from the Sustainability Program Office and Student Sustainability Collective). Its purpose is to provide a way for various on-campus sustainability entities to share ideas and communicate with each other.
Challenge 3: Funding for sustainability projects
Working on a project to raise awareness of sustainability issues to students on campus can be costly. For example, purchase and installation of hydration stations were needed for reducing plastic waste. Recycling totes might be needed for resident recycling use. Lighting on-off sensors might be needed for utility savings. These materials could be funded by Green Grants, a portion of the Housing*Dining*Hospitality budget set aside for use by students or staff engaged in sustainability projects and efforts. Application instructions for Green Grants can be found on the HDH website. Students are definitely encouraged to request Green Grants!
by: Linda Tong, UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative Student Fellow