Profile in Sustainability – Thanh Tran

IMG_0231.jpgThanh Tran | B.S. Environmental Systems (Evolution, Behavior, & Ecology), Business Minor | Class of 2015

Why is sustainability important to you? 

Sustainability is important to me because I believe everyone should be responsible for their own actions; this includes the environmental impact one has on the planet. Everyone has contributed to Climate Change in one form or another and has been, or will be, affected by it. Sustainability allows us to be accountable for our actions and help mitigate the effects of Climate Change so that we can create a better planet for future generations.

Could you talk about your role with the Student Sustainability Collective and Inter-Sustainability Council? What are some things you learned from these experiences? 

During my time as the Director of Community & Outreach with the Student Sustainability Collection (SSC), I spent a great deal of my time working with other organizations, on and off campus, on events and campaigns throughout the campus. One of my greatest accomplishments in this position was establishing the Inter-Sustainability Council. My goal for the Council was to have a centralized community where organizations could collaborate and support one another. What I learned from these experiences is that a little help can go a long way. The support I received from the SSC and Inter-Sustainability Council allowed me to continuously work towards my professional goals and assist others in theirs.

Could you talk about your current position as the Sustainability Coordinator at CR&R? What do you enjoy about having a career in sustainability?

I currently work in the Solid Waste and Recycling Industry as the Sustainability Specialist for CR&R Environmental Services. The State implements laws, such as Assembly Bill 341 (Mandatory Commercial Recycling) and Assembly Bill 1826 (Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling), that require businesses that generate a certain amount of waste to have recycling programs. My role is to work with cities and sanitary districts to promote recycling and organics to business owners and residents. What I enjoy most about having a career in Sustainability is being surrounded by colleagues with a similar passion and mindset. Even though we work for a corporate entity, we always have the environment’s best interest in mind.

Profile in Sustainability – Gayle Ta

photo.pngGayle Ta | Management Science Major | Class of 2001 | Director, Student Financial Solutions at UC San Diego

How did you become interested in sustainability?

I previously worked at a supply chain organization on campus and during that time sustainability was a relatively new concept in that department.  No one in the organization had true ownership or oversight in that area so I volunteered to take it on as part of my regular job responsibilities.  Learning more about what sustainability is, I reflected on my own behaviors and was shock how wasteful I was from how much food I threw out to how much energy I consumed.  I ended up being one of the early adopters of the Nissan LEAF electric car when it came out!  I’m proud to say I have been driving an electric car since 2011.

What sustainability organizations were you involved with at UC San Diego? 

I am one of the founding members of the Staff Sustainability Network.  We came together because there weren’t any sustainability resources for staff on campus and we felt that staff wanted to be more sustainable but didn’t know how.  There were several student groups but nothing that was targeted for staff. The association was created to provide a network of resources and empower staff to make an impactful change on campus.  The idea came about during a town hall meeting related to sustainability when the Chancellor was developing his strategic plan.  During the first year of the association, I served on the executive board as the treasurer.

Could you talk about your projects at Procurement? What were some of the most valuable things you gained/learned from those experiences? 

Departments can purchase supplies through an e-commerce site called UC San Diego Marketplace.  One of my earlier projects was to create different sustainability attributes such as recycled content, energy star, and a green flag to help users identify more environmentally friendly products.  What I learned from that project is that most staff want to do the right thing but you have to make it easier for them to buy the right products.