Gayle 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.