GFI Fellows & Ambassadors

Presentation1From left to right: Belinda, Fatima, Tricia
(Kara not pictured )

 

The University of California President’s Global Food Initiative (GFI) Student Fellowship Program funds student-generated research, related projects or internships that focus on food issues.  All 10 UC campuses, plus the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory participate in this program.  UC San Diego Sustainability is proud to announce the 2017-18 GFI Student Fellows: Belinda Ramirez, Fatima Alcantara-Valadao, Kara Kirkpatrick, and Tricia Dutton.

Belinda Ramirez – Belinda’s effort as a UC GFI fellow will bring a critically constructive anthropological perspective into understanding and improving urban gardening and farming in diverse, disadvantaged communities of Southern California. In particular, Belinda will examine community gardens and food forests as unique spaces where knowledge is produced, learned and shared. She will play an active role in UC San Diego’s GFI project titled: Getting Neighborhoods EQUIPPED (Engaged thru Quality University-Community Infrastructure for Participatory-Research and Popular EDucation). Belinda will use her ethnographic, linguistic and cultural skills to help carry out, evaluate and improve the Getting Neighborhoods EQUIPPED project –a place-based project designed to improve food literacy & security especially among Hispanic and African-American residents. This effort aims to enhance the role of research universities and science in public reasoning and interventions aimed at eradicating root causes of food insecurity and unhealthy living conditions in disadvantaged neighborhoods.Belinda is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in sociocultural anthropology. Her dissertation research builds off of her work as a GFI Fellow, exploring the intersections of race, politics, and place among urban gardeners and farmers in San Diego County.

Fatima Alcantara-Valadao – Fatima will serve as a student leader of an Edible Plant Sampling and Analysis Program–a collaborative effort of UC San Diego’s UC GFI and Superfund Research Center. Testing edible plants for toxicants on and off campus addresses public concerns about health where people are growing fruits and vegetables on land that may be contaminated. Fatima will continue work she already has underway: collecting samples from gardens across campus and San Diego including the Ocean View Growing Grounds (an urban garden located in a food desert in Southeast San Diego). Her tasks include weekly upkeep of the soil lab/plant tissue greenhouse located at Roger’s Community Garden on campus. The Edible Plant Sampling and Analysis Program aims to improve the safety and health of gardeners, and in the process, promote community gardening as a way of increasing the consumption of nutritious, locally-grown foods. Fatima will help build teaching and learning modules for UC GFI and San Diego’s Bioregional Center that highlight the importance of this work.

Kara Kirkpatrick – Kara will build on her successful efforts working with private industry partners to determine the most efficient 21st century growing techniques for soilless urban agriculture. Kara is a project leader doing experimental hydroponic food growing in Roger’s Community Garden located on the UC San Diego campus. Her investigation is comparing water usage in a system that is growing edible plants in a traditional garden plot versus water usage in an alternative hydroponic system growing similar plants. Kara’s tasks will include guided tours of Rogers Community Garden for students and volunteers, and logistical support for the design and creation of signage for that space and similar spaces off campus –inparticular the Ocean View Growing Grounds, a community garden and food forest in Southeast San Diego. Her effort will draw attention to the importance of bidirectional education andlearning in
public-private sector partnerships, socialentrepreneurship and innovation.

Tricia Dutton – Tricia Dutton will serve as UC San Diego’s UC GFI Student Ambassador. Ambassadors help connect local GFI fellows with people and activities across the UC system’s GFI network statewide. Tricia’s tasks include writing blog posts, video production and management of social media highlighting student research, group activities, events and workshops on and off campus. Tricia aims to improve communication and interaction among the UC GFI fellows and UC Carbon Neutrality fellows. As the Social Media Chair of UC San Diego’s Undergraduate Communication Society, Tricia will use her organizing and technical skills to facilitate GFI efforts that bring local community leaders, neighborhood residents, students and researchers together. She will actively participate with GFI leadership, the Bioregional Center, and the Global Action Research Center in co-creating narratives, stories, multimedia and community asset maps to both inspire and enable civic engagement in policy and planning for healthy placemaking—especially efforts to reduce food disparities and increase food justice in green and climate friendly ways.

Freezer Challenge // The verdict is in.

BACK IN MAY labs all around UC San Diego participated in the North American Laboratory Freezer Challenge, a competition to see which labs can be most energy efficient through cold storage management. Such practices include replacing inefficient freezers, bumping freezer temperatures up from -80 C to -70 C, and discarding unneeded units entirely, or simply cleaning out old samples and sharing freezer space with another lab. Out of 200 labs, and across 34 organizations, UC San Diego placed 1st as an organizational winner! My Green Lab and I2SL (International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories) estimated that our participating labs have saved a whopping 500,000 kWh/year. Many cheers♣

 

 

CoreBio’s move away from plastic bags

CoreBio, a vendor which provides biotech products for UCSD’s labs, plans to stop packaging orders in plastic bags and start providing reusable ones. The inspiration: Prop 67.

Prop 67, or the Plastic Bag Ban, mandates that grocery stores charge $0.10 per plastic bag, encouraging consumers to bring their own. The purpose is to reduce the number of plastic bags which end up in landfills and, more often than not, wildlife. CoreBio, inspired by California’s effort to be greener, decided to up the ante by getting rid of plastic bags entirely, and is currently looking into which reusable bags to order and hand out to customers, so that there’s at least one per lab; in the meantime, they’re packaging orders with biodegradable bags, which are compostable and can at the very least break down faster than plastic ones.

How are our colleges on recycling? (feat. Econauts)

Every week, the Econauts pick a different college to do a “waste audit” for. They take a sample of 4-12 bags of trash from the res-hall and apartment dumpsters, and sort out the contents between trash and recycling. Afterwards, they talk to students walking by about what they found in the trash. The most commonly found items that should have gone into recycling are: plastic dining hall to-go plates, plastic water bottles, cardboard boxes, and paper homework (of course).

This year, the Econauts started working with RA’s to further reach out to college residents. RA’s in the Village, Marshall, and Sixth all defined goals  to increase their colleges’ waste diversion from landfills.

The Village set a goal to decrease the amount of recyclables found in trash marked for landfills by 12% in Winter Quarter. To do so, they put on a diversion competition between the Village East and West, and threw a final food party for the winning side. They also got new signage out to residents, and applied for a green grant to get bigger recycling bins for the apartments. Meanwhile, Marshall College res-life set a goal to decrease the amount of recyclables found in their trash from 50% to 37% for Winter Quarter, and then to 27% by the end of Spring Quarter. They aspire to put together a competition between res-halls for decreasing water and trash waste, promote more programs focused on proper waste sorting, and share a video showing the life of a recyclable (made by the Econauts). Over on the other side of campus, Sixth College res-life set the goal to decrease the amount of recyclables found in trash from 33% to 25% by the end of the school year. They plan to increase programming geared towards correct trash disposal, and put up extra signage to increase student awareness on what’s recyclable.

Between Fall and Winter Quarter, every college (including Muir) was able to noticeably decrease the amount of recyclables found in their trash EXCEPT Revelle and ERC. During Fall Quarter, 50% of their trash turned out to be RECYCLABLE; this decreased slightly to 47% in Winter Quarter, and we hope to help them continue to bring that percentage down over time. Email us at ucsdeconauts@gmail.com or find us on Facebook if you have any questions on how you can improve your own recycling habits!♣

Credit: Samantha Forrest, Rep. for Econauts

We Are Still In at UC San Diego

A few weeks ago, US President Trump announced that that US would be backing out of the 2015 Paris climate accord.

“At what point does America get demeaned?,” President Trump asked during his public press conference announcing the withdrawal. “At what point do they start laughing at us as a country? We want fair treatment. We don’t want other countries and other leaders to laugh at us anymore.”
Ironically, withdrawing our national commitment to join the rest of the world in lowering our greenhouse gas emissions to keep global temperature increases under a 2 C limit (after which it’s much harder to turn back) and transitioning to a clean energy economy is our being unfair to the rest of the world. And hurting our own economy and national security in the process.

I’d say instead of laughing, the rest of the world is crying with many of we Americans as our national leaders stick their heads in the sand.

We Are Still In climate pledge logo

But we are now turning those tears to action.

Over 1,000 mayors, governors, CEO’s, and higher education leaders — including our own UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla — stated loud and clear in response that we are still in to meeting our commitments under the Paris accords. Along with the Chancellors of our sister UC campuses and UC President Janet Napolitano, Chancellor Khosla joins climate leaders like California Governor Gerry Brown, Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti, Mayor of New York City Bill De Blasio, and the leadership of companies like Starbucks, Apple, Microsoft, Nike, Amazon, Gap, and Facebook, among others.

We are still in to lower our greenhouse emissions, lead the world in climate science and technological research and innovation, and collaborate with the rest of the world in slowing the warming that will hurt our health, our economy, and our environment — especially for the most vulnerable among us.

“Climate change is a fact of life that people in Los Angeles and cities around the world live with every day. It is a grave threat to our health, our environment, and our economy — an urgent challenge that requires unprecedented collaboration,” LA Mayor Garcetti explain of his signing the pledge. “The President may be pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, but L.A. will lead by committing to the goals of the accord — and working closely with over 200 other Climate Mayors as well as governors and CEOs across the U.S. to do the same.”

This weekend we are welcoming His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to campus as our 2017 Commencement keynote speaker, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect or more powerful. He promotes environmental protection and sustainability alongside and in harmony with the promotion of human values, social integrity, compassion, interreligious dialogue, and ethical leadership.

“A man of peace, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama promotes global responsibility and service to humanity,” Chancellor Khosla explained. “These are the ideals we aim to convey and instill in our students and graduates at UC San Diego.”

And the ideals we are still all in to model ourselves as a public university.

Now that is no laughing matter.

Sara McKinstry (@sarajmck)

 

UC San Diego Sports Facilities Earth Cube Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

On April 27, 2016, Sports Facilities Department and the SFAB Sustainability Committee celebrated the arrival of their new composting “Earth Cubes” with a ribbon cutting ceremony.  In this inaugural composting program, the Sports Facilities Department aims to vastly reduce the amount of waste going to landfill from the RIMAC Annex building. They have been composting the green waste from Peet’s Coffee & Tea and the paper hand towels in the building’s restrooms. As the first department on campus to incorporate composting into their on campus operation, they hope to demonstrate that composting is easy, and encourage other departments to follow their lead.   Click here to watch a video of the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The Importance of Reporting Leaks at UC San Diego

It may sound dramatic, but you’re essentially flushing money down the toilet if you ignore a water leak.  The reason why leaky faucets keep you up at night shouldn’t be the drip drops down the drain, but rather the environmental impact they have.  To illustrate, according to the Washington State Department of Ecology, “a leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons per day.  That would be like flushing your toilet more than 50 times for no reason.”  Therefore, reporting leaks is our civic responsibility.

Saving water is critical for today’s environmental welfare.  California is already in a drought.  Jay Familglietti, a water scientist at NASA, stated in March 2015 that there is only one year of surface water left and when that runs out, California will begin using underground water to supply its 37 million residents. However, ground water is hard to replace because it takes a very long time for this natural process to occur.

We also need to conserve water because there will be ecological consequences.  We will have difficulty feeding animals, which will devastate livestock and endangered species.  Even more, California produces the most vegetation in the United States, and this affects all of America economically and agriculturally.

conserve-water

Fixing leaky plumbing is one of the most effective ways to save water with the least amount of effort from the campus community!  Be sure to report your leak to the right place.  For those in housing and dining areas, contact HDH Maintenance and Custodial. Leaks in sports facilities areas, contact Office of Sports Facilities. Report leaks in University Centers, contact FixIt, and anywhere else on campus, contact Facilities Management via email at wsc@ucsd.edu. Make sure to state your location, the type of leak, and contact details when reporting a leak.

Check out the UC San Diego Sustainability website for tips and tricks for conserving water.

Credit: Connie Li, UC San Diego Student Sustainability Communications Volunteer

 

The Zone Completes Green Office Recertification

UC San Diego Sustainability would like to congratulate UCSD’s The Zone for being the most recent office to be certified through its Green Office Certification Program!

The office was initially certified in 2013 and was just recently recertified, receiving a grade of Silver. The Zone goes “cupless” every other month, and even when providing cups utilizes biodegradable ones. zone recertThey plan on going completely cupless next year to motivate the students who utilize the space to use their own reusable water bottles. The Zone has also partnered with Roger’s Garden to begin composting its tea leaves and filters to reduce its waste even more and give back to the community. Shoutout to The Zone and all of its employees for continuing to help the campus and students while also working to help the environment!

For more information on becoming certified, please visit us on our website http://sustain.ucsd.edu/initiatives/green-office.html or email us at ucsdgoc@gmail.com

Green Office Certification Volunteers Needed

UC San Diego Sustainability is seeking college students interested in volunteer intern positions with our Green Office Certification Program during the ’16-17 academic year.  The program helps campus offices promote resource conservation and receive recognition for their leadership in sustainability.

Applications are due Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at 5 PM.  The volunteer position description and responsibilities are listed at the top of the form.

To learn more about the Green Office Certification Program, visit us at http://sustain.ucsd.edu/initiatives/green-office.html

UC San Diego’s ESW Wins Big at National Conference

Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) is a project-based non-profit organization whose mission is to develop, implement, and share sustainable technologies and practices worldwide. This past weekend at the ESW Nationals Conference, the UC San Diego chapter was awarded 135Outstanding Chapter of the Year out of 50 chapters nationwide in recognition of their work this previous year, which includes finalizing an intensive on-campus project (Solar Chill), forming a partnership with Global TIES, and representing five projects at the recent Clinton Global Initiative University. In addition, their outgoing chapter president, Jimmy Luong, was presented with the Chapter Leader of the Year Award for his dedication and for overseeing the success of the organization.

This year, the ESW Nationals organized a Resilient CommUnity Design Challenge where a dedicated group of students, aptly named CommUnity Growth, One Garden at a Time, is focusing on working with community partners in City Heights, specifically at Hoover High School, to propose and implement improvements on the local scale. In the near future, they will help construct an urban, community garden and establish after school STEM programs at the high school with the funds awarded. Out of 19 chapters that participated, UC San Diego’s group ranked 2nd place after a culmination of many phases and a final presentation. The chapter also submitted five photos to the Community Category for the Photo Contest and won based off of various photos that demonstrated student involvement and community efforts.

UCSD ESW was also just recently awarded the 2016 UC San Diego Sustainability Awards for Outstanding Student Group by the UC San Diego Sustainability Office. ESW is entirely grateful to receive these accolades and will strive to continue to make a positive difference in the UC San Diego community as well as in other local and international areas.