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UC San Diego Campus Celebrates Sustainability Efforts with Earth Week

Photo: Earth Day

Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

The University of California, San Diego will recognize Earth Week, April 19-25 with festivities which will include a trash sort, Earth Day fair, walking tours of campus sustainability initiatives and more. This year’s celebration is particularly important, as campus community members have a special call to action: Conserve water.

“Our state is experiencing the worst drought on record,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “We have already taken many actions through our campus operations to conserve water, as sustainability is an integral part of UC San Diego’s education, research and campus operations. We have long had ambitious water-saving goals. Now, we need the help of all of our campus members to take even greater action to reduce water consumption to the greatest extent possible.”

Prior to Governor Jerry Brown’s recent call for mandatory water use reductions, UC San Diego had already introduced many new initiatives to conserve water, from installing approximately 9,000 feet of pipeline to use reclaimed water in the campus cogeneration plant’s cooling towers (saving 300,000 gallons of potable water per day), to converting 128,000 square feet of turf to low/no-water use landscape using drought-tolerant plants as well as groundcover, and more.

Photo: a student, staff and faculty group on campus, encourages water conservation

AQUAholics Anonymous, a student, staff and faculty group on campus, encourages water conservation through education and outreach and is a resource for networking and collaboration between different areas of campus that are working on water conservation.

“Water conservation is our greatest priority,” said Gary Matthews, vice chancellor for Resource Management and Planning. “We are looking at every possible way we can reduce our consumption of potable water.”

In addition to raising water conservation awareness, UC San Diego Earth Week events encompass a number of initiatives underway on campus that help reduce its carbon footprint, such as waste minimization, green building, energy conservation and more.

The Earth Week 2015 celebration at UC San Diego includes the following events. To view a complete schedule of activities, visit the Earth Week website.

  • 3rd Annual Cigarette Butt Cleanup, April 19, 9 to 11:30 a.m., Price Center Plaza—All members of the UC San Diego Community are invited to help maintain the health of the campus and its watershed by picking up trash and cigarette butts, all of which drain to La Jolla Shores, a state-designated Area of Special Biological Significance. In 2010, over one million cigarettes were removed from California beaches and inland waterways as part of the annual International Coastal Cleanup. Contrary to popular belief, cigarette butts do not decompose completely.
  • Trash Sort, April 20, 11:30 a.m. to noon, Library Walk––Students and staff will dig through hundreds of pounds of trash on Library Walk. The event will demonstrate how much of ordinary garbage is made up of items that can be recycled.
  • Walking Tour of UC San Diego Sustainable Initiatives, April 20, 5 to 7 p.m.,  beginning at Great Hall —Director of urban studies and planning at UC San Diego, Keith Pezzoli, will lead a campus walking tour of sustainable initiatives, which includes gardens, a food forest, water catchment and more.
  • Using 3D Imaging to Shed Light on the Unseen Beauty Beneath the Sea, April 20, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., Seuss Room, Geisel Library—Scripps Institution of Oceanography student and artist, Elizabeth Stringer, and other Scripps researchers will discuss their work in ocean science and the environmental knowledge they’ve gained from using state-of-the-art optical tools to observe the underwater world of plankton. Plankton, and particularly zooplankton, is the inspiration for a Library art installation, “My Meditations End in Reverie,” by Stringer, now on display through May. The instillation is a two-part exhibit located in the Seuss Room Foyer of the Geisel Library and in the Biomedical Library Building breezeway.
  • Earth Day Fair, April 22, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Price Center Plaza— The campus is invited to celebrate Earth Day with student organizations, campus departments and other organizations to learn how to live more sustainably.
  • DIY Makers Day, April 22, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Geisel Library, Seuss Room—Attendees can get ideas for making eco-friendly products and reusing consumables. “Make-your-own” stations will include: cleaning supplies (participants can be extra green and bring their own container), buttons using recycled book covers, boxes using recycled paper, sugar scrub, succulent plants, a 3D printer demonstration using vegetable-based plastic and more.
  • Visit to Ocean View Growing Grounds and Earth Lab April 25, time TBA, beginning at Pangea Parking Structure —Pezzoli, will lead a tour of Ocean View Growing Grounds and Earth Lab located in southeast San Diego, highlighting areas where the university and its partners have worked with the local community to make healthy and sustainable places.

UC San Diego has been hailed for its commitment to sustainability and has been consistently recognized as one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. and Canada by The Princeton Review.

Most recently, UC San Diego was featured in the sixth annual edition of “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 353 Green Colleges: 2015 Edition.”