Campus Celebrates Opening of Sustainability Resource Center
Christine Clark | November 23, 2009
Chancellor Fox participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony with members of the Student Sustainability Collective and Steve Relyea, Vice Chancellor for External and Business Affairs.
“This day is a dream come true," said UC San Diego alumna Jessica Wall, '09. "I remember wishing the Sustainability Resource Center would open when I was a freshman, and it’s mind blowing that it has become a reality."
Wall is a former green campus intern who took the day off from her job at a non-profit environmental agency to attend the opening of the Sustainability Resource Center, a one-stop sustainability shop where students can learn about green jobs and courses on sustainability-related topics, how to conserve energy and water, or find eco-friendly products.
Hundreds of students, faculty and staff gathered at the event in the Price Center Theater where Chancellor Marye Anne Fox; Steve Relyea, Vice Chancellor for External and Business Affairs; Maggie Souder, Campus Sustainability Coordinator, and students gave remarks.
Steve Relyea, Vice Chancellor for External and Business Affairs spoke about the importance of UCSD’s collaborative spirit.
"I think our university founder, Roger Revelle, would have been quite proud to see the establishment of this center on campus," Fox said. "And now, 50 years later, we have continued to build on his pioneering work, and the UC San Diego campus has become a living laboratory for climate change research and solutions."
Located at the heart of campus in the Price Center, the Sustainability Resource Center is home to Souder's office, other campus sustainability staff, and the student-funded Student Sustainability Collective. This unique collaboration between students and staff will work to achieve common sustainability goals and reach out to the UCSD and surrounding communities.
"The real strength of this campus is that three groups: students, faculty and staff come together to work on making this university more sustainable," Relyea said.
Students from the Student Sustainability Collective celebrated the opening. Each of the collective’s six teams of students work on activism and community outreach related to water conservation, public transportation, urban development, waste and energy, civil and human rights, and sustainable foods.
In recent months, UCSD has won recognition as one of the greenest universities in the nation, by Greenopia Magazine and the Sustainable Endowments Institute. This center is a way to build on that momentum, Relyea said.
Souder introduced student speakers from the Student Sustainability Collective, a group funded by an Associated Students fee referendum. Each of the collective’s six teams of students work on activism and community outreach related to water conservation, public transportation, urban development, waste and energy, civil and human rights, and sustainable foods.
"They are creative, dedicated and passionate. They support, energize, and inspire,” Souder said. “They also challenge, and push us past traditional thinking into innovative solutions.”
Sustainability Resource Center co-founder Fran Avendaño gave a fiery speech that roused the crowd. “Sustainability creates jobs and helps ensure clean air and water for us and for future generations," she said. "The Sustainability Resource Center started with students, but sustainability starts with you."
Students showcased sustainable art and projects outside the Price Center Theater.
Following the speeches, Chancellor Fox participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony and attendees toured the new facility. With the goal to earn the highest possible Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, the Sustainability Resource Center features countertops made from recycled paper and glass and eco-friendly paint. Part of the flooring is reclaimed from a demolished building; other flooring includes bamboo, a rapidly renewable resource, and eco-friendly carpeting. In addition, the Sustainability Resource Center features an innovative energy-saving lighting system where 100 percent of the high-efficiency lighting is energized by solar panels located directly above the center.
The center will have a public outreach space and a library showcasing the campus’s sustainability research projects.
"It's absolutely beautiful," said junior Elizabeth Elman, a Student Sustainability Collective member. "I have been so excited for this day to come. It is like a new beginning for sustainability on our campus."
The Sustainability Resource Center officially opens for business Dec. 1. For more information, go to http://sustain.ucsd.edu/involve/get-involved.html