Blue + Gold = Green… Why I am proud to be a Bruin!

Did you know that UCLA was just rated one of the top green campuses in the nation?

If you’re looking for a way to make a difference on campus and in the world, there are a million ways to contribute here on campus. You’re only limited by your imagination.

How many college students can say that they can both enjoy the warm sunlight and use that sunlight to charge their computer at the same time? No, really! We have tables with solar panel umbrellas and outlets! Walk inside, and our student union even has solar panels on the roof!

We also have farmers markets right on campus three times a quarter! Fresh, local, organic food in the middle of your walk to class.

Furthermore, UCLA will be zero waste by 2020. This is impressive, especially because UCLA is the size of a medium sized city. Can you imagine if an entire city became zero waste?

All of these attributes are part of the reason that I am so glad to be a Bruin, a result of the power of undergraduate students to make a difference on campus.

Something that many people don’t know is that student fees include a small amount sectioned off for green initiatives (The Green Initiative Fund). Six bucks a quarter, but this really adds up! And all this money is just waiting for undergraduate students to apply and use for improving the sustainability on campus.

I have been lucky to be involved with E3: Ecology, Economy, Equity – the largest sustainability group on campus. Our work is rooted in the three E’s of sustainability:

1.  Ecology

2.  Economy

3.  Equity

We have a group of awesome student leaders who are willing to sacrifice their GPAs and sleep, spending all of their energy on making UCLA a leader in sustainability and exciting other students about being eco-friendly.

One of our biggest recent accomplishments was putting on the first ever bike-powered concert at UCLA last year, Ecochella, featuring student bands, bike powered ice cream, smoothies and light show! Physically engaging students in generating their own energy is a great way to educate people on alternative energy and awareness of energy consumption in general. Plus, you kill two birds with one stone: physical activity + alternative energy!

Over the years our Earth Day Fair has become such a big event that we had to turn it into “Earth Month”! We feature a green cooking competition, as well as a recycled art competition, and over seventy on- and off-campus groups with tabling and activism relating to sustainability. Throughout the month, we also have speaking panels, farmers markets and more!

We also have a student run organic garden on campus.

As much as we have accomplished, there is still a long ways to go. We are still working on projects related to Fair Trade, energy-free events, gardening on campus, and much more.

I think UCLA has done a great job of becoming a leader in sustainability, and I am very excited and proud to brag to people from other universities about how much we have accomplished. This is my last quarter at UCLA and I am sad to be graduating, but I will be proud to leave UCLA knowing I helped with much of our progress, that I was able to make my mark on UCLA. I am thrilled that freshman will come to UCLA and take for granted farmers markets and Ecochella. These things are staples of the UCLA community as a result of undergraduate initiative.

Meeting the freshman at E3 meetings this quarter has brought me unlimited optimism to see the campus 4 years from now because of the amazing ideas they have to make UCLA more sustainable!

What will you choose to do with your years at UCLA?

~Emily Anderson
Chair of the UCLA Undergraduate Group E3: Ecology, Economy, Equity

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