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Dorm Storming

By Sustainability Interns | December 16, 2014

Recyclemania is coming to the campus next quarter and we have a few exciting activities planned. I am most excited about year two of Dorm Storming. This event encourages on-campus residence to improve their recycling habits and see firsthand how much they can recycle. For instance, residence at Aberdeen-Iverness (A-I) can compete for spirit points, against other halls, based on who can recycle more.

Student residence also have the opportunity to gain additional points by volunteering for the Office of Sustainability to promote sustainable and eco-friendly behavior changes in their halls. Also, after speaking with the president of A-I, who participated in last year’s Dorm Storming, he expressed much excitement about starting the competition as early as possible to make sure the recycling efforts can make an impact.

Dorm Storming gets student residence more involved and pumped up for the next event, a nationwide Tournament, 2015 Recyclemania. Dorm Storming will help increase UCR’s recycling numbers for Recyclemania and put us in the running for becoming one of the more sustainable campuses in the U.S.

By Priya

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Aquaponics Dreaming in the Community R’ Garden

By Sustainability Interns | December 12, 2014

I have worked in the R’Garden for about 6 months now including my internship over this past summer, and since that time, I have gotten intimately attached and connected with the space. As I’ve gotten to know every nook and cranny in the garden, I’ve started to see great potential for growth and development. The R’garden has only been in the lot 30 space since 2011, so it has really only just begun its journey in sustainable development for and on the campus.

One space that has really caught my attention is the abandoned greenhouse in the back area of the garden, originally owned by Botany, the space in the back has been untouched for nearly 8 years. When I walked into it for the first time, I could hardly walk without being scratched by the overgrown dried weeds.

But as I walked through the space, I started to become really excited because I could immediately see so much potential for use of the area. But the most exciting aspect was the huge shell of the greenhouse. As fate would have it, we recently made friends of the garden who are both experienced and passionate in Aquaponics. So long story short, we are all excited and hopeful to succeed in building an aquaponics greenhouse by revitalizing what’s left of the old greenhouse. It’s going to be a steady journey with many complexities, but we are attempting to move forward with small steps, first to clear out and clean the space of dead trees and weeds.

We recently visited a functioning aquaponics greenhouse at the San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands. This visit allowed us to get a better idea of what we could do with our own. Serving Proud Industries was kind enough to give us a tour and answer our many questions.

 

At this point, it will be helpful to mention what Aquaponics is. I’m definitely just beginning to learn all these things myself. Aquaponics is the new trend of modern and sustainable urban agriculture, which is an efficient self sustaining system to produce not only plant food crops, but also fish. The system is similar to hydroponics, except the fish and the plants work together to mutually benefit each other. Once the system is established, the plants provide the fish a source of algae and the fish provide the plants with nitrates and nitrites which are converted from the fishes’ waste product. The museum is using tilapia as their fish source as you can see in the photo below.

We are really excited about the project and are even more thrilled to share knowledge about Aquaponics with you all. We believe that Aquaponics has the potential to be a solution to helping solve local food problems and reducing hunger in our community – essentially we want to be able to give people the knowledge, skills, and tools to provide their own sustainable food sources in a modern and convenient way. If you would like to help us in our mission, we need folks to help with finding and applying for grants. Funding is the most important aspect, if anyone would like to help with this process, you can email our team at ucrgarden@gmail.com or contact us through our Facebook page at UC Riverside Community Garden. If funding isn’t your forte, there are plenty of other projects and tasks in the garden as well! We welcome everyone to visit and participate with us in the garden, we exist to learn, teach, and grow together.

by Tracey Walters

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Strawberry Fields for UC Riverside

By Sustainability Interns | December 11, 2014

What? R’Garden organic produce to be sold to Dining Services
Why? This is a huge step toward a greener, more sustainable UCR

 

The coolest thing in the world is coming to UC Riverside. For the first time ever in UCR’s history, the R’Garden is partnering with Dining Services to bring local, organic produce to students on campus farmed by yours truly. We interns are hard at work in the garden every day to supply you with the best organic and ethically-sourced ingredients for your on-campus dining needs. Talk about, “by the people, for the people”. Can you get any more local?

In early October 2014, we pulled out all our squash and melons and began putting our winter crops in the ground. In fact, my first day on the job, we planted strawberries. I arrived at the garden at 10:00 am that day dressed in my best business attire expecting to fill out paper work of some sort. Loose dirt continued to slide up into my nude wedges with every step until I was all but tiptoeing around the garden. It wasn’t until Tracey, my team leader, ever so cavalierly glided over on her skateboard in shorts and sunglasses that I realized the button down and red lipstick might have been a poor decision. I had borrowed my mom’s heels for the occasion and was terrified of the look I would get upon her finding a pair of mud-caked shoes in her closet. When Tracey announced we would be planting strawberries, I rolled up my sleeves and my jeans, kicked off my shoes and dug my fingers in the earth.

And these are the same strawberries you might find in your spinach and feta salad at the Market in Glenmor or perhaps you’ll find them atop a warm tart, dazzling in all of their honey glaze goodness when you dine with Lothian. We have rounded up the chefs and polled them to find out what herbs and veggies they use most often in their dishes and have planted accordingly. Once our crops are ready, they’ll purchase from our harvest and brainstorm to create new and exciting dishes around our product!
Among other delightful veggies, we’ve got a stunning, winter-green kale and red cabbage of the deepest azure hues in the ground.

Can’t wait for you taste all this goodness happening in the R’Garden!

‘Til then,
Alannah Ivy

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Coming Soon Community Garden Plots Available for Rent

By Sustainability Interns | December 10, 2014

Hello readers, my name is Nick and I am currently a UCR R’Garden intern. This being my first post, I decided I would fill you in on all the exciting things going on in the community garden. We are currently planting crops (which should be ready by the spring), composting, attempting to develop a greenhouse with an aquaponics growing system, and currently constructing community garden plots that anyone can rent and use. I’m here to talk about the Community Garden Plots in particular; fellow garden interns will be sharing the detail about the other activities, so make sure you stay posted.

 

 

The community garden plots will take up the southern half of the R’Garden and will be comprised of 30-50 circular plots of sizes ranging from 4-14 feet in diameter. When you rent out one of our many plots, you will have the opportunity to grow whatever you like. Being in charge of your own individual plot would be an excellent way of gaining gardening experience. Don’t worry, help is available to guide you if you are new to gardening. Think of all the produce that you’ll be able to grow and take home with you!

Be sure to come visit the Community R’Garden to get involved with this exciting project I am working on.

(Details on rental pricing, coming soon).

Thanks,
Nick

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Meet our new GCAP Interns for 2014

By Sustainability Interns | December 9, 2014

Eileen Lek – Recycling Intern

I am a second year Environmental Science Major and an avid enthusiast of everything related to the environment. Currently, I am interested in the environmental health aspect of public health but I am also open to other possible career options. In addition to this internship, I am also the Treasurer for QAAPI and most likely, you can find me performing at the events hosted by the Asian Pacific Student Programs (APSP). As the GCAP Recycling Intern working under the Office of Sustainability, I have had the opportunity of collaborating with multiple campus departments to develop sustainability programs and more recently, to coordinate volunteers for our tree plantings. I have also been able to work alongside the other interns in planning for major campus-wide events, such as RecycleMania and Earth Week. Through these activities, my hope is to engage and empower students in creating the change that they want to see on this campus.

 

Memphis Huff – Events Leader

I am a senior Mechanical Engineering student with a minor in Computer Science. I am involved in Theta Tau Professional Engineering Fraternity, NSBE, and Katipunan. My goals aside from graduating are to become more involved within each of my respective organizations and help them become more recognized on campus. My first year working with the Office of Sustainability involved a lot of hands-on projects such as waste/water audits. This year I have the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and work within a team with varying skill sets.

 

Priya Gandhi – Waste Leader

I am a third year Political Science Major. I have been involved with Mock Trial on campus, as well as Lobby Corp and the Judicial Branch for ASUCR. I hope to become an environmental lawyer with a focus on public health issues. Last Quarter I was a GCAP Recycling Intern, now I am a Waste Leader. I am thrilled to be back and working for the Office of Sustainability. The difference Sustainability can make on student behavior changes is impressive. The projects I work on include collecting data from waste audits to greening events; my work is fun but also very helpful in making our campus more sustainable. My goal is to continue with different waste initiatives to make UCR a greener campus this year.

 

Alannah Ivy LeBlanc – R’Garden Intern

I am a third-year student studying Foreign Languages and Literature; my concentrations are in French, German, and Arabic. I have a deep passion for the welfare of people and Mama Earth. I love working as an intern in the R’Garden. Nothing has brought me more fulfillment than digging my fingers in the dirt behind Lot 30 and taking care of new life. I am particularly interested in developing social enterprises geared to suit a coalition of humanitarianism and environmentalism.

 

Tracey Walters – R’Garden Team Leader

I am a senior Psychology Major. I am truly grateful for all the experiences and skills working for the Office of Sustainability have gifted me. My various roles include co-president of Sustainable UCR, member of the GCAP committee (helped pass the referendum last year), R’Garden Team Leader, and Research Assistant in Dr. Tuppett Yates’ Adversity and Adaptation Lab in the Psychology Department. In my final year I hope to achieve amazing things, such as, help make a farmers market and food pantry a reality for the students on campus – I want to engage and empower students to know they have a right to these resources. In the garden, my biggest goal is to succeed in building an aquaponics greenhouse – to spread knowledge about modern organic agriculture systems.
I couldn’t have enjoyed my experience in the Office of Sustainability any more than I do now – mostly due to the hands on assignments in the garden. I enjoy working hard on my projects, whether it’s prepping the beds for the community plots or collecting cabbage loopers. I feel like a kid, playing gardener outside. But playing aside, I’ve learned critical concepts surrounding food systems and food security. I hope to do what I can to help work towards solutions.

 

Nick Mammone – R’Garden Team Member

I am a second year Biology Major. My experience working for the Office of Sustainability has been exciting. I enjoy contributing to the preservation of our environment and work in a place as unique as the R’Garden. The projects I work on vary from day to day and the satisfaction that comes along with benefiting UCR and the community truly makes being a GCAP intern quite rewarding.

 

 

Xavier Hernandez – LEED Intern

I am a second year Mechanical Engineering Major. I am a member of the Zeta Eta Chapter of Phi Sigma Pi National Honors Fraternity. My main goal is to be part of the most sustainable city in the world. Working as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Intern has been an enjoyable experience. My job is to assist with the LEED certification progress for Glen Mor 2. I am learning about the different components associated with designing and building a green building. The Office of Sustainability is very important to UCR and the work I am doing is worthwhile.

 

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2013- The Year For An Active Green Campus!

By Sustainability Interns | January 11, 2013

Hello everyone! My name is Kiana and I am currently the Communications Green Office Intern at the Office of Sustainability. For this quarter I am going to focus on promoting the Green Office Program and to get more students and faculty members interested in it. I am ready for this quarter and to see all the progress we are going to make by making our campus ACTIVE in cutting down our waste! Also, I am excited about Recycle Mania which is just around the corner, and eager to see how our university will do compared to other campuses!

-Kiana

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Hello UCR!

By Sustainability Interns | September 30, 2011

Hi UCR!

My name is Samantha and I am a new intern at Green Campus Action Program. This is my first post so I will make it short and sweet. Today I decided to do something unthinkable. I decided to drop the car and walk to work. As I embarked on my journey, I realized how wonderful walking to work really was. The world was alive with life and sounds. It is also good for my health to start the day off with invigorating exercise to awaken and refresh me. With the weather being so hot, walking helps improve the air quality for all to benefit. I will be walking everywhere I go now and I encourage all of you who aren’t already walking places to start walking with me!

-Samantha

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UCR Sustainability Efforts Receive Mentions!

By Sustainability Interns | May 6, 2011

These past few weeks have been very exciting for the Office of Sustainability at UCR. To kick things off, Earth Week was about 2 weeks ago and the sustainability program received some spotlight in U.S News and World Report. More specifically, UCR received praise for our bottle to pen exchange as well as for our demonstration of the sun oven. In addition, UCR made it to the Princeton Reviews list of “Green Colleges”.

Pretty exciting? We still have more! UCR also received two awards in the Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Best Practice Awards Competition. The UCR Urban Garden Seminar received an award in the “Campus-Community Partnership” category and the new medical building received an award in the “Overall Sustainable Design” category.

 

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Welcome!

By Sustainability Interns | May 2, 2011

Welcome to the sustainability interns blog!

Last year, the students of UCR passed the Green Campus Action Plan (GCAP) referendum. An aspect of this referendum is to offer internships to students in the Office of Sustainability. This blog will be a platform for the interns to write about what they are doing with their internships as well as give opinions on new issues regarding sustainability.

So who are the interns?

GCAP went into effect in 2011 and the first internships were offered during winter quarter.

Winter 2011 Interns

Joanna Vasquez

Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Campus Portfolio Development

Benjamin Liu

Green House Gas inventory

Kevin Jo

Sustainability Website Design and Facebook administrator

Spring 2011 Interns

Kevin Jo

Sustainability Website Design and Facebook administrator

Cynthia Lile

GHG Intern

Tait Rounsaville

GHG Intern

Larissa Siregar

Self Designed Sustainability Internship

 

If you would like to apply for an internship please visit our Get Involved page.

If you would like to contribute an article, please contact Kevin Jo at yjo002@ucr.edu
Thank you!

 

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More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Office of Sustainability
University Village
1223 University Avenue, Suite 200

Tel: (951) 827-1270
Fax: (951) 827-3890
E-mail: sustain@ucr.edu

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