Fellow Spotlight: Hannah Campi

Fellowship Type: Carbon Neutrality Initiative for Student Engagement

Campus: UC Riverside

Degree Objective: Environmental Science B.S. at UC Riverside

Project Description: Hannah focuses on updating and improving UC Riverside’s Climate Action Plan. She will be including Carbon Neutrality goals and expanding on new goals of the campus in the Climate Action Plan and will highlight UC Riverside’s progress so far.

What impact does your fellowship work have on your campus, your community, the state, or the world? Hannah wants her amendments to the updated plan to provide a clearer sense of the campus’s path to sustainability. Their Climate Action Plan will be linked to the goals of the City of Riverside and help to connect on-campus climate efforts with the local community. Hannah believes the only way to make serious and lasting change is to do so at the local level, with the backing and appreciation of the community who will be most impacted by changes.

What is a recent success in your project? Hannah and her colleagues have finished outlining the new Climate Action Plan and completed the first few sections in preparation for upcoming design and planning charrettes and the Global Climate Leadership Council conference.

Why are you interested in the Climate Neutrality Initiative? Hannah believes everyone needs to take serious steps towards reducing our impact on the climate. The Carbon Neutrality Initiative is a way to prove that the UC is serious about making change and that this change is possible. An institution as large as the UC system has the potential to make significant change and be a leader in moving toward world-wide carbon neutrality.

What do you hope to do in the future using the tools you developed during the fellowship? Throughout this project, Hannah has gained a better understanding of what goes into sustainability planning and management. She believes the skills learned and developed will help her in any career.

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Fellow Spotlight: Jordi Vasquez

Fellowship Type: Carbon Neutrality Initiative for Student Engagement

Campus: UC Santa Cruz

Degree Objective: Earth Sciences B.S. at UC Santa Cruz

Project Description: Jordi is an engagement fellow supporting the UC Santa Cruz Sustainability Office in Carbon Neutrality projects, focusing on a long-range development plan and the implementation of a Climate & Energy Strategy report.

What impact does your fellowship work have on your campus, your community, the state, or the world? Jordi aims to engage the campus and community in carbon neutrality and how it will effect UC Santa Cruz. He also educates students on carbon neutral practices that he hopes will be useful throughout their careers.

What is a recent success in your project? Jordi just finished calculating the metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted from UC Santa Cruz air travel, commuting, and waste data. This data will help UC Santa Cruz better understand where emission reductions can be made and helps UC Santa Cruz seek higher rankings for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) awards.

Why are you interested in the Climate Neutrality Initiative? Jordi thinks that mitigation of climate change is more proactive than adaptation and still provides the opportunity of slowing effects we could experience from climate change down road as soon as 30 years from now.

What do you hope to do in the future using the tools you developed during the fellowship? In the future, Jordi hopes to have a career in the field of mitigating and adapting to the global effects of climate change.

Fellow Spotlight: Emanuel (Manny) Preciado

Fellowship Type: Global Food Initiative for Research

Campus: UC Irvine

Degree Objective: Urban Planning M.S. at UC Irvine

Project Description: Manny’s fellowship involves urban garden projects in and around campus at UC Irvine. These projects are hands-on, experiential learning internships engaging a range of skills essential to urban agriculture, for both gardens and community organizations.

What impact does your fellowship work have on your campus, your community, the state, or the world? Manny’s project is meant to create a sustainable network amongst the existing campus gardens with a long term goal of providing healthy, nutritious food harvested on campus for the student pantry.

What is a recent success in your project? Manny and colleagues have recently have begun to connect with community organizers who want to start a micro farm in a low-income predominantly Latino neighborhood not far from campus. He hopes to leverage university resources to assist them with this undertaking.

Why are you interested in the Global Food Initiative? I want to utilize urban farming as a means to help revitalize communities, provide communities healthy food at a low cost, assist communities to reconnect with nature, and create spaces that communities can be proud of and participate in.

What do you hope to do in the future using the tools you developed during the fellowship? Manny’s career goals are to work in Environmental Planning and Policy where he can play a role in reshaping our food systems on a local, regional, and national scale.

Fellow Spotlight: Rebecca Neal

Fellowship Type: Carbon Neutrality Initiative for Student Engagement

Campus: UC Irvine

Degree Objective: Masters of Public Health at UC Irvine

Project Description:  Rebecca aims to streamline sustainability related platforms that advertise relevant events and opportunities to students, faculty and staff, and the larger UC Irvine community.

What impact does your fellowship work have on your campus, your community, the state, or the world? Rebecca’s project provides place for people to go when they are seeking events, thus maximizing the potential reach to our intended audience.

What is a recent success in your project? Rebecca just released a new sustainability calendar that has been greatly needed and asked for in the past years.

Why are you interested in the Carbon Neutrality Initiative? Rebecca knows that we are vastly depleting the resources this world has to offer and she loves expanding and publicizing sustainable choices.

What do you hope to do in the future using the tools you developed during the fellowship? Rebecca hopes to use her web design tools and skills that she built on during the fellowship to promote future public health related efforts in the future.

Fellow Spotlight: Benjamin Sommerkorn

Fellowship Type: Carbon Neutrality Initiative for Research

Campus: UC Riverside

Degree Objective: Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. with a Designated Emphasis in Public Policy at UC Riverside

Project Description: Ben’s project aims to collect data on water and electricity use on campus for the purpose of gaining a more detailed picture of the relationship between water and energy here at UC Riverside. From this model, Ben will develop a methodology for data collection for other campuses.

What impact does your fellowship work have on your campus, your community, the state, or the world? There is a famous quote, attributed to many, that states “You can not manage what you do not measure”. In the Water Action Plan for UCR, no actual data from the campus was used to determine our carbon footprint due to water usage. It is Ben’s intention to fill this gap and to provide the UC with one more tool to help manage our water and the electricity usage associated with it.

What is a recent success in your project? All of this data is spread across multiple agencies operating independent of one another within the campus. A university is a large place and typically built in small increments across many decades; it is no surprise the data for water and electricity is scattered. Ben’s biggest success to date has been working with agencies and bringing much of the data available together in one place, possibly for the first time.

Why are you interested in the Carbon Neutrality Initiative? Carbon Neutrality at the UC is hugely important for a variety of reasons. If it can happen at UC, it can influence the state. If California changes, the Nation can follow, and eventually the Globe. In a broader context to care about carbon neutrality is a fight to ensure a livable planet for future generations. Ben wants to leave the world a better place than he was given and that means being an active participant in the fight for a more a sustainable lifestyle.

What do you hope to do in the future using the tools you developed during the fellowship? Ben’s career goals are in science policy surrounding sustainability, renewable energy, and water conservation. Ben hopes to develop leadership skills, improve his public engagement and speaking abilities, forge connections with other students leaders who share his passions, and learn how to navigate the intricate relationship between water and energy.

Fellow Spotlight: Tara Benesch

Fellowship Type: Global Food Initiative for Research

Campus: UC Berkeley/UCSF Graduate Student

 

Degree Objective: Joint Program in Medicine and Public Health

Project Description: Tara is building a partnership between UC Berkeley and universities in Mexico City to share food systems research. She also assists the Berkeley Food Institute in translating research into policy around food issues. Tara also aims to partner with the Carbon Neutrality Initiative fellows at UCSF to put on a sustainability conference on climate change for healthcare providers.

What impact does your fellowship work have on your campus, your community, the state, or the world? Fostering collaboration between UC Berkeley and schools in Mexico will improve our understanding of how different countries address issues that are common to the nations such as diabetes, obesity, sugary beverages. The Climate conference at UCSF will raise awareness of climate change as a health issue and mobilize physicians to take action. Translating research into policy briefs helps lawmakers make informed decisions regarding sustainability and food.

What is a recent success in your project? We recently set a date and confirmed speakers for the climate change conference and connected with an advocacy group in Mexico who will support our work building a partnership to study food policy across countries.

Why are you interested in the Global Food Initiative? Tara believes that food systems play a huge role in climate change and climate change affects the health of all of us.

What do you hope to do in the future using the tools you developed during the fellowship? Tara will become a doctor who understands how food systems affect health and advocates for policies that benefit the environment and human health.

Fellow Spotlight: Andrew Zumkehr

Fellowship Type: Climate Neutrality Fellow for Research

Campus: UC Merced

Degree Objective: Environmental Systems M.S. at UC Merced

Project Description: Andrew plans to estimate the potential for local food systems in the US and the potential for waste water application to croplands in California

What impact does your fellowship work have on your campus, your community, the state, or the world?  Andrew aims to inform the scientific and general communities on the maximum potential of local food systems in the US. He will also aid in the identification of population centers that have the cropland resources to consider local food systems and encourage water reuse for croplands that could mitigate the need for pumping groundwater that can lead to salt water intrusion, reduced aquifer capacity, subsidence, infrastructure damage and increased energy intensity.

What is a recent success in your project? Andrew recently had his work published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. His article is titled “The potential for local croplands to meet US food demand”.

Why are you interested in the Carbon Neutrality Initiative? Andrew is interested in the Global Food Initiative because it is a very supportive institution with goals related to his research interests (energy, sustainability, local food, and climate change).

What do you hope to do in the future using the tools you developed during the fellowship?  Andrew anticipates completing his estimation of the potential waste water resource that may be available for croplands in California.