In a mock-infomercial presentation to campus leaders in late May, five UCLA staffers hailed their development of the university's first comprehensive guide to greening your office.
"It can be yours for just three low payments of zero dollars!" deadpanned David Lederman, a digital multimedia designer for Social Sciences Computing. "I'll even throw in a free recycling bin ... This incredible resource, available to the public for the first time today, is a virtual resource offering 24-hour access to state-of-the-art, scientifically tested information on sustainability, designed specifically for you — a UCLA staff and faculty."
The PDP team posed in lab coats as joking proof that the new sustainability handbook has been scientifically studied. Left to right: Jennifer Perkins, April de Stefano, Lauri Ashford, David Lederman and Mark Ramseyer.
"It's a one-stop shop," said Nurit Katz, UCLA's sustainability coordinator, who consulted with the PDP team.
While most of the details, such as ordering an office battery-recycling bin, taking advantage of UCLA's public transit subsidies and saving electricity by turning off computers at the end of the day, were largely available online already, they weren’t available together in one easy-to-find place.
"I'm excited about this, because people do need a single place to go," said Cully Nordby, chair of the Sustainability Committee and the academic director of the Institute of the Environment, who also lent her expertise to the team. "The PDP members also added 'fun facts' and other new content that will really help people understand their impact."
The online handbook's fun facts drive home how simple steps can make a difference. Among them: recycling a six-pack of cans saves enough energy to drive a car five miles, and recycling a glass bottle could power a 400-watt light bulb for four hours. The handbook also includes tips on how to go green in several office categories, including recommendations for making green purchases without added expense.
April de Stefano, the assistant director for the Center for the Study of Women and the Staff Assembly representative to the campus Sustainability Committee, pushed for a sustainability-oriented project when she was accepted to the Professional Development Program, a year-long leadership-training program that involves long-term team projects. Before joining PDP, de Stefano spent time leading the green-charge in her own office, and knew first-hand how hard it could be to find scattered environmental information.
"You might have had to check three different websites to figure out how to get a recycling bin, whereas now, with the handbook, we have all the information and links in one place," she said.
De Stefano was joined by Lederman and three other PDP team members: Mark Ramseyer, a senior administrative analyst with UCLA Extension’s Department of Business and Management; Jennifer Perkins, an administrator with the Office of Research Administration's division protecting animals used in research; and Lauri Ashford, a review coordinator in the chancellor's office.
The team surveyed more than 300 employees over the year.
"Over 98 percent of survey respondents indicated they would like to do more," said Ramseyer, adding that the hurdle cited by many UCLA faculty and staff was that they just don't know what resources are available.
"What do the UCLA staff and faculty have in common?" Lederman asked in his deliberately cheesy announcer voice during the team's presentation. "I'm sure the majority of you are thinking, 'good looks,' and judging from the group here — I'd have to agree with you," he said to the delighted laughs of his audience.
"But there's an issue that's a little more relevant to what we're talking about now, and that is that the UCLA staff and faculty both face the same challenging hurdles to going green that have hampered this campus for years," he continued, "Faced with contradictory information, what do you think good-looking, smart UCLA staff and faculty do? Nothing. … Well, thanks to the new UCLA staff and faculty Sustainability Handbook, those days of confusion, anxiety and paralysis are over."
Learn more about the handbook when the team gives another presentation on Tuesday, June 16 during a Staff Assembly Learn-at-Lunch, where RSVPs are required.