With the worldwide celebration of Earth Day taking place this week in more than 190 countries, a number of organizations have taken note of UCLA’s commitment to sustainability and environmental excellence.

UCLA, for example, has been listed in the newly released Princeton Review's Guide to 332 Green Colleges. The university, along with three other UC campuses, earned a score of 99 points – the highest possible – to land a spot on the Green Rating Honor Roll.

The Princeton Review’s guide praised UCLA for banning Styrofoam in campus dining facilities and promoting energy efficiency, alternative transportation and sustainability research. In addition, the campus has installed more than 600,000 energy-efficient light bulbs, and 40 percent of campus vehicles now run on alternative fuel. Also of note in the guide: A Green Initiative Fund supports student sustainability projects, and the campus is also home to the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IoES).

The guide also lauded UCLA for its Grand Challenges initiative, an ongoing commitment to leverage the university's resources to tackle some of society's most pressing issues. The effort is currently focused on helping the Los Angeles region rely exclusively on renewable energy and local water by 2050 while protecting biodiversity and enhancing quality of life.

Leader in sustainable dining

UCLA’s newest dining hall, Bruin Plate, has been recognized for sustainable food service in the 10th annual Higher Education Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Best Practice Awards competition. Winners were selected by committees comprising impartial judges with expertise in relevant fields. In each category, one winner each from the UC and CSU systems was chosen. The award will be given at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference in June.

Bruin Plate, which opened in fall 2013, has been able to make 28 percent of the food served there sustainable within its first few months of operation by developing relationships with local farmers and ranchers and offering such items as locally grown vegetables, seafood that meets Monterey Bay Aquarium sustainability criteria, grass-fed beef, free-range chickens, cage-free eggs and fair trade teas.

The facility boasts more than 150 skylights, windows and glass doors that promote the use of natural light. Other eco-friendly and sustainable features include programmable, energy-efficient lighting, flooring that is made from long-lasting epoxy terrazzo comprised of recycled materials, locally made tables and the use of California native plants, including a variety of succulents that require little water to maintain. In addition, tableware at Bruin Plate is fashioned from a composite of melamine and bamboo while napkin holders are made of bamboo, a rapidly renewable material.

Environmentalists of the Year

While UCLA’s work in sustainability has been lauded, the UCLA Sustainability Committee has been named Environmentalist of the Year by the nonprofit organization Faith2Green and Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz. Two award ceremonies were held before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors April 22 and before the Los Angeles City Council today at Los Angeles City Hall.

Reed Hutchinson/UCLA

The UCLA Sustainability Committee, which includes more than 70 dedicated UCLA staff, faculty and students serving on subcommittees and task forces, serves as Chancellor Gene Block’s advisory committee on sustainability. The committee's mission is to create a culture of sustainability at UCLA in which the entire campus community is aware of, engaged in and committed to advancing sustainability through education, research, operations and community service.

Among the awardees recognized for their outstanding dedication to environmental education, research, advocacy, operations and philanthropy:

  • Chancellor Gene Block
  • Jack Powazek, administrative vice chancellor
  • Nurit Katz, chief sustainability officer
  • Student representatives Laurel Hunt, Leanna Huynh and Logan Linnane
  • Ann Carlson, Shirley Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law, faculty director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the UCLA School of Law, and professor at the IoES
  • Yoram Cohen, director of the Water Technology Research Center and professor in the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science
  • Charles Corbett, professor of operations management and environmental management in the UCLA Anderson School of Management and co-director of the Leaders in Sustainability Graduate Certificate Program
  • Magali Delmas, professor of management at IoES and UCLA Anderson School of Management; director of the UCLA Center for Corporate Environmental Performance; and co-director of the Leaders in Sustainability Graduate Certificate Program
  • J.R. DeShazo, director of the Luskin Center for Innovation, and associate professor and vice chair of the Department of Public Policy in the Luskin School of Public Affairs
  • Rajit Gadh, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and director of the UCLA Smart Grid Energy Research Center
  • Madelyn Glickfeld, assistant director for outreach and strategic initiatives for IoES and chair of the Water Resources Group
  • Mark Gold, associate director of IoES and director of the Coastal Center. Gold is also former president of the environmental group Heal the Bay
  • Alex Hall, professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
  • Sean Hecht, executive director of the UCLA Environmental Law Center at UCLA School of Law
  • Eric Hoek, professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and member of the NanoMechanical and Nanofluidic Systems at the California NanoSystems Institute
  • Cara Horowitz, co-executive director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law
  • Glen MacDonald, UCLA distinguished professor, a UC presidential chair and IoES director. He is also a professor of geography and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology
  • Carl Maida, adjunct professor of public health at UCLA School of Dentistry and chair of the Academic Subcommittee of the Sustainability Committee
  • Cully Nordby, academic director of IoES and chair of the UCLA Sustainability Committee
  • Suzanne Paulson, professor in the Department of Atmospheric & Oceanic Studies and in IoES, and director of the Center for Clean Air
  • Stephanie Pincetl, professor-in-residence in IoES and director of the California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA
  • Thomas Smith, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and IoES and founding director of the Center for Tropical Research
  • Yang Yang, the Carol and Lawrence E. Tannas, Jr. Professor of Engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science.

In addition, the award recognized leading environmental donors to UCLA, whose generous support makes these programs possible, including:

  • Morton La Kretz, philanthropist, real estate developer and founder of Crossroads Management. La Kretz’s philanthropic work focuses on education, the environment and conservation. Among those works are UCLA’s La Kretz Hall, which is the first building at UCLA to receive accreditation under the LEED Green Building Rating System and houses IoES. His $1 million gift also benefits the Mildred E. Matthias Botanical Garden
  • The Oppenheim family, whose generous donations make possible the Oppenheim Lecture Series at UCLA, the flagship public program of IoES that brings world-class experts in the environment and sustainability to campus three times a year
  • Tony Pritzker, managing partner and co-founder of the Pritzker Group. Pritzker is a member of the IoES advisory board and served as its chair for seven years. Among Pritzker's philanthropic contributions to UCLA is a $15 million gift to support environmental and sustainability research at UCLA aimed at helping Los Angeles and cities around the globe confront 21st-century challenges. Pritzker co-chairs the volunteer steering committee planning UCLA's Centennial Campaign
  • Tina Quinn, chair of the IoES advisory board and co-founder of the nonprofit environmental organization Sustainable Conservation
  • The Resnick family, longtime donors to UCLA. They recently gave $4 million to establish the Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy through which the law school will collaborate with UCLA’s world-class medical, public health, public policy and sustainability programs to provide an interdisciplinary approach to developing effective, consumer-oriented food law and policy.