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2018 Sustainability Award Recipients

On May 17, the UC San Diego Sustainability Program Office and Advisory Committee on Sustainability hosted the ninth annual UC San Diego Sustainability Awards Ceremony at The Loft in Price Center. The ceremony recognized eight recipients who are going above and beyond to make UC San Diego a more sustainable campus.

The committee received 72 nominations for the seven categories. Nominees must have met one or both of the following goals: Making sustainability part of UC San Diego’s ongoing education, research, planning operation and/or outreach programs, and sharing information about the university’s activities related to environmental stewardship and sustainability with the campus community and the public. Read more about each of the recipients,

Ben Baker

Outstanding Alumni Member | Ben Baker
Ben Baker is a regular volunteer at UC San Diego’s Roger's Community Garden. He is a San Diego local who graduated in 2014 with a degree in environmental engineering. He uses his knowledge of local plants and gardening, as well as his experiences at UC San Diego, to advise students in the garden, many of whom are engineering majors who always respect and cherish his advice. He is a crucial garden member and his outreach to students participating at Roger's is part of the reason many have joined the community garden. He is one of the most active garden members and plays an essential part in keeping the garden presentable, as well as sustainable. Ben’s hands-on experience with research projects is irreplaceable. It is safe to say that every project at Roger's Garden has benefited from his participation. He gives back continuously by maintaining the structures necessary to keep the garden running and sharing his knowledge with student volunteers so that they, in turn, can learn sustainable practices.

Clark Construction & HKS Architects logos

Outstanding Campus Vendor | Clark Construction and HKS Architects
The North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood designers, Clark Construction and HKS Architects, exceeded the scope of work to incorporate UC San Diego's Principles of Sustainability into this major project by integrating a 160 kW solar photovoltaic array, an anaerobic digester that will treat all food waste onsite, and stretching energy intensity targets to reduce overall energy demand. Together, these measures will result in the project attaining LEED Platinum certification for all six buildings – the UC San Diego first project to obtain LEED certification for multiple buildings simultaneously. Additionally, they helped develop a pilot LEED lab class to incorporate student engagement in the project as well as provide students a valuable experiential learning opportunity so they can receive LEED accreditation. Their support in this initiative is helping to establish this novel approach for student engagement in capital projects as a model for future “for credit” LEED classes.

Urban Studies & Planning logo

Outstanding Department | Urban Studies & Planning
UC San Diego’s Urban Studies & Planning (USP) department is a hidden jewel on campus. Core faculty bring a critical cultural, political, ecological and climate literacy (and humility) to their teaching, projects and interactions with students. In many ways, the program models (in its philosophy and day-to-day actions) precisely what is needed if we are to achieve a truly sustainable society: Recognition of the inextricable links between human and natural systems, and respect for the fundamental worth of people, place and planet. It is deeply engaged in fostering spatial, environmental and food justice as well as climate and community resilience. Through its practicum courses, integration of theory and action, support for community-based participatory research and collaborative ties with hundreds of organizations across the region, it models genuine civic engagement, champions multidirectional learning and works with students and community partners to create healthy, equitable inclusive spaces, on campus, and off.

Greg Daniels

Outstanding Faculty | Dr. Greg Daniels
For the past year or so, Dr. Greg Daniels has consistently chosen to commute by bike to/from his clinic at the VA Hospital. He is a Padres Pedal the Cause Champion and he encourages his colleagues and staff to hop on a bike to get from point A to point B. He and his family have successfully transitioned to a vegan diet — still going strong after a year (even his kids!). Their choice was a decision based on our subpar treatment of animals in farming and husbandry. Always willing to share his bowl of couscous and flax seed, he brings together his cutaneous oncology team to work together to adopt a more healthy lifestyle through decisions that can address environmental issues (K-cups, straws, recycling, transportation, etc.).

Allyson Long

Outstanding Staff Member | Allyson Long
Outside of her full-time job as a safety officer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), Allyson Long demonstrates a truly impressive commitment to sustainability principles and practices. She is a co-founding and extremely active member of the university-wide Green Labs team. She is helping that team do a lab waste audit inside and outside of four lab buildings on campus, including one at SIO. She has promoted various initiatives that exhibit “sustainability at work,” increasing SIO participation in the Green Labs and Green Office certification programs. Her efforts helped UC San Diego win the North American Freezer Challenge in 2017, with the Vernet Lab at SIO earning top score for cold storage best practices among the campus’s 131 participating labs. Active in the group SIO for Sustainability, she is pushing boundaries of what we thought was possible. She has set up composting at SIO, worked with students and administration to get funding to install four new water refill stations and transitioned from plastic to compostable paper straws at SIO. She uses her training and knowledge in zero waste to help with efforts across the entire campus. She is working with SIO facilities to do a number of water conservation and stormwater management projects. Allyson is also an active member of the Staff Sustainability Network (SSN) and received their Outstanding Staff Award in 2017. Allyson cares deeply about UC San Diego and sustainability. Colleagues describe her as positive, collaborative, entrepreneurial and an absolute pleasure to work with!

Nikko Bouck

Outstanding Student | Nikko Bouck
Nikko Bouck is described as a truly amazing computer engineering undergraduate. His passion is to promote sustainability and give back to the community, and he has done so by creating non-profits, leading undergraduate research teams and seeking funding, all with these goals in mind. He leads a team of undergraduates on a project to protect mangrove ecosystems through remote sensing and crowdsourcing, as part of Engineering for Exploration. As part of his project to monitor and understand mangrove ecosystems, he went to Baja California to collect high-resolution aerial drone imagery of coastal ecosystems. While in Baja, he learned about the cultural norm of dumping trash in coastal ecosystems to save money. He has started developing a scalable business model to address problems like this throughout the world. In addition, Nikko created Reef Jam, a mobile game app to teach children about our oceans and the impact of pollution. The Reef Jam Facebook page has reached 50,000 followers and he uses it to educate children about ocean pollution, SIO conservation efforts and technological breakthroughs in algae-based materials. As a semifinalist in the UC San Diego Triton Innovation Challenge, he developed a reef using algae to produce energy and restore the ocean. He also went to the Clinton Global Initiative at Northeastern University in Boston to promote his work with Reef Jam Foundation and Engineers for Exploration, Reef Jam was a finalist in the HeroX Big Ocean Button Challenge.

Roger's Community Garden logo

Outstanding Student Group | Roger’s Community Garden
Rogers Community Garden has constructed an anaerobic digester that takes 500 lbs. per week of Price Center pre-consumer food waste and turns it into renewable biogas energy. They partnered with environmental engineers from Engineers for a Sustainable World to help construct and operate this system. Anaerobic bacteria will breakdown campus food waste and convert it into biogas we can burn for energy. The leftover waste slurry can be used for fertilizing garden crops, which will later be harvested by and fed to UC San Diego students. The garden also has numerous other student projects related to aquaponics and hydroponics and partners with Ocean View Growing Grounds in downtown San Diego to help develop their garden to help educate and grow food for those in the urban San Diego community to combat food insecurity.