For more than a decade, UCI has been celebrated as one of the nation’s most environmentally conscious campuses, including 12 consecutive years at the top of the Sierra Club’s “Cool Schools” ranking. Recently, UCI beat 900 other colleges and universities across 40 countries to earn the best score from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s sustainability rating system.
But as the saying goes, it’s not easy being green. From designing eco-friendly buildings that power high-tech research to teaching students how to compost in their apartments, sustainability at UCI requires a dedicated effort and all hands on deck.
“I don’t think we always knew how to harness our collective power,” says Anne Krieghoff, a UCI sustainability program manager. “You’ve got to involve everybody in the process – from the chancellor to the boots on the ground. You can be idealistic, but you really need everybody.”
While no one can pinpoint exactly when UCI’s environmental coolness started, most agree it was well underway by the time chemistry professor F. Sherwood Rowland and postdoctoral scholar Mario J. Molina won the 1995 Nobel Prize. Their groundbreaking research linked the growing hole in the Earth’s protective ozone layer to synthetic chemicals then common in aerosol products, leading to global policy changes.
Wendell Brase, associate chancellor for sustainability, has made energy efficiency a priority at UCI since the 1990s…