Sustainability at UCI
Sustainability is more than a ranking or achievement. It is commitment to taking care of our planet, and continuing to discover new ways to make the future brighter. UCI has made that commitment, and is doing a lot to make sure our campus is as green as possible.
Rankings and Fun Facts
So even though I just said that sustainability is about more than rankings, UCI has some pretty impressive numbers!
We have been in the top-ten Coolest Schools ranking by Sierra Magazine for the last ten years, and this is the fourth year that we’re number 1 in the U.S.!
For the seventh year, UCI is on the Princeton Review’s Green College Honor Roll. 689 colleges were scored, and only 26 made the ranking! That’s pretty cool!
Last year, UCI became the fourth college to earn a Platinum rating from the STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) program within AASHE (the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education).
UCI has 27 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings!
The Mesa Court Towers, some of our newest on-campus freshman housing units, won the Best Practices award in 2017 for Overall Sustainable Design.
One of UCI’s biggest environmental achievements has been phasing out all of our diesel buses in favor of all electric buses!
BikeUCI is also a prevalent force on campus. They hold events year-round, such as the reCycle Bike Fair, free Smart Cycling classes, and uciRidetoberfest. More information about events, resources, and security can be found here. We also have a service called ZotWheels, where students can rent and return bikes around campus.
UCI is a trendsetter among higher learning institutions for outstanding energy management. In 2008, we took on the Better Buildings Challenge to improve energy efficiency on campus by 20% by 2020. Then, in 2013, we managed to use 23% less energy than in 2008! Not only were we the first university to exceed the challenge, we did so seven years early! UCI’s commitment to energy efficiency has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), and the state of California.
UCI is also part of the UC-wide Carbon Neutrality Initiative, which means that by 2025, we will have a carbon neutral campus! We are the first major university system to attempt such a feat, but like I said, we’re trendsetters.
The UC system has also pioneered the Million LED Challenge, providing energy-efficient LED light bulbs at affordable prices in order to phase out inefficient bulbs.
Food Sustainability and Waste Management
UCI currently has an 83% diversion rate, which means that 83% of the waste from our campus is diverted to recycling and compost services as opposed to going straight to the landfill. That means we’re well on our way to becoming a Zero Waste Campus by 2020, another UC-wide goal.
We are also part of the University of California Global Food Initiative, using research from UC campuses to help communities get access to healthy, sustainably grown food.
UCI Green Labs Program aims to reduce energy consumption by labs on campus by providing those who utilize lab services with education about sustainable practices such as energy and water conservation, sustainable purchasing, and waste reduction.
During Winter 2019, UCI Housing Sustainability hosted weekly panels of sustainability experts to provide insight on various different topics such as recycling, climate change, and advocacy.
We also have the UC Irvine Garden Project, where students collaborate to create gardens on and near campus and foster sustainable food production in nearby communities.
If you want to meet people who are interested in various methods of practicing sustainability, check out any of these clubs on campus:
Anteaters for Animals - “Irvine Students Against Animal Cruelty”.
Global Partners for Sustainability - Increasing awareness of sustainable practices on campus and sparking conversations about sustainability
In The Green - A sustainable business club on campus.
Theta Psi - A co-ed sustainable fraternity.
Earth System Science Club - A student-run organization that works in collaboration with the Earth System Science department.