UCSF Sustainability Stories


By Shipra Shukla on July 8, 2014


Annual Sustainability Awards Recognize Faculty & Staff

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A lunchtime audience of UCSF faculty, students, and staff honored the achievements of individuals and teams who are advancing sustainability at the Fourth Annual Sustainability Awards on June 26, 2014 in the Toland Hall Auditorium on the Parnassus campus. Nominations for the individual and team categories came in from academia, research, and operations across the campus and medical center. The winners were selected by a group of their peers, many of whom were previous winners, based on the following criteria:

  • Engaged UCSF community in dialogue about reaching environmental sustainability goals
  • Gone beyond duties of position to integrate environmental sustainability into existing campus programs in education, research, operations, and public service
  • Instilled a culture of sustainable practices among peers
  • Shown positive impact on sustainability goals


David Odato, MBA, co-chair of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability, associate vice chancellor, UCSF Human Resources, recognized the winners by giving out awards printed on 100% recycled paper and enclosed in custom artistically designed frames made from refurbished cardboard. Three individual winners were selected from two categories: faculty and staff.  There was also a team category with one winner. Odato presented the first award in the faculty category to, Dan Ciccarone, MD, MPH, a professor in Family and Community Medicine who was selected by fellow faculty members of the Academic Senate’s Committee on Sustainability.

“How one commutes to and from UCSF has an impact on the environment and fossil fuel emissions contribute to global warming,” said Ciccarone who leads by example. “Cultural change can be slow and requires dedicated people to act as models and advocates.” Nominated by Jenny Cohen, one of his medical students, Ciccarone has inspired others to choose biking as a way to get to and around the UCSF campus locations. “With Dr. Dan’s help, I was able to re-start the UCSF Velo Club with the intention of supporting and stimulating the cycling culture within UCSF and the greater community,” said Cohen.

Finding ways to re-use UCSF Medical Center resources is a challenge Deborah Don embraces. Don was selected as the winner in the staff category. She personally runs Mark’s List, a furniture repair/re-use program, and maintains an efficient storage area in the Ambulatory Care Center. “Deborah serves as the one woman product re-use center organizer,” said nominator Susan Bluestone, a recycling coordinator for UCSF. “She literally saves the Medical Center tens of thousands of dollars in avoided costs,” said Drew Bird who also nominated Don.

The third individual Odato called to the stage represented the campus staff. Since 2008 Kim Klausner has served as the voluntary chair of the Klamanovitz Library Sustainability Committee. “The library was able to reduce its electricity consumption by 32% and its water consumption by 25% in large part due to her efforts,” said her nominator Aria Yow. Klausner attributes the reductions to increased awareness of environmental issues via a series of posters placed in kiosks, information booths, and the employee lounge in the library.

Gail Lee

Sustainability Manager Gail Lee addresses the crowd.


A campus-wide team award was bestowed on the Mission Bay Conference Center. In collaboration with the Office of Sustainability the team has taken the LivingGreen Certification program and personalized it. Campus Life Services via the Mission Bay Conference Center is offering their own LivingGreen Meeting Certification to their customers. “Campus Life services and the Mission Bay Conference Center are really leveraging the highly influential position they’re in by asking groups having events at the Mission Bay Conference Center to become certified. That means asking them to do things reduce packaging provide snacks and drinks in bulk, using compostable plates, cups and napkins, among many other things. This is a great example of how cultural changes at UCSF are impacting the Bay Area community,” said Gail Lee, manager of UCSF’s Sustainability Program. To date the Mission Bay Conference Center has certified 64 UCSF meetings and 47 corporate meetings.

A few weeks ago, the Mission Bay Conference Center was also recognized as the Sustainable Event of the Year (under 1,000) by the Green Meeting Industry Council. The selection factors include green food procurement, waste, décor, air quality, and communications. “UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center is flipping the model. Instead of fostering a business culture where change is driven by client demand, the venue is influencing their clients to adopt sustainable practices and providing a framework for them to do so,” said Julie Lindsey, president of the Green Meeting Industry Council’s Northern California Chapter and a director for global events at Gap Inc. “For our recent Sustainable Meetings Conference they featured a 100% locally sourced menu, 90% of ingredients purchased in bulk, a donation program for leftovers, and a carbon footprint measurement program. Their leadership is example of how it CAN be easy to be green, and the reason they were awarded Event of the Year by the GMIC Northern California Chapter.”

Throughout UCSF groups of individuals in offices, lab, and patient care units are making efforts to reduce energy and water usage, as well as waste, in whatever way they can. Over 30 LivingGreen certifications were presented to offices, labs, and patient units. These efforts came as a result of increased campus-wide education and awareness. “More and more people are beginning to recognize the relationship between health and sustainability,” said Gail Lee. “Learning about how changes in personal behavior has an impact on public health is motivating people to change their own behavior.”