UCSF Sustainability Stories

Ana Toepel, Green Impact, April 2019

Sign Up for the Cool Campus Challenge and Win Prizes!

Cash prizes, a Google Home or solar chargers, and bragging rights for being the Coolest Campus. Are you ready to rise to the Cool Campus Challenge? Read on.

Gail Lee, UCSF’s Sustainability Director, is passionate about moving the needle on UCSF’s carbon footprint, but she can’t do it alone. From April 1-26, all UCSF staff, faculty, and students are encouraged to join the Cool Campus Challenge, a friendly competition between all UC campuses, UC Health systems, and the Office of the President (UCOP) that educates and motivates the UC community to take simple energy-saving, waste-reducing, and sustainably-focused actions to lower its carbon footprint. UCSF will compete with the ten UC campuses and the five Health systems for cash prizes; in addition, the UCSF Office of Sustainability is offering a range of prizes to reward the top performing UCSF individuals and teams. The grand prize for UCSF’s top participant is a Google Home (Google’s version of a smart speaker).

The Cool Campus Challenge offers both a solution to climate change and support for meeting UC’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2025. According to Jewel Persad, Campus Sustainability Manager, UCSB and Ryan Bell, Associate Director of Sustainability, UCOP, the 2019 Challenge is a new and improved version of 2015’s Challenge, with an online tool that was designed not only to provide a learning experience for the participants, but also to be user-friendly and interactive. Persad and Bell welcome and anticipate strong participation levels this time around—“We are excited about the potential this year’s challenge has for reducing the impact UC has on climate and for strengthening UC’s position as a climate leader.” 

How to Participate

#1: Sign Up: Gather others and create a team, or join a team that’s already been created. What a great way to build camaraderie with your colleagues, housemates, or fellow students! Team participation is encouraged, but you can also join as an individual. Click HERE to get started—be sure to use your UCSF email when you register. (Personal emails cannot be used.) Signing up is quick and easy. Each campus has its own page to help you find teams to join and links to campus-specific actions.

#2: Take Action: Beginning April 1 you will have access to a list of about 70 actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase education and mindfulness about climate disruption, including some actions that are specific to labs and hospitals. Each week, the Challenge will highlight suggested actions and send email announcements to keep you updated and engaged, and you’ll be able to share your efforts on social media.

Here are some sample actions:

  • Read the Sustainability Report or plan for your campus (UCSF Sustainability Annual Report FY 17-18). 
  • Minimize lab and medical waste by investigating and investing in alternatives to single-use items.
  • Sign up for your Campus Green Office, clinic/unit or Lab certification program (UCSF’s LivingGreen Certification).
  • Get transportation savvy: learn about alternative ways to get to, from, and around campus.
  • Purchase equipment or appliances that are Energy Star or EPEAT certified. (Read about how to purchase them at UCSF here.)

#3: Win a Prize: Actions earn you, and UCSF, points. The online tool has a scoreboard where you can watch your points grow—and see other campus’ points and actions, too. UCOP is awarding cash prizes, which range from $1,000 to $2,000 toward a celebration event, to three winners: the top point-earning campus, the campus with the highest participation, and the medical center with top points. UCSF is also giving out some great prizes of its own: six solar chargers for the highest performing individuals, gift cards for the highest performing teams, and the grand prize of one Google Home for the top individual. 

Learn More

  • The Office of Sustainability has been hosting tabling events at all UCSF locations; look for the table at the Mission Bay Hospital cafeteria on April 1 and 5 and around the campus. Sign up to participate and you will be entered into a raffle for a free tote bag awarded at each tabling event. Check the sustainability calendar for dates/locations. 
  • Check out the Cool Climate Challenge website.
  • If you have any questions, contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Story: Green Impact

Image: UCOP