UCSF Sustainability Stories

Watch Earth Day Town Hall

On April 28, 2021, we held the first-ever UCSF Earth Day Town Hall with Chancellor Sam Hawgood. Our speakers and panelists discussed sustainability progress across the university and the sustainability silver lining of COVID-19. If you missed this inaugural event, you can watch the recording below.


Q: I was disappointed that PCMB was really environmentally toxic when we moved in there. Fortunately, I was able to find another position outside of the PCMB, but I was really disappointed that non-toxic materials were not utilized for all aspects of the building, especially since it’s specifically for cancer patients.
A: The “off-gassing” of volatile organic compounds(VOCs) in building materials is a real challenge. That is why we seek to limit VOC content in materials like flooring, furnishings, and paint. Unfortunately, at the time we had to complete the product specifications, there were very few chemical-free products that were able to meet all our needs.  Instead, we provided a defined timeframe with adequate ventilation to allow building materials to off-gas before occupancy.  Now that more manufacturers are aware of these demands for chemical-free building products and furnishings, more products are available and the current furniture contract requires the elimination of “Red List” chemicals. That’s why we encourage using the current One Workplace furniture contract for all such purchases.  Thanks for the question!

Q: Why did UCSF end their program with Lyft bikes for getting employees a discount? It’s important to encourage biking as a form of transportation
A: Discounts were temporarily provided by some bike vendors during the onset of the pandemic for essential staff but all have expired. 

Q: Are there any plans to offer shuttle service between the two BCH campuses (SF and Oakland)?
A: Not at this time, but we’ll share your question with the CLS Transportation team who manage the UCSF shuttle network. There are “BART to campus” shuttles operating on both ends that connect 16th Street BART to the Mission Bay Medical Center and MacArthur BART to BCH Oakland.

Q: Regarding Annemarie’s presentation, I like the research that was presented from a report that was mentioned around harmful chemicals related to fossil fuels. Is there a link available to view the report?
A: Yes, here are a couple of resources:

Please go to the EaRTH Center website for more information or contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for additional resources!

Q: Can you send a link about signing up or finding out more about the 5/20 climate symposium?
A: https://pophealth.ucsf.edu/events/climate-racial-justice

Q: Please share the list of sources for the faculty travel presentation.
A: Below you’ll find the complete list of resources by Colin and Stephen.

  • Eckelman, Matthew J., and Jodi Sherman. “Environmental Impacts of the U.S. Health Care System and Effects on Public Health.” Edited by Shama Ahmad. PLOS ONE11, no. 6 (June 9, 2016): e0157014.
  • Data provided by the UCSF’s Sustainability Annual Report, Fiscal Year 2019-2020.
  • Glover, Andrew, Yolande Strengers, and Tania Lewis. “The Unsustainability of Academic Aeromobilityin Australian Universities.” Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy13, no. 1 (January 2017): 1–12.
  • Waruru, Maina. “African and Asian Researchers Are Hampered by Visa Problems.” Nature, September 19, 2018, d41586-018-06750–51
  • WynesS, Donner SD, TannasonS, Nabors N. Academic air travel has a limited influence on professional success. Journal of Cleaner Production. 2019;226:959-967.
  • Rissman, Lilia, and Cassandra Jacobs. “Responding to the Climate Crisis: The Importance of Virtual Conferencing Post-Pandemic.” Collabra: Psychology6, no. 1 (November 23, 2020): 17966