UCSF Sustainability Stories

Sophia Labeko, March, 2022

Grassroots Green Team at UCSF Industry Contracts Division

UCSF Industry Contracts Division’s (ICD) Green Team reminds us that individual choices, actions, efforts, and voices matter for the greater good. This young team, brought together by Patty Moore-Racine, contracts budget analyst, in 2016 has a bragworthy list of achievements. From earning a LivingGreen office certificate to serving as sustainability advocates and advisors for the entire division, the team advances their mission.

“The original goal of the green team was to educate and get the UCSF LivingGreen certification,” says Rachel Shuen, associate industry contracts officer and Green Team member. Successfully earning the Platinum LivingGreen certificate “changed the shape of the office” and instead of being the end goal, the milestone became the catalyst for more, better, and more advanced office sustainability practices.

Chain Reaction

One of the largest efforts, literally, was replacing their 25-year-old, energy-guzzling refrigerator, which was prone to “science experiments,” with an Energy Star model. The new appliance uses less energy and inspired staff to start bringing in homemade lunches, which reduces single-use plastic waste. Because the new refrigerator gets more attention than its predecessor, uneaten and expired food gets composted before it turns into a “science experiment.”

Encouraged by the successful refrigerator swap and powered with the knowledge that reducing energy use saves natural resources and lowers carbon emissions, the team continued to advance energy-saving efforts. With the help of a sustainability intern, they used data loggers to estimate energy savings achievable by powering down office computers and monitors. The findings were significant enough to result in the purchase and installation of surge protectors at all workstations.

Office Move and Remote Work

In 2019, ICD was busy preparing to move from their Laurel Heights campus office location to the Wayne and Gladys Valley Center for Vision, Mission Bay campus. Part of the process was to significantly reduce the accumulated clutter.

The Green Team, equipped with the desire to share the goods, instead of sending them to the landfill, began the repurposing process. At Laurel Heights, they promoted reuse by staging carts full of office supplies for anyone to pick up for free. This effort was well-received by other building occupants, as every single item was picked up. Another carload of goods was sent to S.C.R.A.P. Electronics, furniture, and small appliances were sent to surplus via UCSF Supply Chain Management.

Once in their new office, the Green Team will have to apply for a new LivingGreen office certificate. Here, at the Office of Sustainability, we’re confident they will breeze through the process. “It’s inspiring to see sustainability groups, like this one, forming out of their own dedication to sustainable living. More than that, we need this movement and momentum to succeed in reaching our Carbon Neutrality by 2025 goals,” says Gail Lee, director of Office of Sustainability.