By Priya Macwan
Wham! There goes the quarter system, striking you with the reality that it is already the third week of ten, and we have once again assembled ourselves to discuss our goals, feasibility for those goals, and starting points. A common sentiment that was expressed was that we want to produce actual, tangible research and begin the learning process of how we can improve upon the current notion of the Ronald Reagan Medical Center being the “Best of the West” for the 23rd consecutive year. We already have a set starting point, but we want to set the bar even higher for what a hospital can do to lower its environmental footprint.
We currently have three major goals in mind. A goal that was suggested by our stakeholder, Teresa Hildebrand, is to create educational initiatives such as better signage for the hospital populace to maintain sustainable practices. The medical center anticipates having a two-bin system for managing waste, and we plan to work with the hospital to come up with aesthetically pleasing and functional receptacles. As students, we understand the power of knowledge; wasteful practices often occur out of sheer lack of knowledge about the issue or how much of an impact one activity makes.
Another educational initiative is the Earth Day Fair. This will take a fair amount of research and planning. We want to make sure that it is interactive and entertaining, while also being an enlightening event.
Another project we anticipate is researching food sustainability at the hospital. The connection between food and health is explicit. Many illnesses and diseases that are plaguing our society are diet-related. The UCLA Health website mentions a goal to achieve 20% sustainable food by 2020, which has already been achieved as of October 2013. This is huge, but we want to take it a step further. What is meant by “sustainable food”? How can we make it more sustainable? Can we, for instance, jump up to 40% sustainable food by 2020? We want to sink our teeth into sustainable food research and ensure that the public is informed about sustainable practices. May the action and research commence!