By Erika Kidera
The 2013 ART Water Action Team did a brilliant job surveying and collecting data concerning water issues and student input on “the Hill” – UCLA's on-campus living. In addition to bettering water sustainability in residential buildings, we, the 2014 Water Action Team, now hope to expand our focus to the entire UCLA campus. Our plan is to incorporate the environmental needs of our campus with the hopes and desires of our students, faculty, and visitors. How can our two priorities of people and water coexist? We want students and faculty, alike, to feel like they are involved and can make a difference in water sustainability on campus.
This week, our motivated team rallied together to formulate a survey that emphasizes the value of student voices in the process of drought-tolerant landscaping. We compiled various ideas from members of our team, illuminating the weaknesses in sustainable water education and water-saving infrastructure.
In searching for more sustainable water infrastructure for on-campus restrooms – e.g. low flow toilets - we discussed these issues with campus plumbing specialist, Tim More. Several maintenance and functionality issues then arose. Is low flow the best way to go? As we began to brainstorm alternatives, Tim suggested we focus on sink sustainability. We now look to explore comparisons between metered sinks and non-metered sinks, in addition to a new possibility of faucet aerators. We hope to gather an estimate of total costs soon.
On Friday, we had the wonderful opportunity of meeting with our stakeholder, Tracy Dudman, and Sustainability Manager at UCLA Housing and Hospitality, Aliana Lungo-Shapiro. We discussed the various ideas ranging from survey-making to creating a water portion in the On-Campus Green Guide for all on campus-residents to receive. Together we aspire to reach our goals for the upcoming year and with the supportive words and thoughts of our members, we are optimistic in making a splash in UCLA sustainability.