“Whetting” Student Interest in Water Conservation

By Thomas Arndt

The rain started as Ellen and I drove up De Neve Drive searching for Parking Lot 14, where we were picking up some plants for the survey that evening. When we had planned the dates of our survey, none of us had thought to consider the possibility of being rained out. Governor Jerry Brown had just declared a statewide drought, and we were on the heels of the driest recorded year in California history. We needed rain, badly. But as Ellen fumbled to turn on the windshield wipers of our rental car, I was wishing it would stay dry for just a few more hours.

It didn’t. Undeterred, we decided to go ahead with the introduction of our drought-tolerant plant survey that Thursday evening outside of Bruin Plate. We were met with surprising support and enthusiasm from students despite the weather, and we managed to collect 175 surveys in just two hours! We returned the following evening, and by that point the skies had cleared and we were able to record many more responses via computer. The resounding success and widespread student interest we encountered while conducting our survey has made our team optimistic that our results will be useful in shaping the appearance of future landscaping on the Hill.

Water Team leaders Ellen Lomonico and Grace Olson working the survey table in front of Bruin Plate.

Water Team leaders Ellen Lomonico and Grace Olson working the survey table in front of Bruin Plate.

Please take a minute to complete our survey! It is quite short.

The Water Team would like to thank Tracy Dudman for helping us revise our survey and for printing our surveys and posters, Aliana Lungo-Shapiro for her help with our surveys and for coordinating with Joshua to get a table, Julio Pimentel for loaning us plants to use as visual aides, and Joshua Coward for getting us a time slot to table at very short notice and allowing us to store supplies in his office.