By Paul Cleland
Friday, April 18 was an important, culminating day for our Water Action Research Team. At the Housing Administration office on the Hill we presented our survey findings and recommendations on “Student Preferences Concerning Drought-Tolerant Landscaping at UCLA” to the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Housing & Hospitality Services, Pete Angelis, and the Sustainability Director for the Hill, Aliana Lungo-Shapiro, as well as a few more notable sustainability figures.
Our presentation highlighted the strong support from the 266 students surveyed for drought-tolerant landscaping on both the Hill and on campus. Although a majority of the students surveyed had initially never heard of drought-tolerant landscaping and had not noticed its use on campus already, when informed of the benefits of drought-tolerant landscaping there was a strong sense of support for it. In general, through drought-tolerant landscaping, irrigation costs can be reduced by up to 80%, thereby increasing sustainability and lowering water-related expenditures for the Hill. It is the Water team’s hope that the Hill will be instrumental in bridging the gap between drought-tolerant landscaping and California’s water crisis, thus making the Hill even more sustainable and fulfilling students’ desires to reduce water use.
We received overwhelming support for the use of drought-tolerant landscaping on the Hill from the Housing Administrators at our presentation. We also brainstormed possible locations for drought-tolerant landscaping on the Hill—mostly grassy places that students do not walk on, such as on the side of the stairs by the Hilltop Shop and areas around De Neve. We look forward to following up with Pete Angelis and the Housing & Hospitality Services Team as they move forward. They specifically liked our recommendation of bringing in a landscaping specialist and believed it could be a quick turn around for plant replacement once higher up officials signed off on the suggested locations.
This week, the ART Water team will be tabling and surveying on student preferences of artificial turf for Earth Day events on Tuesday at Ronald Reagan Hospital and on Wednesday at the IM field on campus. The use of artificial turf wholly eliminates the use of water and irrigation systems, which lies within the spectrum of our ART Water team’s goals. We will also be continuing our work on our stormwater policy, which aims to increase water conservation and water recycling in on-campus buildings. With the success of our drought-tolerant landscaping presentation behind us, we are very eager to move forward with our existing projects in the coming weeks.