By Xiaoya Qiu- Green Labs
For the past two weeks, Green Labs Team has achieved great progress in both the project planning and the team building. Four weeks have past since we first got together as a team working together to improve and implement sustainable practices in labs across the UCLA campus. Now, we are getting closer and closer to meet our goals with coordinated group efforts.
From the beginning, we all had exciting ideas about how to develop a project that improves sustainability in laboratories. Based on Claire’s meeting with the previous stakeholder for the 2008 ART Recycling Team, Dr. Nishimura, and our first two meetings with our stakeholder Klara Olofsdotter Otis, we came up with two possible directions for the project: Energy Conservation and Recycling. Claire and I each took one direction respectively to develop into further detailed project proposals to present to the groups. In order to transform these ideas into practical action plans and research steps, Klara suggested a whiteboard exercise, during which we wrote out all the possible research questions around the two directions on the whiteboard to discuss. Throughout the discussions, both the team and Klara had raised possible concerns and difficulties that we might encounter when pursuing the project. In this way, we were able to narrow down the scope of our action plan into practical metrics and actual measures. In the end, a concrete recycling project that improves insufficient recycling of the simple waste in various labs was developed and chosen to be pursued for this year’s ART project. We also loved the idea of conserving the utility usage in labs for energy-intensive machines, and we have great ideas about possible action research in the future, such as a cross-campus utility usage competition.
In terms of team building, we had our first bonding event on Monday at Claire’s apartment, potluck style. While enjoying the healthy and sustainable food team members have prepared, we also drafted the team contract that clearly defined the next steps for our project. Once the timeline was developed, the team was immediately planning on contacting various lab managers for possible waste audits in their labs. Each of us went home with an assignment to do literature reviews on the sustainable lab recycling to discuss when we meet for next time. I can’t wait to hear exciting new ideas about how to do a proper waste audit, what motivates people to recycle, what is an efficient way of promoting recycling and other great things that people have done for the same cause.