By Anne Youngdahl, Adam Gushansky, Ileana Callejas, Chu Young Woo, Shannon Cavanaugh, and Erick S. Ocampo-Ramos

The winner of the Second Annual Green Gala Award for Student Research Project of the Year goes to…..Us!! We are so overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for our nomination and recognition as Student Research Project of the Year. It’s truly an honor for us to represent SAR in an external campus sustainability event. We also want to share that our budget was approved by TGIF in full to cover the registration fee for Pauley Pavilion’s recertification as well as the review fee. We are looking forward to actually seeing the recertification process go through by either a future SAR team, UCLA Facilities, or Capital Programs. We were also delighted to hear findings from other SAR teams as well as present our own research. We will be working hard the next couple of weeks to collaborating on our final report and hopefully hanging out with each other one last time ❤️

Anne: It has been a wonderful whirlwind working with all of my amazing SAR peers over the past two quarters. I am so grateful to have been able to get to know and work with all of the involved students, faculty, and staff in the UCLA community, whose unflagging enthusiasm for sustainability is constantly energizing, encouraging, and educational. Furthermore, I appreciate the amazing opportunity that SAR provides for undergraduate students to become involved in initiating real, visible changes on campus. SAR has been a wonderful part of my last year at UCLA in that the work allowed me to simultaneously draw upon previous skill sets and develop new ones. I look forward not only to the next challenge on the horizon, but also to seeing all of the surely spectacular future work of my lovely team members and peers.

Adam: “After a wild two years, it’s sobering to think that my time with SAR is coming to an end. As a graduating fourth-year with a lot of good memories to look back on, I can confidently say that SAR has accounted for at least a few of them. First, I’m grateful to have worked on two spectacular projects. It’s always a privilege to be a part of something as an undergrad that will continue to make a positive difference long after you graduate. Second, I’m grateful for the people I’ve met along the way. In what can be regarded as a tough political climate, when listening to final presentations, I’m reminded that for every climate-change skeptic, there’s thousands more who not only understand the issue but more importantly are willing to dedicate their time and their career to doing something about it. The folks at SAR undoubtedly make me optimistic about the future of our planet, and that motivates me to do my part.”

Ileana: “I came into this project knowing nothing about LEED and being on this team with these five amazing people has been a great learning experience. Todd Lynch is also super awesome and helpful as well as all of the other people that helped us along the way. I am going to miss everyone on the team and want to congratulate Adam, Anne, and Erick for their upcoming graduations!”

Erick: “These past two quarters with SAR have been so much more than I expected. I’ve come to understand the extensiveness associated with LEED standards while experiencing the immense value teamwork can add to a project. I believe that with campus-wide support we can significantly reduce UCLA’s energy footprint. Our stakeholder’s dedication for the project inspires me to continue pushing for UCLA’s sustainability in its existing buildings. I’m fortunate to have been a part of SAR.”

Esther: “I’m proud to have contributed to the sustainable buildings project. I definitely learned a lot and was able to add more skills to my toolbox. It felt great to be a part of something that would bring positive change to the campus, and I can’t wait to see how it will progress next year. Moreover, I really enjoyed the SAR program in general. It’s been a pleasure to have been a part of SAR with such an inspiring and driven group of people. Knowing these people exist keeps me optimistic about our future!”

Shannon: “I am so grateful for these past two quarters with the SBPP team and the rest of the SAR Community. I have learned so much from everyone involved in our project and everyone who has supported us along the way. Being a part of SAR has introduced me to an amazing group of sustainability-minded peers, and I am excited to learn and grow with these environmentalists and scientists in my coming years at UCLA. I am so impressed by all of the accomplishments of every SAR team this year and this community inspires me to work towards a greener future. I will miss all of the graduating seniors but I am excited to see all of the incredible things I know they will do in the world!”