By Christopher Hunter, Mark Biedlingmaier, Chloe Valerie Ney, Chiara Phillips, Elias Platte Bermeo, and Sarah Paset

As our quarter comes to a close, the Grad Housing team has been making sure to cross the T’s and dot the I’s. We have come a long way from the beginning of the program and find tremendous pride in the work we have been able to accomplish. With that being said, our focus has been set on our third and final waste audit. This will wrap up the process of data collection which will play an important role in assessing the success of our program and developing a plan to expand compost and other waste-reduction policies to other university apartment complexes. Before our team signs off on our final blogpost, we would love to individually share our sentiments regarding our experiences with the Sustainability Action Research Program!

Chiara“My first experience with Sustainability Action Research has been a very positive one. I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone in many different ways and feel that I’ve both grown as a team member, friend, and leader. We’ve gone through numerous roadblocks and challenges together, but the work we’re doing is both important and incredibly rewarding. This is just the start of a lifetime of positive change for each one of us and I can’t wait to see what else we all do in the future!”

Sarah: “Sustainability Action Research has taken over my life in the best way possible. The freedom to develop our project from the very beginning allowed us to truly value each member’s ideas, interests, and insights. Our team has helped each other overcome many challenges, celebrated our successes together, and bonded through it all. I’m extremely proud of the impact we’ve had in reducing waste, excited to see our work expand, and grateful for the amazing individuals I’ve gotten to know along the way.”

Elias: “I can’t imagine my sophomore year without Sustainability Action Research. No other organization has allowed me to meet this many amazing people, develop my own real-world project, and network with so many influential leaders in sustainability at UCLA. Through all the late night meetings at YRL, hours spent digging through mounds of garbage, and DIY taco nights at Chris’s apartment, Grad Housing consistently worked as a team and became incredibly close in the process. I’m sad that this year is coming to an end, but I’m already excited to work alongside such awesome people and all the SAR newcomers again next year!”

Chloe: “I have never felt more inspired or more supported by a group of who students who I have the privilege of calling my teammates, mentors, and friends. Sustainability Action Research has been an incredible and unforgettable experience. Being part of the SAR community has helped me to realize that students do have the resources and ability to create monumental change on campus, and in our lives as well if we choose to take on the responsibility and tackle change on our own. I am really looking forward to being more involved with SAR in the future, taking on new challenges, to seeing where our future adventures and projects will take us along the way! Thanks @ all the SAR friends, you’re the best!”

Mark: “This week, the Sustainability Action Research teams delivered their final presentations to friends, family, and stakeholders, showcasing all the tremendous accomplishments made throughout the past year. It was during this moment that I realized how truly grateful I am to have been part of such a magnificent community who strives in creating a more harmonious future. This program has not only refined my academic and professional skills but has also reinforced my beliefs in the power of collaborative problem-solving. Many thanks to all and I wish you nothing but the best of luck in your future endeavors!”

Chris: “Just as Austin and Cully both echoed this afternoon, the growing hostility to our environment coming out of Washington recently has only made being part of SAR a greater honor than ever. I can think of no better use of my limited time at UCLA than developing real solutions and resisting in a tangible way, all while developing the tools to implement these solutions for years to come. The beautiful thing about SAR is that every person brings their own unique passion and experience, creating a network where everyone contributes to the program’s success and becomes a teacher in their own way. In my second year in SAR and first year as a team leader, I couldn’t have asked for a more passionate, intelligent, creative, and fun team to help me grow as an activist, scholar, and leader and to dig through endless piles of garbage with!”