Diversity & Inclusion Event
Two members and I hosted the “Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace” event in Spring 2019, which included a panel of three guest speakers who discussed the importance of a diverse and inclusive workplace followed by an open Q&A session. For many in the audience, it was their first time hearing about the Pink Tax, LGBTQ+ barriers, and disability numbers. Many of the attendees spoke with the speakers afterwards and commented that they have never been to such interesting and fun events. There was 121 attendees. Speakers Included: Director of the Womxn’s Hub, Tamara Austin; the Director of the Disabilities Services Center, Karen Andrews; LGBTQ Resource Center Intern, Charlie Crain.
Zot Bites: Food Recovery
I noticed that the school department I was in had catered food events almost daily. I also noticed that there was a lot of food thrown out at the end of the event. Sometimes, the hosts would not even allow students to take the leftovers if they were not part of the guest list. So, I talked with the catering company and they told me that other schools they cater to have food recovery programs. In an effort to address and reduce food waste across campus from catered events, I began to partner with UCI’s Fresh Basic Needs Hub to launch Zot Bites, a text message notification system that alerts students when food is available after a catered event on campus. We planned to pilot the program at my department and once all the kinks were fixed, we would launch it to the whole campus. This program would both mitigate food insecurity and reduce waste. I unfortunately graduated before the program officially started, but my partner took the lead and is ensuring its success.
Zero Waste Initiative
Thanks to the tremendous help of UCI’s Recycling Program Manager, I conducted the first waste audit for Paul Merage School of Business, which included weighing the dumpster bins, sampling trash bags to sort, and noting the amount amount of recycling/landfill/composting bins on site. From the audit, we found that Merage only has a 26% diversion rate from landfills, whereas UCI’s goal of being zero waste requires a 95% diversion. Additionally, 30% of trash found in the landfill was recyclable. With the recycling dumpster bin overflowing, it was clear there was an insufficient amount of recycling cans throughout the area. To increase the accuracy of sorting trash, we updated the labels to clearly indicate what trash foes where. We also received a grant to install 43 recycling bins and 4 compost bins. Withing 3 weeks of installation, the diversion rate increased to 75%.