2016-17 Global Food and Climate Student Fellows

student gardeningThe Sustainability Initiative has announced the 2016-2017 Global Food and Climate Student Fellows sponsored by the UC Office of the President. The fellowships are on-campus internships to enable graduate and undergraduate students to contribute significantly to a select group of projects. The projects reflect some of the many ways UC Irvine is mobilizing to achieve the underlying goals of the UC President’s Global Food and Carbon Neutrality Initiatives.

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Global Food Initiative Fellows

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Christina Hughes, Global Food Ambassador

Description: UCI faculty, staff, and students from many disciplines participate in the UC President’s Global Food Initiative. Our campus plays active roles to promote food security on campus, zero waste in the dining halls, sustainable and healthy food choices, research in food justice and equity, and development of new food curriculum and experiential learning. During academic year 2016-17, various faculty, staff, and student-led groups will host several high profile events, conferences, and outreach and education campaigns to orient our campus toward the goals underlying the Global Food Initiative and showcase UCI’s leadership across the UC system. At the same time, counterparts at other UC campuses will be leading similar efforts that are designed to be engaged on our campus as well.
 
Student Project: The purpose of this fellowship project is to identify and leverage the synergy among these various food-related efforts at UCI so as to maximize cross-disciplinary learning, elevate our campus dialog, and broaden impact. Actions include communications, marketing, outreach, research, writing, event planning, community organizing, and network building. While serving a campus-wide role, this student will be based in the Food Access and Security team through the Center for Educational Partnerships.

Christina is currently a second year undergraduate English major at UCI. Growing up in Southern California made her aware of the local water crisis, but it wasn’t until coming to UCI that she first understood the sheer amount of sustainability movements. Sustainability projects around the freshman dorms, volunteer opportunities provided by several on-campus environmental organization, and the Sustainability Fair and Showcase are only some examples of what she was exposed to her first year. Now, she aims to unite her passions for outreach and communication with a universally shared love of food through the Food Ambassador position. Her ultimate goal in regards to this project is to help the movement continue to flourish amongst all the UC schools through education and participation in the growing environmental community.

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Emma Peterson, UCI Garden Project

Description: UC Irvine hosts several urban agriculture efforts on campus, including multiple community gardens, a permaculture project, and an aquaponics project. The Global Sustainability Resource Center (GSRC) enables community skills sharing and education regarding sustainable and drought-friendly approaches to urban agriculture at these sites. GSRC hosts community seed-to-plate workshops on these skills together with a visiting eco-chef, and is increasingly being called upon to generate new learning opportunities in urban garden settings in broader Orange County. In addition, together with a school-based center, GSRC hosts a for-credit student internship that enables participating students to use the campus as a living laboratory for sustainability through urban agriculture.

Student Project: To work with sustainability faculty, staff, and fellow students to develop and carry out the UCI Garden Project. This is a hands-on, experiential learning internship engaging the range of skills essential to urban agriculture, both inside the garden and as a community organizer.

Emma Peterson is a second year student at UCI. She is working towards graduating with a B.A. in Public Health Policy with a Civic and Community Engagement Minor. Her passion is for studying global poverty solutions and doing her best to put her acquired knowledge into action within the community and afar. Her excitement to work as a member of this fellowship stems from her belief that sustainable farming can not only bring a community together, but it can bring affordable food along with a healthier environmental impact to multitudes of people. She is especially interested in working with communities in Uganda through the Love A Community Organization to incorporate sustainable farming into the daily lifestyle and use the studying, teaching, and integration of sustainable farming as a way to revitalize an impoverished community. She looks forward to being a member of this fellowship and being constantly challenged to help find the best and most efficient ways to improve the communities around us.
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Emanuel Preciado, UCI Garden Project

Description: UC Irvine hosts several urban agriculture efforts on campus, including multiple community gardens, a permaculture project, and an aquaponics project. The Global Sustainability Resource Center (GSRC) enables community skills sharing and education regarding sustainable and drought-friendly approaches to urban agriculture at these sites. GSRC hosts community seed-to-plate workshops on these skills together with a visiting eco-chef, and is increasingly being called upon to generate new learning opportunities in urban garden settings in broader Orange County. In addition, together with a school-based center, GSRC hosts a for-credit student internship that enables participating students to use the campus as a living laboratory for sustainability through urban agriculture.

Student Project: To work with sustainability faculty, staff, and fellow students to develop and carry out the UCI Garden Project. This is a hands-on, experiential learning internship engaging the range of skills essential to urban agriculture, both inside the garden and as a community organizer.

Manny is a second-year Master’s student in urban and regional planning with a focus in environmental policy. As an urban planner, he wants to utilize urban farming as a means to help revitalize communities and their food systems by providing communities healthy food at a low cost, assisting communities to reconnect with nature, and creating spaces that communities can be proud of and participate in. He is especially interested in trans-border collaboration between San Diego County and Baja, Mexico. One of his goals as an urban planner is to implement urban gardening as a tool to help build sustainable communities, particularly in low-income areas.
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Gracie Wong, Food Waste Project

Description: UCI Hospitality & Dining in partnership with Student Housing is committed to sustainable practices in food waste. UCI supports the sustainability goals of the UC Office of the President in reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the sustainable foods available, and reducing water usage.  UCI Hospitality & Dining, in conjunction with dining partner Aramark Higher Education, was awarded the 2014 EPA Food Recovery Challenge Narrative Award for Source Reduction.

Student Project: This project fellow will create and implement educational programming and conduct engaged research on food waste at UCI. The fellow will be a team member of the sustainability program of Student Housing and/or Hospitality & Dining Services. The fellow will also engage students involved in the on-campus culinary house and new Green Earth Cooperative.

Gracie is a second-year undergraduate student majoring in Earth Systems Science and minoring in Public Health. She has been an engaged student in the sustainability effort on campus, and has traveled to Costa Rica to conduct research on sustainable farming. She believes in the interconnectedness of the natural environment and humans, and hopes to bridge the gap between a busy life and making conscious decisions. She enjoys cooking to maintain a connection between herself and her food, and practicing yoga to remain mindful. Her goal is to inspire others to pursue a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.

Carbon Neutrality Initiative Fellows

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Javier Garay, UCI Regional Resilience Project

Description: The UCI Regional Resilience Project is an exploratory, community organizing project focused on climate change impacts, vulnerabilities, action, and activism from the deserts of Riverside County to the coast of Orange County, California. While climate change is a global problem, its effects are—and will continue to be—felt locally. Increasingly, municipalities are looking regionally for support, knowledge sharing, and partnership to address local climate challenges. Regional knowledge hubs, like the University of California, Irvine, can play an important convening, coordination, and scientific role in this work. The UCI Regional Resilience Project seeks to better understand the matrix of existing activities and budding opportunities to enhance climate preparedness in Orange and Riverside Counties and their borderlands.

Student Project: To begin building a data-driven narrative synthesizing the various environmental, demographic, social, and other factors that contribute to the current opportunity for regional climate resilience collaboration in Orange and Riverside Counties and their borderlands. This project will include quantitative and qualitative data analysis and reporting, and may include analysis and/or synthesis of the climate mitigation and adaptation policies that are having an impact on the region.

Javier Garay was born and raised in Bell Gardens, California. Javier is currently a third year Environmental Science Major. He has worked with an environmental justice organization has assisted in identifying his passion for clean air, quality of life, and community. Outside of work and organizing, enjoys coffee, video games, joking around, and having fun experiences.
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Michael Leo, Climate Ambassador

Description and Student Project: Student selected to serve this project is expected to work with UCI’s Sustainability Initiative and Office of Environmental Planning and Sustainability to communicate about campus and UC-wide sustainability goals and programs, to assess existing programs and efforts, and to engage students in those efforts. The fellow should also enable and empower students to provide feedback about campus and UC-wide sustainability programs. In addition, the fellow is expected to help shape and participate in a UC system-wide discussion and communication process among fellows. This process will be facilitated and overseen by the student representatives to the UC President’s Global Climate Leadership Council, who will convene regular meetings with fellows from all campuses. The fellow will be responsible for maintaining and expanding our campus’ online sustainability communications mechanisms, including, for example, the events calendar, student opportunities database, and weekly e-digest for students.

Michael is studying cognition, development, and language literacy. He is passionate about climate and environmental sustainability. He envisions that with the engagement of the student body, UCI can offset more carbon than it emits. He looks forward to shaping innovative approaches to carbon neutrality.

Shirleen Achieng, UCI Community Resilience Project

Description: The Center for Black Cultures, Resources & Research; the Cross-Cultural Center; the Global Sustainability Resource Center; and the Student Housing Sustainability Program are collaborating to build community resilience at UCI. The Community Resilience Co-lab is an experimental co-curricular education response to the enduring and intersecting crises of environmental, racial, and social injustice. The Community Resilience Co-lab seeks to advance a coalition that mobilizes student capacity towards engagement, inspires exchange among a diverse cohort of activists and healers, lifts up cultural relationships to the earth, and educates at the intersections of environmental, racial, and social justice issues. Our invitation for collaboration extends broadly to student leaders, staff, faculty, and community members who are engaged in work for racial and social equity and/or sustainability.

Student Project: Based at the Center for Black Cultures, Resources & Research, Shirleen became a fellow in May 2017. Project activities include catalyzing a rich campus conversation, fostering alignment, and building campus momentum to address actively the root causes of environmental, social, and racial injustice. The Fellow will support co-lab participants in designing and carrying out a range of actions that build community resilience, including mobilizing student capacity to reclaim and create systems and cultures of collective action that lift up cultural relationships to the earth and land. This fellowship is a hands-on, experiential learning opportunity to develop and practice a range of skills essential to building community resilience in the context of furthering our campus’s climate and sustainability goals.

Shirleen is a first year public health science major at UCI. As a public health major, she feels the need to not only focus on the health of the general community, but values the importance of environmental health in relation to social justice. Her biggest inspiration to apply for the Community Resilience Fellowship were her early background experiences of environmental inequality and injustice growing up in Kenya. She believes natural resources are extremely vital for human survival. As a result, she wants to promote access to, control, and use of natural resources in various marginalized communities that have been limited, denied, or undermined. She especially looks forward to tackling the intersecting environmental, social justice, and racial crises that are occurring in contemporary society. Her future career goals involve working with overlooked communities in third world countries as a public physician while simultaneously advocating for various public health issues severely affecting Kenyans. Since this fellowship aligns with her career path, she hopes to utilize the skills and experiences she takes away from it into her future endeavors.

Bo Daraphant

Bo Daraphant, UCI Community Resilience Project

Description: The Center for Black Cultures, Resources & Research; the Cross-Cultural Center; the Global Sustainability Resource Center; and the Student Housing Sustainability Program are collaborating to build community resilience at UCI. The Community Resilience Co-lab is an experimental co-curricular education response to the enduring and intersecting crises of environmental, racial, and social injustice. The Community Resilience Co-lab seeks to advance a coalition that mobilizes student capacity towards engagement, inspires exchange among a diverse cohort of activists and healers, lifts up cultural relationships to the earth, and educates at the intersections of environmental, racial, and social justice issues. Our invitation for collaboration extends broadly to student leaders, staff, faculty, and community members who are engaged in work for racial and social equity and/or sustainability.

Student Project: Based at the Cross-Cultural Center, Bo became a fellow in April 2017. Project activities include catalyzing a rich campus conversation, fostering alignment, and building campus momentum to address actively the root causes of environmental, social, and racial injustice. The Fellow will support co-lab participants in designing and carrying out a range of actions that build community resilience, including mobilizing student capacity to reclaim and create systems and cultures of collective action that lift up cultural relationships to the earth and land. This fellowship is a hands-on, experiential learning opportunity to develop and practice a range of skills essential to building community resilience in the context of furthering our campus’s climate and sustainability goals.

Bo Daraphant is a third year student studying International Studies at UCI. In addition, he is an artist and an activist. He immigrated to the US at the age of 13 and has lived in his newfound home in LA since then. Outside of school, Bo has spent his college years advocating for immigrant rights, writing poetry, and creating artwork. Building on his experiences in advocacy from working with the White House Initiative on AAPI, National AAPI DACA Collaborative, and UPLIFT LA, Bo hopes to become a social entrepreneur creating sustainable programs that will help developing countries and underserved communities. Bo uses his art as his healing process by expressing his emotions, ideology, and story within his creations.