2017-18 Food and Climate Student Fellows

Woman smiles while holding a bunch of leaves.The UCI Global Sustainability Resource Center has announced the 2017-18 Global Food and Carbon Neutrality Student Fellowships sponsored by the UC President’s Global Food and Carbon Neutrality Initiatives. The fellowships are designed as 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 our campus mobilizes to achieve the underlying goals of the Global Food and Carbon Neutrality Initiatives.

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Global Food Initiative

Melissa Mulengwa, 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 2017-18, 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, Basic Needs website management and content development, 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. The Student Ambassadors serve as the GFI student engagement ‘go‐to’ person for the UC Irvine campus. Ambassador will participate in GFI leadership meetings to share their student voice, report on student engagement activities, and connect with working group leaders across the UC system.

Melissa Mulengwa is a third-year Public Health Policy major with a minor in Medical Anthropology. She is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, but currently resides in Monterey Bay. Her interests include the promotion and awareness of nutrition and food security among people from all parts of society, specifically regarding child and maternal health. She found her inspiration for nutrition from her beautiful, health-conscious mother, and her interest in food security from her wonderful experiences in various health and wellness organizations while attending UCI. Melissa loves to connect deeply with others, and to cultivate meaningful, resonant relationships that make her life wholesome. She hopes to one day have an impact with communities of color in the movement to bring awareness to overall health and wellness, nutrition, and food security to all mothers and children.

Manny Preciado, UCI Garden Project Fellow

Description: Through the UCI Garden Project, the Global Sustainability Resource Center (GSRC) has enabled skills sharing and education regarding sustainable and drought-friendly approaches to urban agriculture, both at the Arroyo Vista housing “Ants in Your Plants” garden and with a community partner in Santa Ana. In our next phase, we will explore further how the University can be a resource for community-based food justice projects in Orange County.

Student Project: The selected fellow will take lead on building a resource and knowledge network regarding food justice with GSRC community partners. 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 an incoming PhD student in Urban Planning and Policy who joins us for a third year as a Garden Project Fellow. As an urban planner, he wants to utilize urban gardening as a means to help revitalize communities and their food systems by providing healthy food at a low cost, assisting communities to reconnect with nature, and creating spaces of refuge and resistance. One of his goals as an urban planner is to implement urban gardening as a tool to empower low-income communities of color.

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Gracie Wong, Food Waste Fellow

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.

Gracie is a third-year undergraduate student double majoring in Earth Systems Science and Public Health Policy who joins us for a second year as Food Waste Fellow. She believes it is crucial to bring together education in the sciences with social work to make lasting systemic changes. While at UCI, she has been engaged in multiple programs in sustainability, such as the Costa Rica Program, Student Institute for Sustainability Leadership, Student Led Sustainability Congress, UCI Dining, and the Global Sustainability Resource Center. She believes in the interconnectedness of the natural environment and humans, and hopes to reach out to as many people as possible 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.

Emily Makini, Food Recovery Fellow

Description: The UC Global Food Initiative challenges staff, faculty, and students to consider what each of us can do to address food security locally and globally. As part of this effort, UC completed a  Student Food Access and Security Study.  The study found that 19% of UC students who responded to the survey had very low food security and 23% of student respondents had low food security across the UC system as a whole. There are also issues of food security among the greater community in our region. The UCI Food Access & Security team seeks a student to initiate and manage a set of food recovery programs for the UCI campus.

Student Project: The selected fellow will explore possibilities for launching a recovery program for shelf-stable items and perishable items, as well as prepared foods. The fellow will develop relationships with campus partners as well as off campus non-profit organizations and partners. The fellow will develop operational guides with the Environmental Health and Safety and Risk Management stakeholders on the campus; prepare a campus food recovery network proposal; secure commitments from key partners; and launch a variety of food recovery efforts. The fellow will also have the opportunity to launch a new program and oversee the implementation of the early stages of the program. The student must be a person who is coalition builder and willing to work through the collaborative decision making process of the University.  Any food recovery efforts designed will need to be based on a commitment to health, safety and risk management.

Emily is a first-year Master’s student in Urban and Regional Planning. She would like to bring her social justice lens to the planning process and learn how to better use urban planning as a tool for building more socially equitable cities.  Now her academic goals are to examine how built environment is an important part of the solution to today’s public health crisis, particularly as it relates to food justice. Emily is honored to be part of recreating the University food system and creating an effective awareness campaign that ensures no waste means no loss of opportunity to do good.

Carbon Neutrality Initiative

Temitope Aladetimi, Climate Ambassador and Community Resilience Fellow

Description: At UCI, we understand that transformations in physical infrastructure alone will not suffice to achieve the University of California’s climate and sustainability goals. How we build the human infrastructure to get us there is also key. “Community resilience” describes our efforts to create human infrastructure through which climate and sustainability solutions foster and reflect social cohesion and inclusion of diverse voices in our university community and beyond. Through Community Resilience Projects, we seek to understand, engage, and lift up the interests, contributions, and leadership of underrepresented communities on our campus and in communities in our region that are more vulnerable to the impacts of the changing climate–typically low-income communities, people of color, indigenous communities, immigrants, and elderly populations.

Student Project: The Climate Ambassador will work with the UCI Community Resilience Project to integrate and align UCI’s sustainability and climate activities with UCI’s wide ranging activities that forward understanding and progress on racial and social justice.  The fellow will also work more generally with UCI’s Office of Sustainability and Office of Environmental Planning and Sustainability to communicate about campus and UC system-wide sustainability goals and programs, to assess existing programs, and to empower students to engage in and shape those efforts. In addition, the fellow is expected to help shape and participate in a UC system-wide dialog and mobilization among fellows regarding climate action, a process facilitated and overseen by the student representatives to the UC President’s Global Climate Leadership Council, who convene regular meetings with fellows from all campuses.

Tope is a fourth year Criminology Law & Society major and International Studies minor at UC Irvine. She is an avid reader, self- proclaimed photographer and adventurer. Throughout her life she has had the opportunity to live in countries where certain resources are scarce to the majority of the people who inhabit the area. She is aware of the value of resources and how easily we take certain things for granted. She has had the opportunity to live in places like Nigeria, where the water system is not entirely clean and there is not electricity throughout the day. It is primarily because of this experience that she has a strong interest in sustainability, which for her simply means to empower people and value nature. Her vision for UC students is to realize the interconnectedness of nature and society as well as its relevance to human rights. She is excited to work alongside professors, faculty, and students in learning and facilitating dialogue about how to be an effective advocate in addressing environmental wrongs and racial injustice.

Shirleen Achieng, UCI Community Resilience Fellow

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 second 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 Fellow

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 fourth 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.

Chris Stoughton, Applied Climate Science Research Fellow

Description: As the science regarding climate change develops, researchers encounter new challenges and opportunities in tracking and mitigating carbon impacts–issues that inform the UC’s carbon neutrality goal. This fellow will assist Earth System Science faculty member Dr. Steven Davis with exploratory research.

Student Project: This fellow will work with Dr. Davis’ team to on topics such as:

  • Addressing uncertainty in carbon labeling: working to assess the carbon footprint of a scientific journal article using different standards and data, and demonstrate the need for tighter requirements in order for carbon labeling to be a meaningful and reliable market mechanism.
  • Researching whether and to what extent gains in manufacturing energy efficiency are being offset by decreasing ‘lifetime’ of consumed goods. This topic may involve looking at consumer expenditure surveys to estimate the changing lifetime of goods, and then comparing these findings with changes in industry sectors’ energy intensity over time.
  • Developing a systematic comparison of the vulnerabilities and benefits of individual nations under climate change, and then comparing these findings to the ambition of nations’ climate mitigation goals.

Chris Stoughton is a PhD candidate in the Political Science Department at UC Irvine.  His two fields of study in political science are International politics and comparative politics.  Chris’ research focuses on the politics and policies of climate change.  His research explains the variation of climate change mitigation policies and the emergence and proliferation of alternative global relations to address climate change.  Outside of academia, Chris has worked in various roles as an advocate, activist, and community leader to promote the transition to a zero carbon economy.

2017-11-10T12:33:24+00:00