Hana Kim is a second-year biological sciences student emphasizing in Human Biology and minoring in Medical Humanities. She is currently the EarthReps Coordinator at the Sustainability Resource Center.


Virtual Learning and Activism with EarthReps

By: Hana Kim

Published: July 7th, 2020


The EarthReps program is a student training and community building internship for UC Irvine students that aims to train emerging young leaders, expand campus awareness of sustainability, and build community among students, staff, and faculty. Education, skills, and hands-on experiences help students gain leadership skills and understand the intersectionalities within sustainability, largely through related social justice, environmental, and economic realms. 


The year of 2020 has brought upon a global pandemic, environmental chaos, and a battle to end the systemic oppression of Black folx. In adjusting to this painful time, the Sustainability Resource Center and Student Housing Sustainability partnered with Community Resilience lead trainer, Aryeh Shell, to create a virtual course focusing on unpacking various topics related to COVID-19 and community resilience. Throughout Spring quarter, the class of about twenty students met each week to discuss topics on personal resilience, mutual aid, social equity, disaster collectivism, cultural activism, youth organizing and more within a COVID-19 lens. 


Below are a few visual pieces that encapsulate moments throughout the course:


[Week 2: Personal Resilience In Times of Crisis] – Word Cloud of terms from students’ community resilience poetry.


[Week 8: Art and Cultural Activism] – Students explored and shared examples of art for social change.

Artists from Left to Right: Ashley Lukashevsky, Camila Rosa, Jorge Garza, Daniel Barreto, Moshtari Hilal, COLORS, Unknown, Unapologetically Brown Series, Asja Boros, Mona Caron, Agra Gra, Pete Railand, Bo Thai, Shirin Neshat



[Week 9: Youth Organizing and Online Tools] – Six local activists spoke about their organizations, what they do within the sustainability movement, and how to get involved. 

Organizations from left to right: In the Green at UCI, Sunrise Movement, Friends of the Earth, Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center, ASUCI, CRECE: Community in Resistance


As we have concluded the virtual course, I want to highlight my personal top three takeaways as a student and teaching assistant of this virtual experience. 


1. Sustainability means building a completely new structure  for provision of  healthcare, environmental regulations, and equitable social policies/practices. As this period of disaster resolves, we cannot “go back to normal,” as “normal” is what triggered eventual disaster in the first place. This time, although painful, is an opportunity to create transformational changes to protect all.


2. There is strength in unity. One silver lining about the COVID pandemic is that this isolated moment of uncertainty is felt by all around the world. We share similar emotions, worries, and experiences that elicit the empathy our world needs in order to recover and thrive more than before. Feelings of burning out from outside stressors or political activism can be refueled through finding hope in people. 


3. Every individual and the experiences they carry are valued. We must actively apply our knowledge, skills, and passion into all facets of our lives and communities as an active ally to fight for a holistically sustainable world for ALL. 


If you would like to get involved within the Sustainability Resource Center, please email sustainability-center@uci.edu to be added to the Weekly Digest listserv and/or follow our social media accounts, @uci_earthreps and @ucisustainability, on Instagram. 


Together, we stand. Together, we rise. 


EarthReps Sustainability Leadership Course UNIAFF 1C Team:

Aryeh Shell, Lead Training Partner of UCI Community Resilience Projects, wonderfully created course presentations and led discussions to cultivate an intentional environment of learning. 

Rachel Harvey, PhD, Housing Sustainability Program Manager, strategically organized the online course and provided sources, information, and core materials for students.

Udara Abeysekera, UCI SRC Program Coordinator, provided support in preparing course sessions and adding materials to the Canvas course page. 

Hana Kim, EarthReps Student Coordinator/Teaching Assistant, assisted in communication between students, staff, and guest speakers while moderating and grading through Canvas.


List of Resources: 

Campus and Community Resources

Media Literacy Links

Resources for Telecommuting 

Involvement Resources from Youth Movement Panel