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  • Jade Griffin
  • Lily Chen

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  • Jade Griffin
  • Lily Chen

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UC San Diego student planting tree for earth month

UC San Diego’s Earth Month celebration will include activities including the Cool Campus Challenge, TED-style talks, tree planting and more. Photos by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

Are You Up to the Challenge?

Campus community invited to participate in UC-wide Cool Campus Challenge as part of Earth Month celebration

Sustainability is a part of UC San Diego’s DNA, dating back to campus founder Roger Revelle’s pioneering efforts related to climate change. In April, the campus acknowledges Earth Day, celebrated on April 22, with a monthlong slate of sustainability-focused activities, including a green labs fair, tree planting and the campus’s annual Sustainability Awards. This year’s UC San Diego Earth Month is themed “Are You Up to the Challenge?”

students looking at plants

Sustainability is a part of UC San Diego’s DNA, dating back to campus founder Roger Revelle’s pioneering efforts related to climate change.

The entire campus community is encouraged to participate in the UC-wide Cool Campus Challenge from April 1-26. Students, faculty and staff are invited to join the Cool Campus Challenge by pledging to take simple steps at work and at home to lower your energy and water use, and reduce waste. The Challenge is designed to be a fun, collegial competition aimed at engaging the entire University of California community in the effort to make UC carbon neutral by 2025. To register, visit

“UC San Diego is a global leader in sustainability from groundbreaking research focused on protecting our planet to the campus’s many LEED-certified buildings and world-renowned microgrid,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “This friendly competition provides a fun way to impact our campus’ carbon neutrality efforts and offers an opportunity to showcase sustainability progress already made by our students, faculty and staff.”

Those who join the Cool Campus Challenge will receive weekly emails with suggestions on how to lower carbon emissions in classrooms, labs, offices, dining halls and dorms, homes, and when traveling. Each action that participants take will earn points for UC San Diego. When the four-week challenge ends, the campus with the most points will earn the “Coolest UC Campus” title. The top UC campus, team and individual will win prizes as well as the top UC San Diego point earners. Campus members are also encouraged to tag #CoolCampusChallenge on social media to be featured online.

In addition to the Cool Campus Challenge, UC San Diego will host events and activities, which are free and open to the public, throughout the month. For complete information about Earth Month and updates on activities planned, visit A sampling of upcoming events includes:

  • Green Labs Fair, April 4, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., School of Medicine Ceremonial Lawn: This fair will highlight current sustainability-related research on campus, as well as inform students and researchers about available resources to help them make changes and updates to “green” their labs.
  • Earth Plaza Palooza, April 25, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Price Center Plaza: The annual Sustainability Fair, hosted by the Inter-Sustainability Council and UC San Diego Sustainability, will feature student organizations and off-campus vendors sharing information on their companies, campaigns and products. Enjoy free food samples and goodies, and an opportunity drawing to win multiple prize baskets.
  • Annual UC San Diego Tree Planting, April 26, time and location TBD: In recognition of Earth Day and Arbor Day, a national holiday where individuals and groups are encouraged to plant and care for trees. Tree plantings will be sponsored by West Coast Arborists, and will be kicked off with an educational program.
  • Combatting Climate Change Panel Discussion, April 27, 12:45 p.m., Atkinson Hall: This panel on combatting climate change will feature Luis Alfonso de Alba, special envoy for the 2019 Climate Summit as well as Mario Molina, UC San Diego’s distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry and Nobel Prize laureate.
  • TED-Style Talks on the Challenge of Sustainability, April 27, 2 p.m., Atkinson Hall: In celebration of the School of Global Policy and Strategy’s 30th Anniversary, key faculty from the school who study climate science from various disciplines will deliver TED-style talks on the various challenges of sustainability. Speakers include professors Kate Ricke, Joshua Graff Zivin, Craig MacIntosh and David Victor.
  • Green Talks, April 30, 3 to 7:00 p.m., Price Center East Ballroom: As part of the 4th Annual Green Talks, the campus will feature TED-style talks on a greener future. Talks will be followed by an interactive Q&A panel, networking session, light refreshments and sustainable raffle. Registration is required. Speakers will include:
    • Alex Nielsen, CEO of Ritual Energy
    • Dr. Serge Dedina, Mayor of Imperial Beach and Executive Director of Wildcoast
    • Josephine Talamantez, Historian and Co-Founder of Chicano Park
    • Barbara Bry, Council President Pro Tem of the City of San Diego
    • Dr. Stephen Mayfield, Co-Director of Food and Fuel for the 21st Century, Director of California Center for Algae Biotechnology and Professor at UC San Diego
    • Elly Brown, Director of the San Diego Food System Alliance
    • Peter Cronin, Lead Quality Analyst at Ale Smith Brewing Company
  • 10th Annual UC San Diego Sustainability Awards Ceremony, May 9, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Price Center East Ballroom: This special annual event will recognize this year’s sustainability award recipients, certified labs and offices. Doors open at 3 p.m.; reception with refreshments follows at 4:30 p.m.
UC San Diego students planting a tree

UC San Diego will host events and activities, which are free and open to the public, throughout the month

Over the years, UC San Diego has earned recognition from groups ranging from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Higher Education and Sustainability Consortium, to Princeton Review and the Sierra Club. To learn more about UC San Diego’s award-winning sustainability efforts, visit

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