Inside USD

USD One Challenge Examines Sustainability

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Do you think sustainability is only an environmental issue?

The statement is partly right. It is an environmental issue, but there’s more to it than just a simple statement. It requires deep understanding and commitment.

Jonathan Zaidman, who represented a local non-profit organization, the 1:1 Movement (One to One Movement), delivered this idea during his presentation for Tuesday’s first USD One Challenge seminar, co-sponsored by USD’s Office of Sustainability and the USD Changemaker Hub.

“[1:1 Movement] believe in an approach in which we are empowering community members to realize the environmental, economic and health benefits of making sustainable-minded decisions, instead of criticizing them for currently unsustainable behaviors,” the organization’s website stated.

Zaidman broke the audience into small groups to encourage discussion about five specific sustainability issues — energy, food, water, waste and transportation — asking them to talk about challenges seen and ways in which each person could make a pledge to be more sustainably aware and, equally important, active.

Zaidman offered some research examples to enhance group discussions:

• Energy: San Diego County residents consume around 10 percent less electricity per capita when compared to the rest of the state of California average.

• Food:  Eat local! More than half of the nation’s fruits, nuts and vegetables come from California.

• Waste: More than half of waste disposed of at landfills could be composted, recycled or reused.

• Water: In 2012, San Diegans used 133 gallons of water a day.

• Transportation: Seventy-six percent of San Diegans drive alone to work every day.

Kevin Muno, a 2011 USD alumnus (BBA) and a former Torero baseball player, was at the event, too, representing the San Diego Sustainable Living Institute. He took part in the food issues group along with undergrads active with USD’s Be Blue, Go Green student organization and others who expressed interest in what practices USD Dining Services has regarding its food resources.

Recommendations ranged from eating more seasonal fruit — Zaidman mentioned the Community Supported Agriculture box option with locally grown fruit — bringing reusable grocery bags to stores or farmer’s markets, ideas about better recycling of water, pledging to bike or walk for short distance trips, carpooling to school and more effective use of USD’s tram services.

Tuesday’s program, which was a zero-waste event, also kicked off a spring push for entries into the USD One Challenge by students, staff and faculty at USD. The winning theme for the inaugural One Challenge, after an online vote took place last fall, was “The Environment, Wasteful Production and Consumption.”

The goal of the USD One Challenge is to present ideas that raise awareness, education of and solutions for the themed topic and make a difference. Have a $2,000 idea (the prize money for the winning entry)? The USD One Challenge wants to know about it.

All entrants (can be individual or group) must prepare a two-minute video that answers these questions: What is your idea to address this challenge? How does the idea contribute to addressing the challenge? How is the idea feasible? Is it actionable? What is the expected impact of the idea? How will it make a difference?

The deadline to register for the USD One Challenge and submit your video idea is April 8. The finalists will be revealed one week later and awards will be announced on April 22. Prior to the deadline, the Office of Sustainability and USD Changemaker Hub will conduct seminars, workshops and activities. Included among these events will be two video production seminars (March 5 and 12) to assist with your entry.

The University of San Diego, which has demonstrated an aggressive, meaningful and consistent approach to sustainability though efforts such as the on-campus E-Waste Recycling Center, solar energy panels on buildings throughout campus, water and electric reduction programs, electric chargers for cars and sustainability education through the Living-Learning Communities, classes and through Outdoor Adventures trips, wants to do more.

Are you up for the challenge?

— Ryan T. Blystone

  • Share/Bookmark