Leaders in Sustainability Certificate Program

UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability’s Leaders in Sustainability Program offers certificates in environmental fields, educates students on current issues

By Melissa Truong and Shoshee Jau
Originally published in
Daily Bruin

Correction: The original headline and the original version of this article contained multiple errors. The Leaders in Sustainability program is funded and directed by the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. A group from the Action Research Team program found ways to save water on campus by installing low-flow shower heads in the John Wooden Center last year.

The air hummed with chatter as about 75 graduate students filled a room in the Anderson School of Management Tuesday night to learn about an expanding sustainability program at UCLA.

The Institute of the Environment and Sustainability’s Leaders in Sustainability program, in its fifth year of operation, is vying to reach out to a growing pool of interested students about its environmental-emphasis certification program.

The program is meant to supplement existing graduate programs on campus through its certificates, said Eric Agar, a graduate student in urban and regional planning.

“[It allows] students who have an interest in the environment and in sustainability to be able to take classes and show something for it even if [they] aren’t an environmental science major,” Agar said.

Agar said the program enables students to gain exposure to a different type of discipline, besides their own field of study.

To receive certification, students must complete certain requirements for the program including a sustainability core class every winter in which students learn about the theory of sustainability and its applications to the real world.

Some of the core classes include “China’s Urban Sustainability” and “The Economics of Environmental Regulation.”

In addition to the required courses, students are also asked to participate in a project to increase sustainability trends on campus and in the community, Agar said.

Beyond learning about sustainability, the program also allows graduate students to network between disciplines, said Magali Delmas, UCLA professor of management and Leaders in Sustainability co-director.

Students in the 2010-2011 program came from a range of 30 different fields, said Kristin Yamada, the student coordinator for the program.

“When (students) graduate and they are dealing with sustainability issues, they can pick up the phone and already have a network of friends to call,” Delmas said.

Bryan Moy, a graduate student in public health, said he chose to get involved in the program this year to network with students outside his own discipline.

“Sustainability covers so many aspects like the economy, urban development and public health,” Moy said. “This allows us to meet people from other disciplines in order to create something and put it together in a project that’s hopefully helpful to the environment.”