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SEI Working Closely with Facilities

George Leddy, PhD, SEI Director and lecture series presenter.

In spite of the pandemic and closed campuses, the Sustainable Environment Institute has been working hard this year on a number of fronts.


Since February we have been meeting biweekly with the Vice Chancellor for Facilities, Dr. Rueben Smith, and Bharat Patel from BuildLACCD. We’re looking at how we can can work together to implement aspects of the district’s new Clean Energy and Sustainability Plan. The ambitious goals set by the Board of Trustees in July, 2020—to be 100% carbon free by 2040 (and 100% renewable electricity by 2030)—will require coordinated efforts at the campus level. Sustainability committees, with representatives from all stakeholders, need to be established to coordinate energy and water conservation, waste reduction, and more. We hope to start with a pilot college in the spring semester. In addition, we’re exploring how together we can enhance our students’ environmental education. Toward that end, we’ve now had two special meetings with Architecture and Engineering faculty, with another set for November. There are a number of particular ways in which they can work with Facilities, and we’ve discussed internships, mentorships, visits to work sites, and an Industry Day to help students looking for work. 


Another major innovation this year was the debut of a five-part lecture series on climate and environmental issues, with a special focus on how they relate to our city and state. George Leddy, Director of SEI and a PhD in the field, has presented three so far. He’s looked at California water issues, the climate emergency, and efforts to transform the “built environment.” On Oct. 21, Leddy will address biodiversity loss and on Nov. 18 fires in California. Attendance has been strong, and his talks have led to some excellent discussions. (Recordings are available at The series is sponsored by the DAS’s Professional Development Committe, and flex credit is available.


The SEI has also been meeting with faculty on the LAUSD Climate Committee to introduce fundamental climate eduction into the K-12 curriculum. We are working with them to draft a resolution to put before the LAUSD Board. If adopted, it would fund and support a new climate curriculum. Please visit the Climate Reality Project website for more information and support climate education in K-12 by signing the online petition.  


Additionally, some SEI Steering Committee members are receiving training this fall from the USGBC-LA so they can provide lectures to students in the LAUSD on climate and sustainability. The “Green Schools” program aims to provide material appropriate for elementary and junior high school as well as high school. You can join the Green Schools Committee online at the USGBC-LA website.  


Finally, we’re happy to report that the Chancellor and the DAS have worked together to increase our faculty reassigned time from .2 to 1.0. This will allow us to dramatically increase our work. George Leddy has been working at .4 since July, and we hope to have a co-director come on-board at .6 by February.


Please visit our website and our Facebook page for more information about our work.

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