Investing in the Future of Sustainability Leadership: It starts with our students

May 10, 2018
Sustainable LA Grand Challenge Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (SLA GC-URSP)

The UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge (SLA GC) is cultivating the next generation of leaders in urban sustainability through the Grand Challenge Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (GC-URSP). The interdisciplinary research experience equips students with the communication, problem-solving, and leadership skills needed to guide L.A. to a more sustainable future. Through independent and collaborative projects, students are catalyzing a new wave of transformative research and innovation right here at UCLA.

SLA GC-URSP was first offered in the 2014-15 academic year. The program is open to undergraduate students that will be in their 2nd or 3rd year during the academic year in which the course is offered. Students that will be in their 4th year (and beyond), in the academic year offered, are eligible to apply as project consultants for the course. The course is offered for two units each quarter, with P/NP in the Fall and letter grades in the Winter and Spring quarters. Additionally, each student will register for two units of SRP99 each quarter (P/NP)

The program has three components:

– Placement in a Sustainable LA Grand Challenge faculty member research setting where students will conduct research under the mentorship of the faculty and senior researchers.

– A concurrent course that meets once per week that provides students with a background in urban sustainability, research and communication skills, and professional development.

– An interdisciplinary research experience among peers aimed at addressing real urban sustainability challenges in the Los Angeles region. This experience will take place under the guidance of the course instructor, and will be separate from the faculty-mentored research experience.

Currently, the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge is accepting applications for the 2018-19 academic school year. For more information, and to apply to be an undergraduate scholar, click here.

2017-18 Student Research Projects

Throughout the 2017-2018 academic year, students conduct independent research with a faculty mentor and also work on group projects in class that target sustainability issues on campus. From beekeeping to solar energy storage, this year’s scholars are exploring innovative ways to address the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge goals of 100 percent renewable energy, 100 percent local water, and enhanced ecosystem health by 2050 on campus. Learn more about these students, how their work is impacting their undergraduate experience, and how they are furthering sustainability efforts at UCLA.

Explore the 2017-2018 Student Research Projects to Learn More about the SLA GC-URSP Experience
Individual Student-Research Highlights:

Sean Jackson

– Anita Sie

– Jenna Molas

– PwintPhyu Nandar

– Shannon Cavanaugh

– Glory Thai

Group Research Projects:

– UCLA Campus Bike Rack Assessment

– Evaluating Energy Efficiency of Lighting in UCLA Campus Staircases

– An Evaluation of Plastic Waste: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Distribution of Condiment Packages and Straws at the UCLA Student Union

– To Bee or No to Bee: Evaluating Ecotoxicity in the Urban Landscape and Assessing Student Interest in Beekeeping at UCLA

– Bike Share’s Response to Competition: A Case Study of “Bird” Electric Scooters in Los Angeles

– Case Study at UCLA Quick-Service Restaurants Using Social Normative Messaging, Environmental Information and “Internet Memes” to Increase Sustainable Use of Mugs and Napkins

– Fixtures and Flow: Archiving Water Fixture Usage and Restroom Foot traffic through Maps on the UCLA Campus