UCSF Green Champions Recognized at 2015 Sustainability Award Ceremony

By Deborah Fleischer

Winners of the LivingGreen Clinics and Units awards. Photo by Marco Sanchez

At the fifth Annual Sustainability Awards ceremony, UC San Francisco Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS, attended personally for the first time to recognize UCSF’s green champions, those unsung heroes who work to make UCSF greener and more sustainable.

Hosted by Theresa O’Brien, PhD, UCSF associate chancellor and the new co-chair of the UCSF Advisory Committee on Sustainability, the well-attended event was held at the Alumni House on June 22, and kicked off by an all-organic and vegan lunch buffet.   The annual awards recognize the many accomplishments of individuals and teams at UCSF around sustainability. 

“UCSF is not only a leader in health care, but it is also a leader in health care sustainability. The UCSF Medical Center was recognized last month as one of the top 25 medical centers in the country for its Environmental Excellence by Practice GreenHealth, a nonprofit organization promoting sustainability in health care,” Hawgood said. “UCSF Medical Center is the first and only medical center in California to receive this recognition.”

He highlighted some of UCSF’s other green accomplishments, including being on track to meet our 20 percent water reduction targets, increasing our diversion rate to 64 percent, and negotiating a contract that now provides UCSF 100 percent post-consumer waste recycled paper at a lower cost than any other copy paper. “All these achievements and many more, could not have been met without the passion and dedication of many staff,” said Hawgood.

The accomplishments and people recognized at the ceremony include:

UCSF School of Nursing for their accomplishment in achieving the LEED - Existing Building Operations and Maintenance certification for the School of Nursing building, a particularly challenging task in a vintage 1929 structure.

Green Challenge award: The Green Challenge was created by the Academic Senate Committee on Sustainability and supported by Senior Vice Chancellor John Plotts to challenge the UCSF community to submit innovative sustainability ideas. Artemio Cardenas, Analyst in the Academic Senate Administration, received a $5,000 Green Challenge award for his idea to develop engaging digital displays of UCSF energy and carbon emissions data to educate and engage building occupants. 

2015 Sustainability Award Winners

This year UCSF received a record number of nominations for the Sustainability Awards from all areas of the UCSF community. The following groups and individuals were winners this year:

Team Category: Michael Dziadek, Alberto Alfaro, and Marco Dias of the Campus Life Services Engineering team at Mt. Zion were recognized for improving operational efficiencies in their building engineering systems. “Michael and his team are always looking for ways to improve and save, by retrofitting the mechanical systems to operate more efficiently and extending their life or reprogramming equipment washers to run shorter cycles. These efforts have saved hundreds of thousands of gallons of water a year and 70,000 kwh/year from lighting retrofits alone,” said Hawgood.

Student Category: Anya Desai, a third year medical student at UCSF, was recognized for her dedication to social justice, the environment and health by training and engaging the next generation of healthcare professionals. At UCSF, Anya co-led Student Health Professionals for Social Responsibility and Remedy, a group that collects unused medical supplies and donates them to Medshare or directly to students traveling to international clinics. She organized an Environmental Health Elective during the fall of 2014 where speakers were invited to present on a wide range of issues from environmental justice to greening healthcare. 

Medical Center Staff Category: Yelena Libova is a registered nurse in the Neurointensive Care Unit and is dedicated to “living green.” Her hard work promoting sustainability led to a Gold level Living Green Certification, making Neuro-ICU the first inpatient hospital unit to attain certification this year. Hawgood explained, “Yelena has done all of this great work outside of her clinical work duties.  Her innovation and dedication to sustainability is an inspiration to the entire Neuro-ICU staff.”

Staff Category: Todd McGregor, Assistant Director of Housing Administration for Campus Life Services and a volunteer member of the Water Conservation Work Group, was recognized for his leadership in reducing water use at Housing Services. Through his leadership, Housing Services has replaced all water fixtures, and implemented multiple innovative ideas to reduce waste and serve the UCSF student and patient community.

Faculty Category: Gina Solomon, MD, MPH, an occupational and environmental medicine specialist in the School of Medicine, was recognized for her passion and dedication to education and research in environmental health, climate change, and policy.  She has gone above and beyond the duties of her position at UCSF to integrate environmental sustainability into existing campus programs. Her faculty sponsorship restarted the environmental health elective course this past year where she worked closely with Anya Desai, to introduce social equity, environmental health, and greening healthcare, all areas relevant to UCSF's sustainability goals and practices.

LivingGreen Certifications

The LivingGreen certification recognize offices, laboratories, and clinics and/or units that are actively seeking to reduce energy, waste, water, toxics, encourage green procurement and engaging others to do the same. Kudos to all the offices, labs, clinics, and units who received a certification:

LivingGreen Offices

Winners of the LivingGreen Offices awards with Chancellor Sam Hawgood. Photo by Marco Sanchez.


Gold category: Dean’s Office of the School of Pharmacy at Laurel Heights; Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost; Campus Life Services Documents & Media; Office of Sponsored Research, Research Management Services, Team E.

Silver category: Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, School of Pharmacy; School of Medicine Dean’s office; Information Services Unit.

Bronze category: Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor at Minnesota St., Office of the Designated Campus Fire Marshal, Capital Programs - Space Management Division, Immediate Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Life Services, and FAS Capital Programs.

LivingGreen Laboratories

Gold category:  Department of Urology, Department of Neurological Surgery, Department of Psychiatry Rock Hall 431-451, and Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Genetics.

Silver category:  Department of Psychiatry Rock Hall 282.

Bronze category: Preventive & Restorative Dental Sciences.

LivingGreen Clinics and Units

Gold category: Neurological Intensive Care Unit – 11th fl Moffitt/Long, Breast Care Center - 2nd Fl Mt Zion, Melanoma Center – 3rd Fl Mt Zion, and Heart and Vascular Center – Adult Cardiac Cath and EP Laboratory – 6th fl Moffitt/Long.

Bronze category: Pediatric Intensive Care Unit – Benioff’s Children’s Hospital.

For more internal-facing stories from the UCSF community, please visit Pulse of UCSF.