Background

UC Irvine ranked as the #1 “Coolest School” by Sierra Magazine in 2014. UCI also consistently ranked as one of the top 10 greenest schools for the last 10 years. Sustainability is one of the pillars of education, research and operations at our campus. In order to understand the interest of UCI postdocs in sustainability, a 2015 pilot survey was conducted on campus. Several themes emerged from the data:

  • UCI postdocs participate in one or more sustainable activities and/or practices in their personal life (e.g., recycling).
  • More than half of the respondents have a high interest in sustainability within campus operations, academics, and/or research; however, their current interest in operations (e.g., waste management, food policies, and recycling policies) outweighed others.
  • Respondents showed an interest and willingness to participate in sustainability as part of social/fun events, email lists, and online social groups. They were also interested in participating in networking opportunities.
  • The survey showed that the main barrier to participation in campus activities and integrating sustainability into postdoc research projects is lack of time.
  • Interestingly, the data also pointed to a high probability of postdocs pursuing “alternative” (i.e., non-tenure track) PhD careers.

As a result of the survey, it was decided that a special interest group be created for postdoctoral scholars to link them to sustainability resources on campus.

The Goals

  • Increase sustainability-related communications targeted at the postdoctoral community
  • Raise postdoctoral awareness of the possibility to link sustainability to their research
  • Integrate sustainability in unique ways to overcome time-commitment barriers
  • Organize social/fun activities for postdocs on or off campus
  • Introduce new incoming and current postdocs to the work of the Global Sustainability Resource Center (GSRC) and the Sustainability Initiative

Resources

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