Earth Day 2024 with UBC IT: Interview with Eric De Jesus & Laura Triay

Having just celebrated Earth Day this Monday, April 22, we met with Eric De Jesus and Laura Triay from the Business Operations team to better understand what we—as UBC IT employees—can do to support the journey of sustainability within our department. Let’s take a closer look at the initiatives they’ve been spearheading to encourage positive sustainability practices and improved waste management through clean-up campaigns, the move to zero waste, hybrid work and promoting awareness. 

Clean-up campaigns and move to zero waste 

In the fall of 2022, the Business Operations team embarked on a significant clean-up initiative that has since become emblematic of their unwavering dedication to sustainability and well-being in the workplace. Noteworthy efforts that vividly demonstrate this commitment include the mass clean-up undertaken in IT offices at Ponderosa A, Donald Rix, and L.S. Klinck buildings. Since its inception, the annual clean-up program has made remarkable strides: successfully decluttering 50% of the accumulated office waste that had collected over two decades. This concerted endeavor marks the beginning of a cultural transformation towards sustainability while fostering safe, clean, and organized work environments. 

In continuation of these endeavors, the clean-up campaign is slated to recommence this May, with a primary focus on the LSK building. We enthusiastically encourage staff operating within the LSK building to actively participate in the campaign, rejuvenate our shared workspaces, and cultivate an atmosphere that is conducive to productivity and well-being. Through our collective efforts exerted during these campaigns, surplus furniture and resources are afforded a second lease on life through our innovative repurposing and recycling initiatives. 

Hybrid work and reduced footprint 

The transition to hybrid work has inadvertently contributed to a reduced carbon footprint. With fewer individuals occupying office spaces, the demand for stationery and kitchen supplies has plummeted by nearly 50% and 40%, respectively. The Business Operations team acknowledges this positive trend and continues to advocate for mindful consumption. 

Promoting awareness 

Through communication channels like the UBC IT news, digital displays, posters, and close collaboration with managers and staff, the team continuously raises awareness about recycling and waste management. By instilling a sense of responsibility and mindfulness, they empower every member of the UBC IT community to contribute to a greener future. 

How can we help 

The team's message is clear: every individual plays a crucial role in fostering sustainability. By considering the impact of our actions, exploring available resources, and embracing a culture of mindfulness, we can amplify the Business Operations team's efforts and create a more sustainable future for all. 

Takeaways from Eric and Laura 

Eric and Laura emphasize the importance of self-care in nurturing a caring attitude towards our work and surroundings. By embracing small daily actions, we can set in motion a powerful domino effect toward positive change. 

Find out more about sustainable initiatives at UBC and how you can get involved through UBC Sustainability.

Article written by Aisha Ismail.