Fall 2009

[Alumni News]

Nurit Katz

Building the Eco-Ethic at UCLA

Despite growing up in a dense urban area, Nurit Katz (‘02) loved the outdoors and science as a child. Now, as sustainability coordinator for the University of California, Los Angeles, Katz is putting her Humboldt State lessons to work, helping the campus become more ecologically friendly.

“I grew up in Los Angeles so I wanted to get away a little bit when I went to college, ” says Katz. “I lived in a little cottage in Freshwater. It was a really wonderful experience.”

Nurit Katz

At HSU, Katz designed her own major in Environmental Education. She served as co-director of the Environmental Education program sponsored by Youth Educational Services and worked with the Humboldt Watershed Council.

“At the Watershed Council we were taking a look at what happened with the timber industry with excessive logging,” Katz says. “You have damage not just to the environment, but also to people’s homes with flooding and to the fisheries because the salmon population was impacted, and timber workers were losing their jobs as mills closed. There was no clearer example for me of how important it is to consider social, environmental and economic factors—to really look at the triple bottom line.”

Katz is helping UCLA incorporate that triple bottom line philosophy across campus. She was hired as the sustainability coordinator last fall, shortly after earning her M.B.A. and Masters of Public Policy there.
“We’re doing a lot as a campus when it comes to sustainability,” Katz says of UCLA. “Programs like van pools, ride share and subsidized transit passes. And, in combination, those efforts have led to a drive-alone rate of just around 55 percent for campus where Los Angeles as a whole is 75 percent.”

While she was a student at UCLA, Katz started the Sustainable Resource Center on campus, which provides resources and education to the graduate student body, campus and community. In addition, she helped the university develop a Climate Action Plan. Thanks to her efforts, the campus expects to meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2012—eight years early.