This project has ended, but you can still support the Sustainable LA Team by clicking here.

Sustainable LA Grand Challenge

Raised toward our $25,000 Goal
49 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on March 15, at 12:00 PM PDT
Project Owners

Sustainable LA Grand Challenge

It starts with our studentsWe need to support the next generation of sustainability leaders in order to build a more sustainable Los Angeles, and YOU can help make it happen.

The choices we make here in Los Angeles every day have a direct and powerful impact on the health of individuals, our community, and the planet. Sustainability in Los Angeles is more important than ever as our urban center of over 4 million continues to grow, and the effects of climate change—from record heat to devastating wildfires—are increasingly disrupting our population. 

In 2013, UCLA launched the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge with initial funding from a group of generous donors. Because evidence suggests that climate change will have significant health, economic, and ecological impacts that will only increase over time, this distinctive program sought to train the next generation of urban sustainability leaders in Southern California. Since then, over 150 students have been trained as engaged, environmentally focused citizens and problem solvers upon graduation.

However, this unique inter-disciplinary course is entirely reliant upon private funding, and that funding is on the verge of running out! 

In order to support the continuation of the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge and its ongoing efforts to educate the problem solvers, innovators, and sustainability leaders of tomorrow, we’re turning to you and the larger L.A. community.

The program operates within the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge and is a yearlong course that provides UCLA students with urban sustainability knowledge and research experiences. These experiences go far beyond typical classroom learning to equip students with the communication, problem-solving, and leadership skills needed to guide Southern California toward a more sustainable future. No other UCLA program brings together the unique perspectives of students from dance, biology, engineering, and social science – all with a passion for sustainability – to creatively tackle some of the region’s greatest environmental challenges.

Students take their classroom knowledge and apply it to real-world environmental or sustainability problems right here on UCLA’s campus (a campus the size of a mid-sized city!). The students work directly with campus partners like UCLA Catering or UCLA Facilities to achieve REAL goals as well as inform best-practices. Through additional independent and collaborative projects, the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge is catalyzing a new wave of transformative innovation in our own backyard. Receiving mentorship from some of the world’s greatest minds, these students are working with UCLA researchers to effect change on global issues through a local lens, right here in Los Angeles.

Students have already made measurable differences on UCLA’s sustainability efforts.

Our group projects have:

  • Assisted UCLA Transportation’s bike rack infrastructure redesign to encourage bike use by informing efforts to provide widely accessible bike racks around campus 

  • Analyzed the environmental impact of plastic straws and condiment packages distributed at the UCLA Ackerman Student Union


Your support today is an investment in the future of our students and in your own future as an Angeleno as well as global citizen. Our research scholars have contributed to research with impacts that span Los Angeles and the globe, such as:

  • Contributing to ongoing research on how Proposition 1, a California water bond measure that appropriates money to build greenspaces along the L.A. River could affect the disadvantaged communities that live in the surrounding area.

  • Identifying whether gender roles play a role in predisposing women in the United States to be bigger contributors to household water usage

Your gift to the Undergraduate Research Scholars, which operates as part of the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge, not only supports UCLA students’ ongoing work to make UCLA – and the world – more sustainable, but also creates an immediate impact on the health and well-being of Angelenos today!

Serving as a model for other universities, this unique course benefits the local campus community, Los Angeles and Southern California. Your donation of any size helps demonstrate that UCLA’s undergraduate researchers are making real-life impact and influencing decision making right here on campus – all before they even graduate. With your support of our crowdfunding campaign, the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge will be able to build on the momentum it has gathered, and continue to shape the next generation of sustainability thought-leaders. Ultimately, by choosing to support our campaign today, you will help define Los Angeles’ sustainable future and our efforts against climate change’s observable effects on our environment.

The Undergraduate Research Scholars Program was first offered by the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge in the 2014-15 academic year. Admission to the program is competitive and 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) are eligible to apply as peer project consultants for the course.

The Sustainable LA Grand Challenge

Los Angeles Sustainable Water Project: Los Angeles City-Wide Overview

Leading by example: UCLA teaches how to do a Grand Challenge

UCLA faculty involved with UCLA Grand Challenges recognized as some of the most influential researchers

Our way
of Thanking You


Thank You!

Thank you for supporting the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge! We're grateful for your interest in protecting the environment, and beginning that work right here at UCLA.

11 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2019



Thank you for your partnership toward the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge; we're lucky to have you!

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Estimated Delivery: March 2019


Social Media Snaps

We appreciate your support, and we want folks to know! With your $100 donation we will give you a personal shoutout on our Facebook AND Twitter.

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Estimated Delivery: March 2019


Personalized Scholar Profile

Look out for a personalized thank you note and photo from one of the Undergraduate Research Scholars, who will tell you about their research and long-term goals for a more sustainable LA!

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Estimated Delivery: May 2019


Undergraduate Research Week

It's clear that you're passionate about this cause! You're invited to our year-end poster presentation at Undergraduate Research Week, where you can get to know the issues and researchers you're supporting!

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Estimated Delivery: May 2019


Group Talks

Want to interact even further with the researchers, issues, and UCLA Faculty Mentors involved in the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge? Please accept your invitation to our year-end Undergraduate Research Scholars project presentations.

1 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: May 2019


Lunch with Tomorrow's Leaders

You'll have the opportunity to discuss the sustainability issues that matter the most to you at lunch or dinner on the UCLA campus with the UCLA students and Rebecca Shipe, instructor for the UCLA Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. (a tax deductible gift of $980)

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Estimated Delivery: April 2019


Join Today's Experts

In addition to the previous perks, you'll be invited to join the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge's SYMPOSIUM next Fall, an exclusive invitation-only event where LA's top sustainability leaders convene to discuss their latest research and ongoing efforts to fight climate change.

1 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: October 2019
Our Crowdfunding Groups