January 2021 – Region 9 Reports

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ASCE Los Angeles Section – Sustainability Committee
by Trina Lai and Tonia Wang, Co-Chairs

Trina Lai Tonia Wang



During this past year, the Los Angeles Section – Sustainability Committee (LASSC) has been revitalized under the leadership of Trina Lai and Tonia Wang.  They have held monthly meeting (every third Wednesday at 11:30am-12:15pm) to establish direction, hosted speakers and provide value to members.


CSUN’s Sustainability Center

Before the state was on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, LASSC went on a tour of the California State University Northridge’s Sustainability Center, which opened in September 2017.  The center is a multi-functional space, serving primarily as an expanded central collections location for the campus recyclables. It serves as the public face and administrative hub of the Center for its program and services; as the home of the administrative offices of the Institute for Sustainability; and as a focal point for the University community for educational programs, services and issues related to the environment and sustainability.  Some of the key highlights from the tour are the use of daylight harvesting to reduce overhead lighting, operable windows to allow for natural ventilation and connection with fresh air, greywater collection for irrigation, low impact development landscaping, solar panels and vacuum composting toilets.  It provided members with an opportunity to see numerous ways to integrate low impact development.

Earth Day Virtual Campaign

To celebrate Earth Day LASSC collaborated with the MLAB YMF’s Sustainability Committee and held its
first virtual Earth Day campaign. Members shared posts on social media on how they are making a difference in their communities. In addition, LASSC collected pledges and developed a sustainability collage poster.


Sustainability and Equity Virtual Panel


Our work these days has a big focus on sustainable infrastructure and how it can benefit the environment. We need to have a better understanding of how climate change, air and water pollution, and other environmental issues affect our communities. The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on how today’s most pressing issues are interconnected and frontline communities are always the most impacted. The Los Angeles Section Sustainability Committee (LASSC) and Metropolitan Los Angeles Branch Younger Member Forum (MLAB YMF) co-hosted “Sustainability and Equity Virtual Panel” on October 21st to kickoff the 2020-2021 fiscal year.  The goal was to learn more about equity and community as a part of sustainability and how we can place it at the forefront of our design decisions and actions.


The panelists included KeAndra Cylear Dodds, Equity and Race Executive Officer at LA Metro and Luseni (Lou) Pieh, a strategic advisor, consultant, and former EPA Deputy Chief of Staff. The discussion was moderated by Allison Mannos, Senior Manager of Marketing & Customer Engagement at Clean Power Alliance.  The online event was a success with approximately 40 participants. After the speaker and moderator introductions, KeAndra and Lou touched on their experience and current equity efforts in various infrastructure projects and programs. The open discussion was insightful and thought provoking for the attendees. It provided civil engineers and planners with a better understanding on how to center equity in their work and actions. The webinar concluded with actionable steps for attendees:


  • Becoming Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) certified;
  • Continued educationthrough books, podcasts, articles, webinars;
  • Following the speakers on Twitter;
  • Getting involved withLA YMF’s Inclusion, Belonging, and Diversity Subcommittee;
  • And havingthe tough conversations at work.


The speakers and moderator were given 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide offset credits from carbonfund.org as a small token of the sustainability committees’ appreciation.


To learn more about the ASCE Los Angeles Section Sustainability Committee visit http://www.ascelasection.org/groups/sustainability_committee

Original – ASCE Los Angeles Section_Region9Contribution – Final Draft – Earth Day Pledge Poster


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