By Alejandra Reyes-Velarde
UCLA Luskin Student Writer
Nurit Katz (MPP ‘08) has been named 2015 alumna of the year by the department of Public Policy for her outstanding work in sustainability and support of the MPP Alumni Fellowship.
As UCLA’s first ever chief sustainability officer and newly appointed executive director of UCLA Facilities Management, Katz ensures that the university reaches its goals in all areas of sustainability by bringing campus communities together. She establishes strategies for marketing, campus awareness and other topics in campus sustainability. She is also an instructor for the Global Sustainability Certificate Program at UCLA Extension where her course, Principles of Sustainability, was named one of Los Angeles’ 10 best classes by LA Weekly in 2012.
After attending Humboldt State university for her Environmental Education undergraduate degree, she went on to obtain a Masters of Public Policy from the Luskin School of Public Affairs and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management where she was later honored as one of 100 inspirational alumna.
Katz has contributed a great deal to UCLA’s success in sustainability, initiating programs and making resources available to the UCLA community. She founded the UCLA Sustainable Resource Center with the Graduate Student Association, which provides students and faculty with sustainable resources such as a library and funding opportunities. After she became president of the Graduate Student Association, Katz helped launch an interdisciplinary certificate program, “Leaders in Sustainability” to bring different fields such as medicine, management and urban planning to work together for sustainability.
Programs such as the sustainable commuting program, which offers resources for biking, public transportation and vanpooling in the UCLA area have been successful and received awards under Katz’s term as chief sustainability officer. UCLA has also been praised for its numerous sustainability efforts in the Princeton Review Guide to 332 Green Colleges, which recognizes the university’s styrofoam ban, sustainability research and energy efficiency on campus among other accomplishments in 2014. Katz was also among 70 UCLA staff faculty and students on the UCLA Sustainability Committee to be awarded for their dedication to environmental education, research and philanthropy.
In an interview with Planet Experts last summer, Katz said UCLA has been able to decrease the average number of people driving to campus alone to 51 percent for employees and 25 percent for students, significantly less than the LA average of 74 percent during her time as chief sustainability officer.
Katz has also contributed her experience in sustainability at UCLA to external projects focused on the greater Los Angeles area, such as transit development along the Expo Light Rail Line being built from downtown LA to Santa Monica.
Katz will be honored at the UCLA Luskin Department of Public Policy Alumni Reception on April 23. The event will take place at the Japanese American National Museum from 6 – 9 p.m. Attendees are asked to RSVP by Thursday, April 16.