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In the Green: UCI’s Eco-Friendly Business Education

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UCI’s In the Green is a student-run publication and organization that promotes and provides sustainability-focused business education. Created for UCI and Orange County communities, In the Green works to facilitate purposeful consumer behaviors and career paths.

In the Green President Justin Chen, a fourth-year business administration student, is one of the founding members of the organization since its inception in 2018. Up until that point, Chen felt that there was a lack of sustainable business clubs on campus. 

“I’ve always been concerned about climate change because our generation grew up listening to the warnings about it,” Chen said. ”We’re the ones who [are] going to most likely grow up and face the full consequences. Getting here and learning about what UCI does and its commitment, I was like, wow, like I’m in a great place to focus … if I want to do something about this.” 

Since its creation, the organization has led many environmental movements — both on-campus and off-campus. 

“We have applied for the funding to get belly compost bins installed around Ring Road. The trash and recycling [bins] have always been there, but the compost bins weren’t.  We worked with waste management, wrote the application, then we got five of those compost bins surrounding Ring Road,” Chen said.

In the Green intertwines the importance of business with the message of sustainability. 

“We pivoted in the past year to lean toward more of what people can do as consumers in their careers,” Chen said.

Transitioning their business motives to a wider-spread community allowed the organization to reach more individuals in unique ways. In the Green acts as a resource outlet to further understand environmental news.

“Students know of climate change and they’re concerned about being more sustainable, but there’s lots of problems, lots of fancy jargon. That’s why we pivoted to providing education — serving as the hub of news and trends from the industry,” Chen added.

This year, the organization’s primary goal is to expand their online footprint. Their Instagram post on Oct. 12 addressed the Orange County oil spill. 

“The main thing to focus on this year is just having good content come out on our social media. We also have a media publication, where we have a team of people write about certain topics from company highlights to interview’s with executives,” Chen said. 

By making the organization’s work accessible on all platforms, In the Green’s 2021-22 agenda looks far different than it did in the past.

“We’re looking to have a few guest speakers throughout the year, like we’ve always done. We are also trying to work with ASUCI this year to implement a hydroponic system in the garden,” Chen said.

This year marks Chen’s last academic year at UCI. He shared learning points and future desires for the club, which stemmed from the last three years with In the Green as an active member. 

“This organization has been part of my college career. I learned a lot about recruitment, managing teams, determining the focus and the strategy of the club for the coming year,” Chen said. “I’d like to leave UCI’s In the Green by contributing to the culture of sustainability at UCI, enhancing the campus and getting people to think about how they can get involved.”

Leda Abkenari is a Campus News Intern for the fall 2021 quarter. She can be reached at