And the Pando goes to…

Heather Barker (center-right), Professor of Design at Cal State, Long Beach, with student representatives from both CSULB teams holding Los Angeles County scrolls of commendation. CSULB’s Colorado Lagoon won Pando’s Earth Hero award in the Design and Execution category. Photograph copyright (c) 2023 Cyndi Bemel.

And the Pando goes to…

By   |  Apr. 25, 2023

Yes. There is hope for LA. And the Pando Days Awards at Caltech on April 16 demonstrated it. 

The event celebrated the results of 15 colleges and universities dedicating semester-long courses, studios, or labs to implementing LA County sustainability goals. Some 200 students, professors, elected officials, and community partners attended the awards celebration. 

Outstanding project submissions from participating Pando Days ‘22 colleges and universities were honored with special awards and cash prizes in four categories:

Honorees received specially-created awards by artist Tucker Nichols and designer Michael Braley. Braley designed all event collateral.

Five judges assessed the15 projects involved in the Pando Days ’22 season (see listing of all projects). Public agencies were represented on the judges’ panel by Robyn Eason, formerly with the City of West Hollywood, and Alex Mitchell, of the LA Cleantech Incubator. Community partner representation came from Michele Prichard, of the Liberty Hill Foundation, and Chris Rhie, with The Happold Foundation. Maximillian Christman, of Caltech, represented higher ed.  

The event was held at Dabney Hall Lounge and Gardens at the center of the Caltech campus. Pando Vice Chair Ed Bacon moderated. Pando Chair John Cobb offered comments on the unique role of higher education in solving the environmental and social challenges we now face. 

“It was such an amazing experience,” said Marcela Oliva, professor of architecture at Los Angeles Trade Technical College and project lead. “The program is both life-changing and catalytic for students, community, and the County itself.”

The Pando Days calendar runs April to April, with the conclusion of the Pando Days ‘22 season on April 16 signaling the opening of enrollment for Pando Days ‘23

Pando Days’ three-legged-stool approach of bringing together public agencies, community partners, and higher ed to meet our biggest challenges targets implementation of LA County sustainability goals. Acting Chief Sustainability Officer for the County, Rita Kampalath, whose office developed the OurCounty LA Plan, framed Pando Days within the Plan’s context. (See sustainability strategist Andy Shrader’s interview with Rita on the plan’s implementation here).

Public agency officials included Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger (District 5), Supervisor Lindsay Horvath (District 3), the Office of Supervisor Holly Mitchell (District 2), and LA City Council President Paul Krekorian

LA City Councilmember-Emeritus Paul Koretz was awarded Pando’s Immortal Earthkeeper Award for lifetime achievement. 

LA County Supervisors along with Ventura County Supervisor Jeff Gorell commissioned scrolls of commendation for each of the Pando Days ‘22 teams. 

Ted Bardacke, CEO of the Clean Power Alliance. Photograph copyright (c) 2023 Cyndi Bemel.

Community partners in the Pando Days triad of collaborating institutions were honored with Earth Visionary Awards, and included the Clean Power Alliance, Calpine Energy Solutions, LA Cleantech Incubator, Alexandria Technology, Caltech, The Happold Foundation, LA Department of Water and Power, Metro, and Plante Moran.

Ted Bardacke, CEO of the Clean Power Alliance, Pando Days ‘22 lead sponsor, spoke to the effectiveness of the Pando Days model.  

Pando Days was originally conceived in collaboration with LA’s Chief Sustainability Officer Taskforce under the leadership of then-Chair John Onderdonk

Current Chair Heidrun Mumper-Drumm informed the audience of the work of the Taskforce and marked the occasion as the publishing date of the Tasforce’s first book: Sustainability Planning in Metropolitan Los Angeles: An Overview by noted regional planner Mark VanderSchaaf.

The first-of-its-kind volume offers an overview of 13 sustainability plans from the greater Los Angeles area (see our recent interview with Mark here). 

The program was punctuated by the premiere presentation of the documentary short film, We Are Pando, featuring student reflections on the Pando Days experience. 

A specially-published book for the occasion profiles all 15 college and university projects from the Pando Days ‘22 season and is titled, Hope

Go here to see complete event photos.

Go here to see the event playbill.

Members of the Pando writing team include Rich Binell, Alexi Caracotsios, Amy Goldberg, Rebecca Schmitt, and Eugene Shirley.