Pando Days ’21

Pando Days is our annual flagship program that brings together educators from the arts, humanities, sciences, and technology to tackle the biggest sustainability challenges facing LA County. And asks them to inspire each other. And their students. And Angelenos. And the world. With ingenious new solutions and plans.

Los Angeles County has a master plan for sustainability called OurCounty LA. Pando Days brings colleges and universities together from across the Southland to help implement the plan, dedicating full courses, studios, or labs to creating ingenious solutions that further the region’s goals.

We support Pando Days initiatives with research stipends, networking, events, consultation, and the opportunity for end-of-project seed funding.

Schools brainstorm projects in the spring, implement in the fall, premiere final presentations for judges in December, and showcase at the Pando Days Finale — after which the process of project innovation and implementation begins again.

Pando Days ’21

The 2021 season of Pando Days, which has now concluded, involved ten Southland colleges and universities with eleven separate initiatives. See Finale press release for judges’ decisions.

Participating schools addressed challenges from the County’s sustainability plan that public agencies identified as most urgent: transportation, shelter, community, and food.


Open call/food

Participating college and university teams worked according to these program specifications, aiming to meet these judges’ criteria, and schedule.

Since its inception in 2019, Pando Days has accelerated development of nearly two dozen sustainability initiatives across the Los Angeles Basin — everything from edible salt-water gardens to artificial intelligence algorithms addressing homeless needs, from biodiversity solutions at the treetop level to green transportation in disadvantaged areas. 

Of the ten ingenious projects produced for Pando Days 2019/20, four were picked up by outside funders (Google and Mellon, among them), with community partners moving ahead on three additional initiatives.

LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl named Pando Days “the sustainability event of the year” for 2019/20, the year of its inception.

Pando Days ’21 Events

The Pando Days ’21 season concluded with an online Finale on January 16, 2022, featuring special guests, project assessments from Category Partners, and decisions from a three-member panel of independent judges.

In the winner’s circle: USC for its work in the Shelter Category; CalArts in the Community Category, and Otis College of Art and Design in Transportation.

We celebrate all eleven projects from the Pando Days ’21 season and are actively encouraging next steps.

All projects were assessed by a three-person panel of independent judges, all of whom are members of the CSO Taskforce. Judges included: Katherine Miller, former CSO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation; Chris Rhei, Associate Principal of Buro Happold and a lead member of the drafting team of the LA County sustainability plan; and Mike Wallace, Senior Vice President of Persefoni and internationally-recognized specialist on global sustainability matters.

Pando Days ’21 Category Partners were represented by Wilma Franco of SELA (SE Los Angeles Collaborative) on behalf of the LA County-SELA-Cudahy collaboration; Jose Ramirez, Deputy Mayor for Homelessness Initiatives for the City of Los Angeles, Gloria Farias for the Pico Union Housing Corp., and John Cobb for LA’s CSO Traskforce.

Finale special guest speakers included Gary Gero, CSO of Los Angeles County, and Heidrun Mumper-Drumm, chair of LA’s CSO Taskforce.

Go here for Finale press release.

Pando Days ’21 launched with a virtual event in early March, following notification to more than 50 Southland colleges and universities and soliciting their participation.

Two weeks after the launch, legendary designer John Bielenberg teamed up with Brandt Williams to lead a Pando Blitz! It was a day of design thinking. A virtual THINKNADO!

The Blitz included all-school sessions and individual team workshops designed to help college and university teams conceive projects to develop over the fall quarter/semester (see Schedule).

College and university projects premiered in early December, with school presentations organized according to the season’s four topic categories. The Pando Days ’21 Finale event was held on Jan. 16, 2022 online.

Pando Days Blitz: THINKNADO!
March 20, 2021, Zoom

Premier events
December 6, 7, 8, 9 2021, Zoom

January 16, 2022, Zoom

Get involved!

Collaborating partners: Transportation category: County of Los Angeles, Internal Services Department; Southeast Los Angeles Collaborative (SELA); City of Cudahy. Shelter category: City of Los Angeles, Mayor’s Office of City Homelessness Initiatives (MOCHI); County of Los Angeles, DHS-Housing for Health. Community category: Pico Union Housing Corporation (PUHC); Careers by Design LA (CDLA). Open call/food category: CSO Strategic Taskforce.

Host committee: Paul Koretz, Los Angeles City Councilmember, 5th District; Sheila Kuehl, Los Angeles County Supervisor, 3rd District; Peter Laugharn, President, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

Advisory: CSO Strategic Taskforce; Taskforce Chair Heidrun Mumper-Drumm (ArtCenter College of Design); Robyn Eason (City of West Hollywood); Gary Gero, Chief Sustainability Officer, County of Los Angeles; Dean Kubani (City of Santa Monica, ret.); Maribeth Larkin (Sisters of Social Service); Pablo La Roche (Cal Poly Pomona); Luis Navarro (Langan Engineering); Marcela Oliva (LA Trade Tech College); John Onderdonk (Caltech); Andy Shrader (City of Los Angeles), and Mark Spears (Disney, ret.).

Team: Eugene Shirley, executive producer. Judith Parker, co-executive producer. Shelley Goldstein, event producer. John Bielenberg, creative director. Rich Binell, writer. Michael Braley, graphic designer. Marc O’Brien, design strategist. Brandt Williams, Thinknado. Fundraising committee: Liz Tesolin Hamilton, Margo Kidushim, Vickere Murphy, Judith Parker, and Rebecca Schmitt.

Thank you!

Pando Days is a collaboration with the CSO Taskforce for LA County and made possible in part by The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

The good news.
Pando Days is succeeding.

Go here to see the best news.

Related Programs

Pando Days 2019-20


HIGHER ED: Southland colleges and universities come together with courses, studios, and labs to build County sustainability.