UCLA South Bay’s academic focus will be sustainability, environmental justice – Daily Breeze

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Shortly after the UCLA South Bay banners went up at the university’s newly acquired 35 acres over the summer, officials hinted the Rancho Palos Verdes campus’s proximity to the shore would likely steer its acadmic focus toward biology and marine life.
And now, it’s official: UCLA South Bay’s academic focus will be sustainability, climate change and environmental justice, according to a letter from UCLA Chancellor Gene D.Block.
The UCLA South Bay campus in Rancho Palos Verdes and the UCLA South Bay Villas in San Pedro are near the Pacific Ocean and the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The Peninsula locale, Block said in an update on the new South Bay and downtown campuses, provided “significant opportunities for education and research relating to sustainability.”
The goal is to have programs for students in place fall. An implementation committee will design the academic programs and make sure the physical spaces are ready for use by then, Block said in his November update.
The $80 million acquisition of the former Marymount California University campus on the Palos Verdes Peninsula was the largest in UCLA’s more than 100-year history, Bruins officials said previously.
The South Bay campus will allow UCLA to expand enrollment while also tackling student crowding. The Rancho Palos Verdes campus can accommodate nearly 1,000 students ,while the San Pedro dormitories, called the UCLA South Bay Villas, can house 400.
The university, Block said, is also planning to partner with community groups such as AltaSea, the Port of Los Angeles and other San Pedro and Rancho Palos Verdes neighborhood organizations.
The physical expansion from UCLA South Bay will help the university strengthen its ties to the entire Los Angeles region, Block said.
“These facilities,” he said, “will help us foster stronger community engagement beyond our existing campus footprint, continue to produce applied scholarship that improves our communities, and increase the opportunities for research and learning collaboration.”
For RPV Mayor John Cruikshank, the campus’s focus is apt, given its location.
“The City of Rancho Palos Verdes was founded 50 years ago to preserve the Peninsula’s natural resources and open space,” Cruikshank said. “With 7.5 miles of coastline, the 1,500-acre Palos Verdes Nature Preserve supporting endangered and sensitive species, the Abalone Cove Ecological Reserve, and two state-designated marine protected areas, RPV is an excellent fit for this new academic hub of environmental science and sustainability.”
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