Orange County Branch Newsletter

January 2019

President's Message

By Elizabeth Ruedas, PE, QSD, QISP

"You have 365 new blank pages. What will you write on the first blank page?" - Lailah Gifty Akita

I attended my first Toastmasters meeting this month where I had a great time meeting others, learned about public speaking, and even practiced some impromptu speaking as well. The meeting's reoccurring theme focused around becoming better versions of ourselves. Great timing given that so many of us are setting resolutions as we dive into the new year. Rather than setting resolutions, however, attendees were encouraged to set specific goals, and implement daily resets, rather than becoming discouraged after we fall off track. Some days will be better than others, but the idea is not to give up if one day does not go as planned. Each effort made towards that better version of ourselves leaves us in a better position than at the beginning of the year when we started.

I like the concept of daily resets, especially since it can easily be incorporated into other aspects of life. Below are three that we invite you to consider. 



We encourage sustainability in our work on a regular, if not daily, basis, but why not try a bit harder to walk the walk outside of work? Below are a few easy ways to do so.

No Plastic

Or at least less plastic? Why not try to reduce the amount of plastic that we all use this year? Did you know it is now against the law in California for a full-service, dine in restaurants to give you a plastic straw, unless you have asked for it? That's right! Starting January 1, 2019, California is making an effort to reduce our plastic use given the known impacts it can have on the environment. Maybe we start off by not using straws, but it can easily grow into something much bigger (e.g., no single-use items). Click here to learn more about the new laws that went into effect starting 2019.


Stop Food Waste

Services like Imperfect Produce keep perfectly good produce from going to the landfill for silly reasons, such as being imperfect (e.g., crooked, spotted, too big, too small, wrong color). Sometimes the produce is more on the "perfect" side, but was simply surplus. As vegans, Chad, my boyfriend, and I get about 80% of our food from them every week. Here are a few fun statistics associated with our progress that you can easily contribute to as well, but signing up for a service like this is not necessary. We can all start by just consuming all the food that we normally buy, rather than letting any of it go bad in the fridge. Also, we can find ways to use the scraps that would normally go to the trash by using them to make vegetable broth or blending them up in smoothies. 


Feed the Soil

Whatever you can't eat or reuse, compost! It is super easy! Two parts green, one part brown. Chad and I live in an apartment and use a tumbler bin, but if you have a yard, you don't even need a bin to get started.





Free Donations

We often ask companies to support ASCE OC via sponsorship opportunities, but each one of us can make regular contributions without much effort through services like Amazon Smile. It allows you to choose from almost a million nonprofit organization, including the American Society of Civil Engineers. Small contributions on a regular basis can really add up over time, and all at no cost to you. 



Donating our time to help improve the civil engineering profession, our community, and/or the environment can seem like a huge commitment, but even small contributions make a big difference. Please reach out to us and let us know how you can help ASCE OC via email at, even if it is just to help get the word out about some of our upcoming events.





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