Wednesday, April 23, 2014

UCSC highlighted in Guide to Green Colleges

For the fifth year in a row, UC Santa Cruz has scored 99 points—the most possible—in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 332 Green Colleges: 2014 Edition. Every year, the Princeton Review's Guide to 332 Green Colleges profiles 330 institutions of higher education in the United States and two in Canada that demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities, and career preparation.

The guide cites UCSC for waste diversion, student activism, and sustainability research. The campus diverts 64 percent of its waste from landfills, putting it well on its way to meet the UC system goal to produce zero waste by 2020. The campus Sustainability Office has a database of project ideas submitted by students, faculty, and staff to improve sustainable practices. Students can also apply for grants to pursue initiatives that reduce carbon emissions on campus.

Interested in learning more? Check out this article!

May is Bike Month!

What better time to dust off your bike, tune it up, and go for a ride than May, which is National Bike Month!

Bicycling is not only fun, it's also a zero-emissions method of transportation, it's great exercise, and you can save a lot of money on gas and maintenance by transitioning your commute or daily trips from car to bicycle.

From our bay views to our hills to our thriving bicycle community, Santa Cruz is one of the best places to be during National Bike Month and Bike Week (May 2-9). There are more than 15 bicycle events happening in town and on-campus in May alone! Here's the complete list--notice how many events are happening at UCSC!

Bike Night First Friday at the MAH - May 2 at 5pm - 9pm 
Museum of Art and History, 705 Front Street. 
Ecology Action Bike Week kick-off party in collaboration with People Power of Santa Cruz County. Join us for an evening of live music, local artists, craft vendors, friends, family, a group ride and so much more at the Museum of Arts & History. Visit the Bike to Work website for details.

Stevenson Bike & Food Justice Fest - May 3 at 12pm - 4pm
Stevenson Main Quad, UC Santa Cruz. 
Join us for a bike & food justice fest featuring free bike maintenance, bicycle education and history, bike-generated strawberry smoothies with education about strawberry production, music, bike part art, a food justice & transportation board game, and more! At 2pm, there will be a speaker panel discussion about the intersections of transportation and food justice in the Stevenson Fireside Lounge. Email Melissa at mott [at] ucsc [dot] edu for details.

Slug Bike Party Ride Around Campus – May 3 at 3:30pm 
Meet in Stevenson Main Quad, UC Santa Cruz. 
During the Bike & Food Justice Festival, a group will be heading off on bikes to explore easy and secret routes around campus while also touring some of the campus gardens. Bring a bicycle in good working condition, a helmet, and comfortable shoes. Bike party! Email Melissa at mott [at] ucsc [dot] edu for details.

Capitola Open Streets - May 4 at 11am - 4pm 
Santa Cruz Open Streets fosters individual and community health through creative use of public space. Capitola Village’s first Open Streets event will close the road to car traffic and fill the street with people walking, biking and playing. There will be music, local organizations, and fun activities! For more details, visit the website.

Cycle & Dine - May 5 
Cyclists will receive between a 15-25% discount on their meal at participating restaurants! Upon arrival at any of these restaurants make sure to show your helmet to your server or at the cash register before ordering. Each restaurant will be providing varying discounts within the noted range. Participating restaurants include: Charlie Hong Kong, Chocolate, Harbor Cafe and Midtown Cafe. Other restaurants to be confirmed shortly; visit the website.

Bike Week World Cafe - May 5 at 5pm - 7pm 
Kresge Piazzetta, outside Kresge Seminar Room at Porter-Kresge Rd, UC Santa Cruz. 
The World Cafe is a weekly potluck of both food and ideas that takes place in Kresge College. The theme for this week is bicycles to celebrate the beginning of Bike Week in Santa Cruz! Join us for conversations about the revolutionary role of bicycles to empower and free people in our community, enjoy some bike generated smoothies and music, and learn some basic bike maintenance. For more information, contact Melissa at

Staff of Life Market Breakfast - May 6 at 7am - 10am 
1266 Soquel Avenue. 
Free pastries, juice, and coffee for cyclists! Join us for a fun event in the seated patio area for yummy food, delicious beverages, free bike goodies and more! Learn more here.

UCSC Bike Helmet Giveaway - May 6 at 1pm - 4pm 
Base of UCSC campus, corner of Bay & High. 
Need a helmet or want to license your bike? TAPS is sponsoring this bike booth. Contact taps [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

Free Basic Bicycle Maintenance - May 7 at 12pm - 4pm 
Downtown Farmers’ Market, Cedar Street & Lincoln Street. 
Spokesman Bicycle mechanics will have a tent set up at the Farmers Market to provide FREE basic bike maintenance. Get your bike tuned up and ready for Bike to Work Day!

Riding for Transportation - May 7 at 6pm - 7:30pm 
Epicenter Cycling, 1730 Mission Street. 
Epicenter Cycling will be hosting this free workshop which will include everything you need to know about commuting by bike. Epicenter will demystify the rules of the road and will be discussing equipment options, riding at night, biking with kids, locking up, and much more. The workshop will also feature a panel discussion including Andrea from Epicenter, Amelia Conlen (Director at People Power of Santa Cruz County), and local longtime commuters Gary and Rebbie, followed by a Q&A. Snacks will be provided + great deals for workshop attendees on Epicenter commuter gear!

Bike to Work/School Day! - May 8, 2014 at 6:30am - 9:30am 
Have you ever wished someone would celebrate your bike commute with free food? Well that’s what Bike to Work Day is all about! There will be 15 public breakfast sites for people who bike to work/school this day. For more information, visit the website.

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing Fundraiser for Bike to Work Day - May 8 at noon - 10pm 
402 Ingalls Street #27. 
$1 per pint will go to support Ecology Action's Bike to Work/School Program. Drink up!

Bike Party: The (Bike) Empire Strikes Back! - May 9 at 7pm - 9pm 
Meet at Bike Church, 703 Pacific Avenue. 
Bike Party is a fun, social ride every 2nd Friday of the month. The goal is to create a safe and cooperative roadway environment for all users. Bring your Star Wars inspired costumes, light sabers and polish those storm trooper boots or just come as you are! Prizes for best individual and group costumes.

Edge of Eden Music Festival (Free Bike Valet) - May 10 at 2pm - 10pm 
Take your bike to this music festival at the UCSC East Field and receive free bike parking! Parking is limited for the event anyway, and you won’t have to worry about your bike while you enjoy the show. Learn more here.

Free Bike Commuting Workshop at UCSC - May 14 at 12:30pm – 1:30pm 
Science and Engineering Library Room 332, UC Santa Cruz. 
Come to a free one-hour workshop for UCSC bike commuters of all skill levels hosted by People Power of Santa Cruz County. We’ll cover best practices for commuting to campus, including gears, laws, and routes.

Endless Summer Bike Ride - May 18, 2014 at 11am to 3pm
Soak in the sun, practice your cycling skills and explore little-known routes around Santa Cruz on this easy 8-10 mile bike ride. $6 cost includes a picnic lunch at Twin Lakes Beach. Bring a helmet and bike in good working condition. Register online here.

Free Bike Commuting Workshop - May 19, June 16, and July 21 at 6pm - 7pm 
People Power of Santa Cruz County Office, 703 Pacific Avenue. 
Biking to work is a great way to save money, stay fit and reduce your carbon footprint. Learn rules of the road, basic skills and maintenance, what gear to bring and how to make the most of your bike commute at these monthly workshops every third Monday of the month until July. People of all bike skill levels are welcome, from beginners to seasoned commuters. Register for a workshop here.

May 2014 Green Tip: Sustainable Studying

It's hard to believe the school year is coming to an end. Seniors are graduating and moving on to bigger and better things. Freshman are excited about... well, not being Freshman. Summer plans are in the making and it's all just so day dream inducing. Whether your headed to Costa Rica, a cross country roadtrip, your parents air conditioned house, or your bed for an indefinite amount of time I think it's safe to say we are all ready for a break from school.

But we all are not quite in the clear just yet. Unfortunately, we still have to finish these finals and pesky research papers.  Here are a few tips to help make sure that you are get your last quarter of studying done with sustainability in mind.

1. Reuse your study materials
Before going down to the bookstore to buy a new pack of flash cards try checking out your cards from last quarter. You might be able to just cross of the word on the front and scribble off a sentence of text on the back!

2. Resist the caffeine
Energy drinks are so bad for you and picking up a red bull or a cup of coffee every time you need an energy boost can build up to a lot of waste. A lot of the time when you feel like you need a pick-me-up your body is just dehydrated or overworked. When you begin to feel the craving for energy, take a break, walk outside, drink some water and then head back to work again. If you still feel like you're in a slump, make sure to use a reusable mug for your coffee or tea.

3. Electronics over paper
Pull up your class study guide on your tablet or computer rather than printing out a copy. This goes for all your study materials. This way you can easily sort through your work and organize everything neatly in the right order and you will reduce your paper waste.

Free Bike Commuting Workshop - May 14th

Free Bike Commuting Workshop at UCSC
May 14 12:30pm – 1:30pm 
Science and Engineering Library Room 332, UC Santa Cruz

Come to a free one-hour workshop for UCSC bike commuters of all skill levels hosted by People Power of Santa Cruz County. We’ll cover best practices for commuting to campus, including gears, laws, and routes.

UCSC Off-Campus Move-Out

Do you live off-campus? Are you moving out in June? Want to keep your unwanted items out of the landfill and the bay? Learn how at the website. The first 100 students who schedule a free pick-up during June will receive a certificate for a large pizza from Woodstock’s. 

GoSolar Workshop - open to UCSC employees!

GoSolar Santa Cruz 
Residential Solar Workshop 
Open to all UCSC Employees!

Friday, May 2 12:30 – 1:30 pm 
Kerr Hall Room 159 
RSVP to Tiffany Wise-West 
 twise-west [at] cityofsantacruz [dot] com 

 * Space is limited *

Join your colleagues for an hour-long workshop to learn how you can Go Solar in a matter of 5 Easy Steps! This workshop is free and open to all UCSC faculty, staff and student homeowners regardless of where you live!!

Did you know a solar PV system can…
  • reduce your monthly energy bill? 
  • potentially add value to your home?
  • increase protection from future energy price fluctuations?
  • reduce your greenhouse gas emissions?
In this workshop, you will learn…
  • How to understand your energy usage 
  • If your home is solar friendly 
  • How to reduce costs and finance your solar PV project 
  • What to expect and ask of your solar contractor

Bring a recent PG&E Bill and please register your account at and bring your Username and password to access your account data during the workshop.

Innovative Approaches to Sustainability at Other Campuses

Here are a few selections of the innovative approaches to sustainability taking place on other college campuses. Each of these examples was chosen because they represent ideas that UCSC could potentially implement in some form, or in some cases, already has begun to. If you see something here that you want to make a reality at UCSC, contact the Sustainability Office and we will help you direct your ideas toward fruition!

EPA Honors UCI for Zero Waste and Food Recovery Achievements

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently acknowledged the university for its zero waste and food recovery efforts. The zero waste program diverts 83 percent of the campus’ total waste materials from landfills by recycling, reusing and composting. The university has increased its food waste diversion from 90 tons in 2010 to 500 tons in 2012, when it joined the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge. The advances in university recycling programs include: Commingled bins in 170 classrooms have increased recycling from 0 percent to 75 percent in the first year of use; Hydration stations around campus that promote refillable water bottle use have reduced the use of disposable plastic bottles by 14 tons; More than 509,000 reusable bottles have been filled.Nearly 90 percent of campus events with more than 2,000 attendees are classified as zero-waste, thanks to the purchase of specialized bins. This year UC Santa Cruz has the Chancellors Sustainability Challenge but we have a lot of work to do to catch up to UC Irvine. We can do it! Take the pledge today.

U Maryland Uses Moss to Clean Pool

In an effort to reduce the amount of chemicals used to clean the university's pool, sphagnum moss aids in the cleaning process by stabilizing the pH, which makes the chlorine more effective. They had the swim team, which spent five to six hours a day in the pool — they really liked it, they also had water polo. … They said they could breathe easier. Each pool has its own surge tank, which holds water that is displaced when more swimmers climb in. A pump keeps water flowing through the tank, allowing the moss to filter the water. We should do this for our pool at OPERS.