Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Workshop on incorporating sustainability into UCSC Curriculum

Twenty-four faculty from sixteen departments and all five academic divisions participated in a workshop on how to incorporate themes about climate change and sustainability into curriculum last month.

The workshop, led by Ronnie Lipschutz (Politics, College 8) and Jennifer Parker (Art) was an opportunity for faculty to discuss ways to educate students across academic disciplines about climate change and sustainability by updating existing curriculum. Faculty will be invited back in Fall quarter 2016 to share their results or plans for updating existing courses.

UCOP's Global Climate Leadership Council funded workshops on all ten of the UC campuses and is developing a system-wide website, the Climate and Sustainability Education Resource Library (CSERL), where faculty can share their syllabi, course information, activities, and materials.

Here are some photos from the event.

Job Posting: Sustainability Programs Manager

The University of California, Santa Cruz Sustainability Office is excited to launch a recruitment process for a Sustainability Programs Manager! This position within the UCSC Sustainability Office will focus on policy implementation and programmatic support for (primarily) Water conservation and Zero Waste, as well as grant-writing and fundraising related to campus sustainability priorities. To find out about this position, search for job number 1606431 under Search Postings here.

A Farewell to the Seniors of the Sustainability Office

The Sustainability Office has about 30 student employees, 11 of whom are seniors this year. The office wants to celebrate their accomplishments and give them a farewell as they journey into the beginning of their post-graduate life. A few of the seniors wanted to share some things about themselves.

"And then the day came, when the risk of remaining tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom" -Anaïs Nin

Here are their stories:

Jamison Czarnecki, Carbon Neutrality Fellow, Environmental Studies/Sustainability Studies minor. 2016 

  • My best memory of working in the sustainability office is coming in during the week and seeing people laugh and have fun while they work hard to help make positive changes to the campus. We've helped each other to do better and be better, both personally and professionally. The SO has such a conscious and respectful culture that I think is something I will miss a lot. Everyone assumes the best in each other when we have discussions and work with each other. It's something I hope to carry on afterward wherever I go.
  • How do you think you've changed since you've started working here? I've been able to highlight some strengths I had before and work toward improving on some of my weaknesses. Being a carbon neutrality fellow, I've been able to have some great discussions about what carbon neutrality actually means and to be critical about it. I think that's an important lesson I'm taking away is thinking deeper about what a goal is and how an entity is getting there (what does it include, how much will it cost, why does it matter, what does it not include, etc.) I'm still very optimistic for UC's goal for carbon neutrality by 2025, but I now understand more fully how difficult of a goal it is and the big changes that need to happen to get there. It's a sense of optimistic realism that has become more apparent to me.
  • What is the most difficult part about being a senior? The most difficult part of being senior is taking the time to enjoy your last year and celebrate your hard work with your friends while you frantically work to get everything done that you wanted to accomplish. It's realizing that you actually are coming to the end of it and making sure you continue to work to the best of your abilities so that you can look back one day and say you gave it your all.
  • Is there anything you want to do before you graduate? Before I graduate, I'd like to take some time to relax in the redwoods. Smell the uniqueness of the forest, hear the birds, and enjoy the solitude. It's something I never really got to do as much as I wanted to because of my extremely busy schedule and living off campus. 
  • What are your next plans? My plans are still evolving. I interviewed for a position for a sustainability coordinator back in my home state of Indiana and if I get that, I'll be heading to IN in a month or so. If I didn't, I'm going to take some time to work and travel for a bit while working on some of the weaknesses I've identified over the last year. I'm gonna work on my family's farm and visit everyone back home for a bit and then hopefully travel outside the states which I've not yet done! I'm excited for the next chapter of my life and am grateful to everyone at UCSC and the program I was in that has helped prepare me for whatever's next. 
  • Is there anything else you'd like to say? One thing I'd like to say is, thank you. Thank you to everyone who has helped shape me become a better person both personally and professionally. I am excited for my friends that have a couple years left as I know they are going to help make this campus the best it can be. I also want to give a sincere thank you to Silas, Chrissy, Shauna, Melissa, and Elida for being a great group of supervisors that have helped me along the way in my professional career. There are so many things they've taught me. I look forward to seeing how the office expands on our programs and how they are implemented more fully within the campus.

Rebecca Sale, Education and Outreach Coordinator, Environmental Studies, 2016
  • The best thing about being a part of the SO is the fact that everyone working there is so supportive of each other. If the students have an idea for a project, the staff will help them and guide them towards the resources for success. The students also seem eager to assist the staff with their higher level work.
  • How do you think you've changed since you've started working here? I've definitely grown a lot since working here on a very personal level. This position gave me exposure to solutions to environmental problems instead of just pointing out everything that's wrong with our system.
  • What are your next plans? My very short term goal is to intern with an architect and civil engineering company to design  and implement a rainwater harvesting system at Bay View Elementary this summer. I hope this will lead to a career with sustainable city planning. 
Here are the other seniors:

  • Christian Monzon
  • Alexis Roney
  • Lily Urmann
  • Jaric Sawatdee
  • Will Watson
  • Rissy Mathias
  • Mitch Mastroni
  •  Christine Ongjoco
  • Amanda Roletti
  • Lauren Lehrer
  • Edwin Colon

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Contests and Funding: June 2016

AASHE Sustainability Awards: Deadline June 3
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability Awards is inviting faculty, students, staff, and administrators to submit applications by Friday, June 3 at 5 p.m. ET for a chance to be recognized for outstanding projects or research that advance sustainability in higher education.

Call for Submissions - Student Video Competition: Deadline June 15 
The US Department of Transportation's National Institute for Transportation and Communities is seeking videos to highlight the role transportation plays in creating livable communities. Videos must incorporate the National Institute for Transportation & Communities' theme of safe, healthy, and sustainable transportation choices to foster livable communities. Follow this link to see instructions.

Move-out program, garage-sale weekend – Earn FREE pizza from Woodstock’s

As you know, it has been a tradition at UC Santa Cruz to reduce our impact on the environment.

For students living off campus, there is barely enough time at the end of the academic year to let out a sigh of relief from finals before tackling your summer living situation. Many of us will be moving out of our current residence, and the less there is to pack-up and move, the better. So it seems like a win-win situation to lighten your load by discarding that old couch or creaky mattress on the curbside for someone else to deal with, right?

Besides the illegality of curbside dumping - for which tenants can be heavily fined by the city - the unfortunate reality is that many abandoned items end up in the surrounding forest and waterways, degrading the natural habitat of Santa Cruz. Fortunately, University Relations in partnership with the Sustainability Office is preventing forest litter by offering a stress-free summer move out services and FREE pizza!

 To minimize our impact we ask that you do the following 2-3 weeks before you move:

  • Take it home early: If you’re going home over the weekend, start taking some of your items home with you.
  • Join the citywide garage sale: Participate in the citywide garage-sale weekend, June 4-5. The event will be publicized to city residents by both the City of Santa Cruz and UCSC’s Community Relations office. Register your garage sale at http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/garagesales. If you register your garage sale online, you will receive a coupon for a free large pizza from Woodstock’s pizza.
  • Donate your items to a local charity: Only do this if your items are in good condition. Many charities are unable to take items that are ripped, stained, broken, bent, frayed or worn looking. This is especially true for bulky items such as couches, mattresses, desks, dining room tables and other large items. For more information check Goodwill’s site at http://www.ccgoodwill.org/ or Hope Services at http://www.hopeservices.org
  • As an absolute last resort, for bulky items that can no longer be reused, you can schedule a pick-up with the city of Santa Cruz in June.  These pick-ups are only for large bulky items that will be taken to the landfill. This includes mattresses, box springs, couches, and living room chairs. To arrange a bulky item pick-up, please register at http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/ucscmoveout. If you register for a bulky item pick-up, you will receive a coupon for a free large pizza from Woodstock’s pizza.

Thank you for your help and cooperation in keeping our environment and landfill free of items that can be reused.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

June 2016 Green Tip: Graduation Weekend

Sometimes, the most sustainable option is also the most enjoyable, and this is certainly the case for graduation weekend! With commencement ceremonies and celebrations with family and friends, keep these tips in mind to make the most of your weekend.

Consolidate Travel

Getting from point A to point B during graduation weekend is anything but simple since it's one of the busiest weekends of the whole year in Santa Cruz! Family coming from out of town will most likely get caught in the inbound traffic on Highway 17 or Highway 1, and parking for commencement ceremonies on campus can be challenging. Reduce stress and be part of the solution by carpooling as much as possible, show your friends and family around by bicycle (you can rent them from some places), or take the bus.


As your loved ones are watching you walk at graduation, the last thing you want is for them to feel parched and dehydrated as they sit under that hot Santa Cruz sun. Fortunately, UCSC has bottled water-free commencements, with compostable cups and water jugs available instead! You can reduce your group's waste footprint even further by encouraging them to bring their own refillable bottles to the ceremony. 

Off the Beaten Path

Going to the Boardwalk and other such "tourist" activities can be fun to do with visiting friends and family, but consider taking the time to enjoy the natural wonders of Santa Cruz. You can even host your post-graduation festivities at the beach or one of our beautiful state parks. For a more extensive look at these activities, check out this classic Green Tip!

And to everyone who is graduating this quarter, congratulations!

How are you planning on making your graduation weekend a reflection of your banana slug value of sustainability? Let us know in the comments!

Friday, May 27, 2016

June 2016: Adriana Renteria

Each month, our newsletter features a person or group on campus that is working toward a more sustainable world. This month we are featuring Adriana Renteria, the programs coordinator for the People of Color Sustainability Collective. 

Position Title(s): Program Coordinator for the People of Color Sustainability Collective

What is PoCSC?
The People of Color Sustainability Collective is an initiative that aims to make UCSC a leader in environmental justice by raising awareness about the contributions that people of color have made towards the environmental movement. We create opportunities for critical dialogue about environmental justice through student discussion spaces, student of color caucuses, social media awareness campaigns, workshops, and speaker presentations. PoCSC is an Ethnic Resource Centers’ initiative that works in collaboration with College Nine, College Ten, and the Campus Sustainability Office.

What does “sustainability” mean to you?
To me, it means living in a way that always stays true to my roots and honors my ancestors who paved the way for me. It also means living in a way that doesn’t jeopardize the ability of my future generations to live a healthy, safe, and happy life.

Why did you get involved with sustainability?
My dad was a farmworker and growing up I remember not being able to hug my dad when he got home from work until he changed out of his work clothes and into clothes that were not covered in chemicals. Growing up I always wondered why my dad would work in a place that could cause harm to himself or his family’s health. Once I got to college, I started taking courses and doing research that helped me better understand the causes of environmental injustices. I got involved with student organizing so I could learn more and help support communities like my own.

How has sustainability related to your role(s) at UCSC?
As an undergrad at UCSC, I was involved in several sustainability spaces: Take Back the Tap, Student Environmental Center, Education for a Sustainable Living Program, and IDEASS. I am currently the coordinator for the People of Color Sustainability Collective and as a part of this initiative, we host events, workshops, and speaker series where students can have dialogues about the intersections between race, ethnicity, class, gender, age, culture and the environment. Through these events we also work to challenge the mainstream definition of sustainability to be inclusive of underrepresented communities.

How do you practice sustainability in your daily life?
I try to practice sustainability in everything that I do. When I wash dishes, I’m conscious of the water I use. I try to keep track of my leftovers so I don’t waste food and I try to share rides when I can. In the winter time, I take out my Mexican blankets before I even think about turning on the heater.

Have you had a favorite sustainability moment at UCSC?
For me, I loved the 2016 Inter-Org retreat. It was great to meet new people and participate in such awesome workshops.

She asked the PoCSC interns about their favorite moments and this is what they shared:
Geena Talley: “My favorite sustainability moment was the PoCSC “Art Tools for Environmental Justice” chalk event-- I felt a huge sense of community as well as pride in our artwork and our goals."

Catherine Alfaro: “My favorite sustainability moment was going to camp Campbell and sharing a space of learning & growth with many different people all working towards different aspects of sustainability.”

Cristal Gonzalez: “My favorite sustainability moment was going on the InterOrg retreat that encompassed different perspectives and aspects of sustainability. It was great being surrounded with other folks with similar life experiences in a space that is not always reflective of that in my opinion. I also enjoyed our “Art Tools for EJ” event, in particular the aspect where we were able to create our own art. It was a very empowering experience.”

Raymond Lebeau: “I enjoyed co-facilitating Art Tools for Environmental Justice and learning about the history of the environmental justice movement.”

Are there sustainability practices you’ve picked up specific to your background or culture?
Yes, so many! When I think of sustainability, I think of “rasquachismo,” a term used in Chicanx art to describe a style that’s rooted in creativity, survival, and resourcefulness. Dr. Tomás Ybarra–Frausto who coined the term says it’s rooted in the saying “Hacer de tripas corazón” ––make do with what you have.

My mom practices rasquachismo all the time. She loves going to quinces/baptisms/weddings because it means she usually gets to take home the centerpieces that she then repurposes into a wide variety of things. She even re-gifts them sometimes! Whether it’s reusing plastic cups and utensils for parties or using old rags to stuff pillow cases, my family’s always instilled the importance of finding as many different purposes for something as possible.

If you know of a person or group on campus that you think we should profile, or if you would like to be profiled, please send us an email at susted[at]ucsc[dot]edu.