Thursday, August 20, 2015

Get paid to fight climate change!

The UCSC Sustainability Office is looking for two passionate, knowledgeable and organized Carbon Neutrality Student Fellows to coordinate climate action engagement and planning this academic year! If you’re a UCSC student interested in climate change, creative problem solving, and student organizing and empowerment, then this is an experience you want to have!

Climate change threatens to destroy our communities and destabilise our economy with higher temperatures, extreme weather, and rising seas. At its core, climate change is an injustice hoisted onto future generations and people who have done little to create the problem, affecting first and worst the global poor. But the world is changing in more than just climatic systems, and tackling climate change promises to host co-benefits for humans and non-human beings alike. 
Be part of the transition.

The Carbon Neutrality Initiative Fellowship program, now in its second year, gives students the opportunity to engage in the rapid decarbonization of the university’s energy system through a yearlong paid internship. The Student Fellows will have the opportunity to build their knowledge of climate change science, policy and economics, social movements, campus sustainability, UC bureaucracy, renewable energy systems, climate justice, and other topics related to carbon neutrality and climate leadership.

Fellows will help coordinate a carbon reduction pledge campaign through social media, host events to garner student feedback and priorities in climate action planning, as well as gain leadership skills and explore intersectional sustainability issues through a revolutionary inter-fellowship retreat with students involved in the Global Food Initiative. The Fellows will also lead efforts to plan and execute visioning sessions and charrettes to engage the campus community in climate action planning.The Fellowship will require creative construction of programs, activities and/or campaigns to promote climate action and reduce emissions on campus and beyond.

Apply here for ER#7842, and submit a cover letter and resume that highlights your direct skills, knowledge and abilities supporting the position. Send to Chrissy Thomure, Climate Action Manager, at Feel free to contact Alden Phinney, the outgoing Carbon Neutrality Fellow, with any questions regarding student experience in the fellowship program at Applications are open until filled.

This Fellowship is open to undergrad and grad students at UCSC, though applications may be open at other UC campuses as well; check with your campus Sustainability Office for more details.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Growing and Designing Flower Arrangements and Bouquets for Special Events

Growing and Designing Flower Arrangements and Bouquets for Special Events - Saturday, July 25

Join professional flower grower Zoe Hitchner of Healdsburg’s Front Porch Farm, and Sky DeMuro of UC Santa Cruz's Alan Chadwick Garden for a workshop on special event flowers.

If you are a bride, groom, farmer-florist, or simply love playing with flowers, this workshop will delight and educate. The workshop will take place on Saturday, July 25 at the Chadwick Garden on the UCSC campus, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

The instructors will lead participants in demonstrations and hands-on activities to make unique, seasonal arrangements that are farm-fresh and elegant. In addition to basic floral design techniques, including hand-tied bouquets, centerpieces, corsages, and boutonnieres, this workshop will also cover organic growing and selection tips for those who want to grow their own flowers.

Cost of the workshop is $125 (all supplies included), or $95 for members of the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden. A discounted entry fee of $45 is available for beginning farmers (see contact information, below, to register at the discounted price). Space is limited to 20 participants and you'll take home your arrangements.

Pre-registration required. Pre-register online at For more information or to register at the beginning farmer entry fee, call (831) 459-3240, email, or see Workshops are cosponsored by the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems and the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden.

The Alan Chadwick Garden is located between Merrill and Stevenson Colleges on the UC Santa Cruz campus, near the corner of Merrill College Road and McLaughlin Drive; free public parking is available in the Merrill College parking lot.
For directions, see

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

UCOP seeks an Associate Vice President of Energy & Sustainability

Associate Vice President of Energy & Sustainability
The University of California, Office of the President invites qualified candidates to apply for a newly created leadership opportunity: Associate Vice President- Energy & Sustainability. The University of California is the state’s premier public research university and one of its largest employers. Our campuses are routinely ranked among the best in the world. The Office of the President is the systemwide headquarters of the University of California, managing its fiscal and business operations, supporting the academic and research missions across its ten campuses, labs and five medical centers.

Reporting to the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, the successful individual serves as a visionary leader and executive-level ambassador who will continue and expand the University of California's leadership role in energy and sustainability. The AVP creates collaborative opportunities among UC campus and medical center representatives from capital programs, sustainability offices, real estate, planning, facilities services, transportation, procurement, finance and other constituencies, including representatives and experts among the University’s faculty and researchers, to engage in cross-functional planning, problem-solving and innovation. 

Responsibilities include: 
  • Collaborative Leadership: Leverage the robust and leading-edge programs and practices at campuses and medical centers. Convene operational experts, researchers and key stakeholders to further UC’s progress toward aggressive sustainability and energy goals 
  • Lead and Oversee UC’s Carbon Neutrality Strategy: Oversee the refinement and implementation of the strategy and milestones needed to achieve carbon neutrality goals established by UC leadership. Oversee development of potential funding strategies and sources to effect carbon mitigation. Oversee the development and execution of a long term renewable energy strategy. Oversee work to support campuses and medical centers with resources for planning deep energy efficiency programs, zero net energy building projects and other renewable energy efficiency efforts. 
  • Develop Energy Procurement & Hedging Strategy: Oversee the development and management of the procurement and hedging strategy for the University. Plan, budget, and manage commodity price risk mitigation procedures and metrics. Oversee commodity and UC equity position contract development, negotiation and execution. 
  • Sustainability Program: Provide oversight and support to UCOP’s Office of Sustainability, which collaboratively develops, coordinates, and supports campus sustainability efforts throughout the UC system across the full range of sustainability areas. 
  • Advocacy: In consultation with UC’s government relations leadership, represent UC’s interests and strategies with Federal and State government and regulatory agencies. Monitor regulatory actions and plans in greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction, carbon mitigation, water efficiency, waste management, and other areas of utility and sustainability services. 
  • People Management: Manage a team charged with implementing the University’s strategy and achieving the strategic goals. 

Qualifications for this role include: 
  • Demonstrated understanding the interlocking roles that energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy infrastructure, energy utilities, sustainability, climate action, energy contracting and wholesale electricity markets play 
  • Demonstrated knowledge of a wide variety of sustainable practices and programs including renewable energy and other non-carbon sources of electricity. Knowledge of regulatory environment and risks facing UC as an Energy Service Provider 
  • Strong technical utility/ energy background regarding the use commodities markets and futures to hedge UC’s fuel and energy needs, including working knowledge of the regulatory agencies such as FERC, CAISO, CEC and CPUC          
  • Sound financial management expertise and oversight of matters including developing financing scenarios for energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy infrastructure and related infrastructure maintenance initiatives 
  • Ability to drive and implement energy and fuel acquisition strategies across the system 
  • Carbon compliance experience including: full understanding of CARB and carbon allowance and off-set markets, a pulse on future direction of applicable regulations and facilitation of campus carbon market positions 
  • Knowledge of real estate development, design, construction and facility operations, contracting related to design, construction, biogas development and operations, and strong negotiations skills Working knowledge of applicable laws, regulations and UC policies 

Knowledge/Experience and Education: 
  • Bachelor’s Degree required; MBA or Master’s Degree preferred 
  • Engineering, Sciences, Business and/or Management desired 
  • Sustainability emphasis desired (i.e., sustainability-oriented degree programs) 
  • Past experience with natural gas procurement preferred 
  • 10+ years’ experience in energy 
  • 10+ years’ experience in sustainable practices/policies 
  • 5+ years in an energy sales and or commodity product structuring role desirable 
  • 5+ years’ people management and/or account management experience 

For details on how to apply, please visit: and search for the position title above.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Presenting Mascharak Lab: UCSC’s first Platinum Certified Green Lab

By Lily Urmann- Green Labs Facilitator

When the Green Labs team conducted our walkthrough to certify Mascharak Lab, it would be an understatement to say that we were all impressed. The lab’s commitment to sustainability and conserving was outstanding. What was even more impressive, and rare among labs on our campus, was their teamwork and collective effort to recycle, save energy, and reduce waste in their lab. The Green Labs team is excited to announce that Mascharak Lab is UCSC’s first Platinum Certified lab- the highest award in our ranking system! I sat down with the Green Lab Zero Waste Coordinator Chris Kane to interview Indranil Chakraborty and Samantha Carrington from Mascharak lab to see how they work towards sustainability in their lab.

Chris: What is the primary focus of the work you do in your lab?

Indranil: Currently cancer is the most detrimental disease on earth. As per survey conducted by National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the year 2015, an estimated 1,658,370 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 589,430 people will die from this disease. Although chemotherapy is the most common treatment for this ailment, there are several types of cancer, which are resistant to such treatment. In addition this procedure also associated with various adverse side effects. It has been known for a while that carbon monoxide can induce pro-apoptotic effect (apoptosis is a process of programed cell death) towards hyper prolific cells like cancer cells. However, utilizing carbon monoxide as gaseous form in hospital settings is not very favorable. To utilize the therapeutic potential of this small molecule, in our lab we are designing some metal carbonyl complexes that release carbon monoxide upon light illumination. In that way we plan to deliver carbon monoxide in a more controllable and targeted fashion to eradicate cancer cells. In such pursuits we are designing such molecules where CO release can be triggered with the aid of visible light (as good a normal flash light). We are employing also some theoretical calculations to aid our design principles.

Samantha: The goal overall in this project is to bring fiber optic therapy to also help as an addition to chemotherapy. CO not only induces apoptosis in cancer cells, it actually also helps to sensitize cancer cells towards chemotherapeutics about 1,000 times. With our experience in synthesis, we are able to bring the theoretical chemistry together with the synthesis and photophysical chemistry to make these complexes very visible light active.

Chris: How did your lab hear about the Green Labs Program?

Samantha: We heard about it at the LSR meeting. They had a slide for Green Labs, and there were people representing Green Labs from Environmental Health and Safety.

Chris: What prompted you to pursue certification?

Samantha: A long time ago we were having problems with our lights because the whole light system in PSB was redone in an effort to be more “green”. It was actually really funny because they put in new light sensors in our lab; we are a photoactive lab, so our chemicals release or decompose upon illumination. These lights would go on and off by themselves, and affect the experiments. We spoke constantly with the really great electricians and people putting all the lighting to try to fix the problems, and then finally the main engineer on the project, and she said “We had no idea that people were so green!”. The reason the lighting system was changing was so that sensors were able to turn off the lights people had forgotten about and our goal was to just keep the lights off all the time.

Indranil: That’s when we reviewed the system, and deactivated the entire automated lights. Samantha: This was actually the first time anyone had ever brought up our carbon footprint and energy consumption into light because no one else works with the lights off. We started thinking about it and how we run our lab and it seems pretty efficient compared to other labs.

Chris: And I would imagine that to pursue the actual certification it sounded like the slide that offered funding incentives for labs was a motivator? Samantha: Yes, we were so excited! Lily: And once we purchase the new energy-efficient equipment for your lab, we will be able to monitor and record the savings, then re-apply for a larger grant next year and continue growing the Green Labs program to get more labs involved.

Chris: How do you communicate sustainable practices within your lab, to existing and incoming lab members? Samantha: It’s more about how we practice doing things in our lab- we would like to recycle, and in general we like to do things that make sense overall. It all fell in line with being green and sustainable. So it would be weird for half the lab to be doing one thing and for one person to be taking out recycled paper and throwing it in the trash! Indranil: When the incoming graduate students see Sam doing these things, they follow her lead and assume this is how the lab runs. Since Sam was our LSR, she’s good at giving a general overview about how to be safe and sustainable.

Chris: Are there any other sustainable practices that you plan to implement into lab for the future? Sometimes this can be hard for labs if it’s seen as a barrier to get their work done, but there's always room to improve. Samantha: A long time ago, we had a printer that printed double-sided, but it used too much ink (which was expensive). So we were trying to use less ink, and we buy the recycled paper- but when we got a new printer, it only printed one-sided. Although it’s now efficient in ink, there are always downsides. Now our goal is finding “the one” that will be good with ink AND print double-sided! This is especially important as we are trying to get everyone on the electronic inventory system, but still have to print it out- which is a lot of pages, since we are one of the largest synthetic labs on campus. We are just trying to get everything more electronic both to save paper and make our system more efficient.

Lily: How do you encourage members of the lab to be sustainable and use sustainable practices? It sounds like it comes mostly from wanting to be safe, but what advice would you give to other labs to be more sustainable? Samantha: There are both office supplies and reagents that are made for the practice of sustainability- for example, we return the empty printer cartridge for refills. There’s recycled paper that is just as cheap as regular paper and buying from certain suppliers which are known to be more sustainable than others. Often times the reagents are the same price, and the difference is how they affect the environment. These are definitely small things, but they all add up and have an impact.

Chris: I think many people have a misconception that sustainability is all about “green”, but it’s also about making sure the lab can get it’s work done safely and at an economically feasible cost.

If your lab is interesting in getting certified, please email lurmann [at] ucsc [dot] edu and check out the Green Labs Website.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Residenace Hall Waste Signage Project

I was standing next to the College Ten dumpster and couldn't figure if I should throw my domino's pizza box in the recycling or landfill dumpster. I threw it into the recycling bin because isn't that what you do with cardboard? Little did I know that you are supposed to recycle clean pizza boxes and throw away the part that has food and grease on it. I went back into my room feeling guilty about calling myself a “sustainable” person because I wasn't sure if it had made the right choice or not near the dumpsters.

As I stared at the wall in the room, I thought it would really nice to have a recycling sign on my wall to guide me through my waste disposal so I don't get confused when I'm taking out the trash from my dorm. I brought up this idea at an Education and Outreach team meeting at the Sustainability Office and we agreed that this was a good educational material for students. We planned to start this pilot project at College Nine to see how efficient dorm signage is and whether or not it aids students when throwing away their trash.

After getting approval from the CHES (Colleges, Housing and Educational Services) sustainability working group, gaining interest and support from the College Nine Senate and Resident Assistants, Rebecca Sale (Education and Outreach Team associate) and I created surveys to gain an understanding of current student behavior when it came to properly disposing waste. After the signs were created, they were placed in every College Nine Residence Hall room. We conducted waste assessments with the Zero Waste Team to measure the percent refuse before and after signage through rough visual estimates.

The waste assessment results clearly demonstrated that the signs were effective because the percent refuse increased from 53% to 65% meaning the waste contamination had decreased. In the future, we hope to extend this project to all colleges with the hope of reaching our 2020 goal of zero waste.

This project means a lot to me because all students who live in the college dorms and apartments will be able to contribute to our campus goal. Regardless of whether or not we have a specific goal, as humans, we will all work together for the welfare of Mother Earth and for each other.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

June 2015 Green Tip: Sustainable Choices to Make in the Check-Out Line

Do you wonder how to make green purchasing decisions? Below are some amazing sustainable products that are perfect for making your dorm, home, and office a greener environment this summer.


Top 10 Benefits of LED Lighting:
  1. Long Life - life time expectation of up to 100,000 hours (11 years of continuous operation)
  2. Energy Efficiency - 80-90% Energy Efficiency compared to conventional lightbulbs; this means 80% of the electrical energy is converted into light and the rest is lost and converted into other forms of energy such as heat
  3. Ecologically Friendly - free of toxic chemicals and are 100% recyclable
  4. Durable - resistant to shock, vibrations, and external impacts; excellent for outdoor lighting
  5. Zero UV Emissions - produces little infrared light and close to no UV emissions, so highly suitable for foods and materials that are sensitive to heat
  6. Design Flexibility - can be combined into any shape to produce highly efficient illumination; can be dimmed!
  7. Operational in Extremely Cold or Hot Temperatures
  8. Light Dispersement
  9. Instant Lighting and Frequent Switching
  10. Low-Voltage
Top 10 Problems with Fluorescent Lightbulbs:
  1. Frequent Switching Causes Early Failures
  2. Fluorescent Bulbs Contain Mercury
  3. Fluorescent Lights Give Off Ultraviolet Light
  4. The "Buzz" On the Fluorescent Ballast
  5. Power Quality and Radio Interference
  6. Not as Efficient at High and Low Temperatures
  7. Fluorescent Lamp Shape Cause Retrofit Problems
  8. Most Fluorescents are Not Able to be Dimmed
  9. Contaminants Cause Disposal and Recycling Issues
  10. Light from Fluorescent Bulb is Non-Directional
Did these benefits of LED lighting convince you? LED lighting has even more benefits and advantages, so make sure you go LED and save both the planet - and your money!


Every year in North America, 40 million disposable one-pound propane cylinders are used, with over four million in California alone. Because of limited, expensive recycling options, the empty cylinders are often disposed of improperly in landfills, dumpsters, household trash, campsites, on the roadside or in recycling containers.

ReFuel Your Fun, a company, has created refillable propane canisters. The new valves on the refillable one-pound cylinders work exactly the same except they can be refilled and reused hundreds of times for up to 12 years. On the other hand, disposables are costly…not only to the environment but to your pocketbook as well.

So, the next time you go camping this summer, remember to bring your refillable propane canister!


With solar ovens, the sunlight is converted into heat that is retained for cooking. Check out for information on why to use a solar oven this summer when your cooking.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

New SlugRoute App

Ever wondered where the loop bus is when you really needed it?  The new SlugRoute app was made just for that!  The mobile app tracks all loops with new LEDs signs, labeling if they are for upper campus, out of service, or a regular loop.  The app is available for Androids and will soon be available for iOS systems.  For iPhone users, you can access the app by simply navigating to

Thanks to Larry Pageler (Director of Transportation & Parking Services), Kevin Abas, Kerry Veenstra, Wade "Simba" Khadder, Emily Wong, and other students from the i-NRG lab, for developing this useful app that helps make sustainable transportation on campus easier!