Monday, September 26, 2016

Zero Waste, Sustainability Outreach Efforts in Action at OPERS Fest

UCSC's Sustainability orgs were well represented at OPERS Fest with CASFS, the Student Environmental Center, FoCAN, the Sustainability Office, PICA, Life Lab, Take Back the Tap, IDEASS, and many other groups present.  Behind the scenes, our very own Zero Waste Team was hard at work ensuring that waste from the event was disposed of properly.  The Zero Waste Team projected that as much as 98% of waste from OPERS Fest could be diverted from landfills. The survey conducted after the event revealed that actual waste diversion was near that goal, with 97% of waste diverted.

Active zero waste efforts like the monitored 4-part waste station at OPERS Fest, are instrumental in driving UCSC towards its goal of 100% waste diversion by 2020.  Way to go, Zero Waste Team!

Photo Credit: Jessica Sanchez

October 2016: Internships, Employment, & Volunteering


GFI Internships
UC Global Food Initiative is currently recruiting for two internships. The positions available are the Food Workshop Coordinator and the Food Distribution/Pantry Coordinator, which address student food access and security, as well as overall well-being on campus. For more details, please contact Tim Galarneau, Staff Advisor tgalarne[at]ucsc[dot]edu, or Diane Villalba, Student Intern, dvillalb[at]ucsc[dot]edu, for more details!

FSWG Produce Pop-Up Stand
The Food Systems Working Group (a part of CASFS) is looking for two driven individuals to assist with the weekly organic Produce Pop-Up in Quarry Plaza. Responsibilities will include outreach and collaboration efforts, budget and finance planning, and overall assistance in weekly preparation and operation of the Produce Pop-Up stand. To learn more information about the Food Systems Working Group and the Produce Pop-Up, please visit us on Facebook and Instagram, or email project coordinator James Lande at jamlande[at]ucsc[dot]edu2-quarter commitment, 2 units per quarter.

Save The Waves Development Research Assistant
The Davenport-based organization Save The Waves has an opening for an intern to serve as the team’s development research assistant for 15-20 hours/week. The intern will support institutional fundraising, donor research, data management, maintaining and improving database functionality, and data integrity to create systems to support fundraising growth and innovation.  Job description available here. To apply, email a resume and cover letter to intern[at]savethewaves[dot]org.

Leedscape Planning and Design Co.
Leedscape Planning, a landscape architecture firm based out of Beijing, is looking for interns with experience in ecological restoration to help improve China's green infrastructure.  Leedscape is open to two forms of paid collaboration. Either an onsite internship that allows hands-on opportunities (interns may have the opportunity to travel across China for ecological assessment), or an internet collaboration that allows a more flexible schedule.  Full details on PDF.  Please send your questions, cover letter, and resume to alina[at]leedscape[dot]com[dot]cn.


City of Chico Urban Forest Manager
The City of Chico is recruiting for the full-time position of Urban Forest Manager.  Responsibilities include implementing an urban forest management program in City parks and public spaces and coordinating with public and private agencies.  Minimum qualifications include a bachelor's degree, five years of arboricultural experience, and experience in public relations.  Full description and application here.  Please direct questions to Amanda Strand at amanda[dot]strand[at]chicoca[dot]gov  Recruitment closing date of Thursday, October 13, 2016, at 5:00 p.m.


Open Streets Santa Cruz
Open Strets Santa Cruz is in need of 50 enthusiastic volunteers to turn West Cliff Drive into a car-free pop-up park!  Event is on Sunday, October 9th, from 9am to 2pm.  Volunteers are asked to sign up for a 2-hour shift and will be rewarded with pizza and a stylish T-shirtSign up here and be sure to attend the orientation meeting (pizza provided) on Tuesday, October 4, 2016, 6:00 - 7:30pm at Louden Nelson Community Center (301 Center St.).  Please direct questions to Maura Connolly at maura.c.connolly[at]alumni[dot]wfu[dot]edu.

Grazing on the Green
The Offset Project (TOP), is seeking volunteers for their upcoming Grazing on the Green food, wine and beer festival in Aptos Village Park. The event is a benefit for the Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group, and is slated from 12-4 pm on Saturday, September 24.  Volunteers are asked to arrive at 1130 am and monitor compost/recycle/trash stations,  educating festival goers on how to properly dispose of "waste" in order to divert material away from landfill. TOP staff will steward and sort all bags a second time.  Please contact Abbie at abbie[at]theoffsetproject[dot]org to sign up.

Nine Campus Labs Receive Green Labs Certification

The UCSC Sustainability Office's Green Labs Program has announced certifications for nine on-campus labs.  A Green Labs certification verifies a lab's commitment to energy efficiency, waste reduction, and green procurement of lab materials.  This announcement doubles the number of certified labs on campus.  The distinguished labs were Kellog, recieving a copper certification, as well as Gifford and Lockey receiving the silver cert.  Boeger, Braslau, Habicht, Zihlman, and Galloway all received gold certifications.  The Strome Lab, a sustainability superstar, received the highest honors with a platinum certification.  Congratulations, green labs!

Friday, September 23, 2016

October 2016: Classes, Training, Community

Smart Cycling Classes 
A two hour intensive class that covers how to do a basic bike check, braking basics, gear shifting, proper helmet fitting, locking bikes, commuting tips, and sharing the road. Thursday, Oct. 6, 5:00–7:30pm, or Friday, Oct. 7, 5:30–8pm Cowell College Room 132. Pre-registration is required at (831) 459-5146 or

UCSC Farm Produce Pop-up 
Come and enjoy the UCSC Farm Produce Pop-up on Thursdays from 10am to 3pm at the Quarry Plaza! FSWG will have a variety of vegetables and flowers from the UCSC CASFS Farm and select fruit from the Downtown Farmer's Market. They are now accepting EBT/CalFresh so please come by and use your benefits! The purpose of  the pop-up is to bring the Farmer's market to UCSC for students and to increase access to healthy and affordable food for all. If you have any questions, please contact Alyssa Billys at abillys[at]ucsc[dot]edu.

Sustainability Studies Minor
The minor incorporates courses offered by College Eight and departments across campus, student-initiated classes through the Education for Sustainable Living Program, and an interdisciplinary capstone. The minor is open to all UCSC students. For more information, click here.

Santa Cruz Fruit Tree Project is in negotiations with the City of Santa Cruz about expanding our first-ever community orchard. In early 2015 they planted 12 fruit trees in Riverside Gardens Park, and have a agreement on a plan to add about 25 more trees, across the street, in Mike Fox Park this winter. 

October 2016: Contests and Funding

Carbon Fund
Do you need funding for a green project? The UCSC Carbon Fund is a granting body that funds students, staff, and community sustainability projects. If you have a project geared towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions on campus or in the community, consider applying for a Carbon Fund grant! The application info session is on Wednesday, October 26th. Check their website as the date approaches for the time and location.

Bioneers Conference Scholarship
In an effort to make the Bioneers Conference accessible to a wider and more diverse group of people, we are thrilled continue the partnership between Bioneers and the Kresge Common Ground Center at UC Santa Cruz to bring students, faculty, staff, and recent alumni to the conference at a reduced rate of $45 per person per day (or $125 for the entire 3-day conference). You will not find more affordable tickets for Bioneers than this!  Regular price is $420 for 3-days. Click here to learn more and apply!

Project Green Challenge 
Project Green Challenge is a 30 day contest, from October 1-30, for high school and college students who are interested in health, wellness, the environment and eco-conscious living. Sign up here.

October 2016 Green Tips: Back to School/Halloween

Sometimes, the most sustainable option is also the most enjoyable, and this is certainly the case for the new school year approaching and Halloween. With the new season and one of the most festive holidays approaching, keep these tips in mind to make the most of your weekend and can save you money, and help the environment!

Safe and Sustainable Routes to School 
Instead of driving alone, start a carpool, bike train, or group walk! You'll each save time, energy, and fuel.

Healthy Meals 
Sometimes with our busy work or school schedule, we seem to not give enough time to preparing meals. This may lead to purchasing food from from elsewhere such as a fast-food restaurant, etc. But before you spend your money and contribute to adding more garbage to our landfills, take some time to get up earlier than usual to prepare your meals for the day. Use reusable containers to pack and store your meals. Having breakfast, lunch and dinner are essential meals you need in order to maintain your body with enough energy for the day.

Buy Smart or Reuse Your Supplies!
School supplies can be expensive. Check out a local thrift store or dollar store to buy some neat school supplies. Thrift stores often have awesome and unused school supplies for really, really cheap. If you happen to have supplies from previous years, try to reuse those supplies. This can save you tons of money on supplies and reduce your waste.

Celebrate Halloween, make it green! 
Did you know that many costumes sold in stores contain toxic chemicals like PVC and phthalates? Gross! Instead, be creative by making your own costumes out of repurpose clothes, or fashion costumes from recycled materials. Another tip is thrift shopping for costumes, or asking a friend to let you borrow an unused costume they might have.

Give Out Healthy Treats
Instead of giving out sugary candy, consider giving out healthier treats. Such as oranges, trail mix, granola bars, and stickers.

Use recycled paper to create your crafty cut-outs of bats, pumpkins, and other spooky characters to decorate your windows. Decorating your home with locally grown pumpkins will help reduce your carbon footprint and waste.

Have a low waste party
Maybe instead of purchasing decorative disposable plates, cups, and utensils, use silverware and compostable utensils. Check out your local thrift store to purchase your items. Have your guests toss their used utensils in a bin to be rewashed and reused. Don't forget to recycle cans, and compost leftovers!

October 2016: Ariel Wexler

Each month, our newsletter features a person or group on campus that is working toward a more sustainable world. This month we are featuring Ariel Wexler, the volunteer coordinator for Long Way Home. 

Position Title(s): The Volunteer Coordinator at Long Way Home

What is Long Way Home? 
Long Way Home is a nonprofit that uses sustainable design and materials to create self-sufficient that promote education, employment and environmental stewardship. They are currently building an 18 classroom campus school in a predominantly Kaqchikel Maya town in the western highlands of Guatemala, using alternative construction techniques. To date, they have used over 400 tons of trash in their construction projects! There are 118 students enrolled from grades K through 8th, and will have the capacity to support over 300 students from K through 12th grade once construction is complete.

College affiliation and graduation year from UCSC? 
Stevenson College, Class of 2015 How were you involved with sustainability at UCSC? My first year living in Stevenson College I got involved with PTAGS (Path to a Greener Stevenson) and the Stevenson Garden which allowed me to attend Inter-Org retreat. Soon after I was on the planning committee for the following retreats. For a year and a half I was an assistant on the Education and Outreach team at the Sustainability Office. I was also very involved with PICA (Program in Community and Agroecology). I was a PICA resident for three years and a Program Assistant for one year. One of my most rewarding experiences was getting the opportunity to co-facilitate an ESLP (Education for Sustainable Living Program) course called “Decolonize your Food System.”

How did your experiences at UCSC prepare you for life after college? 
As an Environmental Studies major I was taught the skills to think critically about the complexities of environmental problems/solutions. Often times when there seems like a clear or right solution to a problem it is always so much more complex. It has helped me think more holistically about what “sustainability” really means. Really, my time at UCSC was most beneficial because it gave me a network of wonderful, passionate, and inspiring individuals that also want to make real solutions in the world.

What are you currently up to? 
Currently, I am living in San Juan Comalapa, Guatemala as a Volunteer Coordinator for Long Way Home. A non-profit organization that has been building a school using green building techniques. Currently, the school has 118 students, grades K-8. Thus far LWH has used over 400 tons of trash and 14,000 tires in their construction. I love working for a project that has been able to turn sustainability from theory to practice. My main focus is to make sure that our volunteers have a great experience while working with us! Check out Long Way Home’s website.

Do you have any advice for current students? 
Not too stress too much about life post-college. Try to enjoy where you are at in this moment in time. I know it is easier said than done. Last year I definitely found myself all consumed with questions about what type of career or job I was supposed to/should be doing. I’ve learned that every experience good or bad may lead you on a completely different path. I think it’s best to take it experience/job at a time and learn about the things you enjoy and don’t enjoy and then move on from there.