Wednesday, April 1, 2015

UCSC's 2nd Annual Walk to Class Challenge Day!

UCSC's 2nd Annual Walk to Class Challenge Day will take place on April 28, 2015! Get ready, registration is open April 1st- 27th, and the first 60 students to register will receive a free event t-shirt.

The challenge is a student-led effort to promote walking as a viable and sustainable transportation mode for cross-campus travel, reduce UCSC’s carbon footprint, and help students make more sustainable choices for themselves and the environment.

Register on TAPS website, here. There is no cost to participate. Upon completion of the event and final survey, participants will be entered to win a $50 Visa gift card! Help spread the word! Challenge your friends! Like our page, follow us, post pictures of the awesome short cuts you take to travel across campus for a chance to win more prizes!

To stay updated with the event follow along on social media:
Instagram: @walktoclasschallenge
FB: Facebook/Walk to Class Challenge

For more information visit TAPS or contact Laura Gracia at lgracia [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

April GreenDrinks: Can Smart Technology Save Us from Ourselves?

Can we design and create sustainable systems using green technologies successfully?

A new program at UCSC is exploring the possibilities: Impact Designs - Engineering and Sustainability through Student Service (IDEASS) is a 9-month upper division service-learning program geared for entrepreneurial students who are working on experimental sustainable designs at the edge of innovation. These projects focus on a range of sustainable technologies and practices in the built environment, such as energy, water, food, transportation, and waste.

Come to the April GreenDrinks on Monday April 6th at 5:30pm - 7pm at Vino Prima on the Wharf and learn about some of the current IDEASS projects:
  1.  Aquaponics in the rooftop greenhouse at Thiammin Labs: Aquaponics uses the methods of hydroponics and aquaculture to grow plants and fish simultaneously. The IDEASS team is building a demonstration system for the rooftop greenhouse at Thiammin Labs to education students and the general public about the many advantages of aquaponics for sustainable food systems and urban gardening.

  2. Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition: Industry Standards for Off-Grid Solar Lanterns: IDEASS students are working with the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) to evaluate sustainable off-grid solar lighting options for impoverished African communities in Kenya and Malawi. Their strategy includes life cycle analysis for selected products; developing a reference set of Design for the Environment criteria for manufacturers; and creating and promoting an open-source database providing data and instruction manuals for producing, repairing, and safely disposing of solar lanterns or its parts.

  3. TowerDome: Embracing the legacy of Buckminster Fuller, this team is experimenting with icosahedral geometry to challenge green-building designs that persist in their reliance on orthogonal right angles. A scale model of a TowerDome is under construction and the team is exploring how this structure might be adapted to support advanced wind turbine designs.

  4. Digital Storytelling for Sustainable Communities: Undergraduate Film & Digital Media majors at UCSC are collaborating with professional videographers to produce four 5-7 minute “digital narratives’ following the development of several sustainable design initiatives in our community. As they work to produce these stories each undergrad is mentoring a group of teenage youth and introducing them to the various phases of film production. Their goal is to introduce these youth to the exciting world of green-technology and inspire them with the confidence to pursue “green-tech careers”. The final productions will be presented for public screening in the theater at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center in September, 2015.
Green Drinks is an informal networking event where environmentally-minded people meet over drinks. If you have questions or comments, please contact greendrinks [at] ecoact [dot] org. Visit the Facebook page for updates. Green Drinks are also being held around the world. Find out where else here

Sustainability 2014 Annual Progress Report

Ever wanted to see the accomplishments UCSC has made towards reaching the Campus Sustainability Plan goals? The Sustainability 2014 Annual Progress Report is now up and has highlighted achievements in each topic of sustainability, the Working Group Leaders behind them and the metrics to back it up!

April 2015: Internships, Employment, & Volunteering


Are you interested in working to make our campus operations, infrastructure, and physical environment more environmentally and socially sustainable? The PSI program is a great way to get involved! We pair students with staff mentors to plan and implement a year-long campus sustainability project. Students receive internship credit for the fall, winter, and spring quarters and a $1500 scholarship upon completion of the program. Environmental Studies Senior Exit can be fulfilled with this program. Student applications are due April 28th. Mentor applications for departments to host an intern are due April 10. Share this opportunity on Facebook here.

Want to help plan and implement the second Annual Transportation & Social Justice Festival this spring? Interested in promoting sustainable and active transportation at UCSC? The Student Environmental Center Transportation Campaign is seeking 2- and 5-units interns for spring. Contact Jordan Le at jsle [at] ucsc [dot] edu for more information. Learn more about the Campaign on the SEC website.

FSWG seeking Food & Garden Guide Editor
FSWG is seeking a student to lead the construction of the 2015-2016 Campus Food and Garden Guide in its 10th anniversary! Position consists of outreach for content management, meeting with the core team, and supporting the process through the end of Spring Quarter. Must commit to 10 hours a week, starting March 2nd. Stipend is available. Contact Crystal at cowings [at] ucsc [dot] edu to apply or for more information.

UC Santa Cruz Bike Library Seeking Intern 
Did you know we have a bike library at UCSC? Are you looking to earn 2-units through a hands-on, biketastic internship? Look no further than the UCSC Bike Library. Contact bikelibrary [at] ucsc [dot] edu to apply and for more information. 

The Environmental Studies has many different internship opportunities available for spring. These 2 and 5-unit internships are open to all majors. Review some of the internships and learn how to apply on the Environmental Studies website here. Contact Chris Krohn for more information and additional internship listings at ckrohn [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

The Food Systems Working Group has an exciting new cadre of student leaders working across their partnerships with Dining, the Farm, and Garden efforts. Are you looking for an internship to join them? Email ucscfswg [at] gmail [dot] com if you'd like to find out more!

Student Seeking Successor to Carry On Renewable Energy Project
Interested in increasing student awareness about renewable energy and looking to complete a graduation requirement? A UCSC student is graduating and looking for a motivated, responsible, and environmentally engaged individual to take over her project, which consists of grant writing for various projects, including a recharging solar station on the UCSC campus. The project continues through 2016. Please contact Jazmin Orozco, at jorozco3 [at] uscsc [dot] edu for more information.

PowerSave Campus Seeking Interns
UCSC PowerSave Campus is hiring for-credit interns! Looking for two units and an opportunity to learn energy efficiency awesomeness through hands-on work? Need a course that covers the PR general education requirement? If so, this internship is for you! Send a resume to powersave [at] googlegroups [dot] com with you interest. Space is limited, so apply now!

RE-volv Seeking Intern Passionate About Renewable Energy 
RE-volv is looking for driven, creative and passionate college students to participate in the Ambassador Program fellowship program for one academic year. For more information about RE-volv and how to apply, click here.

Santa Cruz Fruit Tree Project Seeking Interns
Santa Cruz Fruit Tree Project are seeking interns to help plan community harvest events, as well as organizing other aspects of operations. For more information, visit Fruit Tree Projects website here and contact Steve at steve [at] santacruzhub [dot] org.

Internship Interviewing Farmers about Climate Change
Interested in the impact that climate change is having on crops and other aspects of our local community? Contact Roland Saher if you're interested in obtaining internship credit to explore this topic by emailing rolandsaher [at] gmail [dot] com.

Get internship credit to promote sustainable, active, community-building, awesome parties--Santa Cruz Bike Party! Held on the second Friday of each month, Bike Party creates a safe and cooperative roadway environment for all road users. Riding together builds strong community! If you're interested in getting Environmental Studies internship credit to support this community event, please email Tawn at tawn.kennedy [at] gmail [dot] com. Visit the website here.

Writers & Social Media Interns Wanted for Hilltromper
Hilltromper, the one-stop outdoor recreation web resource for Santa Cruz County, is looking for an intern to help run the calendar, write about recreation and the environment and contribute to social media. Tromping strongly encouraged! If interested, please email Traci [at] hilltromper [dot] com.

Become a Santa Cruz Sierra Club Intern
Want to be informed about issues and decisions about Santa Cruz county? Want to explore, enjoy and protect the environment- all for academic credit? The Santa Cruz Sierra Club is seeking interns for spring 2015 through the Environmental Studies department. Positions are open to all majors. Email Melissa Ott at [at] sierraclub [dot] org, or visit the websiteFacebook, and MeetUp page for more information.

Summer Climate Fellowships Available 
University of New Hampshire's Sustainability Institute is inviting applicants to apply for a fellowship. Some fellows may be based in Durham, NH or Boston, MA, or Bozeman, MT. Time commitment requires 40 hours per week, from June 1-August 14th, 2015. For more information, or to apply, click here.

Green Drinks Seeking Coordination Support
Green Drinks is an informal networking event where environmentally-minded people meet over drunks. Green Drinks are seeking coordination support and aims to better serve the Santa Cruz community. Contact hannahjoyhodgson [at] gmail [dot] if you are interested. For more information, visit the Green Drinks website.

Coastal Watershed Council Internships Available
The Coastal Watershed Council (CWC) has many great internship opportunities to learn about local watersheds, build your resume, and contribute to cleaner, healthier watersheds in Santa Cruz. They're looking for motivated college and high school students. For more information, call (831) 464-9200 and view a full list of internship opportunities here.

The Offset Project, located in Monterey, California, works to implement sound waste policies and environmental stewardship, is seeking a Sustainability Program Intern. The intern would start immediately and must commit to a minimum of 6 months and 5-10 hours per work for credit (unpaid). If you are interested, please e-mail a resume and cover letter to Kristin: kristin [at] the offsetproject [dot] org

CSSC Field Organizer Program Internships Available
The California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC) Field Organizer Program is a series of paid, unpaid volunteer, and unpaid course credit positions that allow students and recent alumni to get real, on-the-ground organizing experience in the climate justice movement. For more information and to apply, visit the website.

myActions on Campus has recognized UC Santa Cruz's commitment to develop next generation leaders and is inviting our students to for two paid internships! Last year 75 campuses across the nation participated, driving over 100,000 sustainable projects and actions in a plethora of communities. These internship roles include Sustainability Campus Intern and Community Service Campus Intern. Don't wait, create change now. For more information visit myActions on Campus page.


On-Campus Sustainability Office Seeking Climate & Energy Analyst: Open Until Filled 
This position supports the implementation of energy efficient projects through auditing, diagnostic software and data logging equipment. You compile results of building surveys, analyze trends, energy issues, optimize system selection and gather and analyze greenhouse gas emission data to support campus climate action plan. The position remains open until filled. Position works 20-40 hours, from Monday through Friday at flexible times. For more information and to apply, visit the UCSC ER System, and use ER #7695.

On-Campus Sustainability Office Seeking Climate Action Analyst: Open Until Filled
This individual collects, compiles and analyzes data pertaining to projects in development, implements educational programs, conducts research, coordinates and collaborates with other Climate Action Interns, and edits documents, schedules meetings, etc. For more information and to apply, visit the UCSC ER System and use ER #7696.

On-Campus Sustainability Office Seeking Carbon Fund Outreach Coordinator: Open Until Filled
Student provides outreach and communications, attends pertinent events and classes. They act as a liaison between the community and funded projects. Student must intimately understand funded Carbon Fund projects and track their individual accomplishments. The position also requires extensive reporting, documentation and administrative duties. For more information and to apply, visit the UCSC ER System and use ER #6161. 

On-Campus Sustainability Office Seeking Carbon Fund Student Facilitator: Open Until Filled 
The position requires that you support the implementation of energy efficiency projects through auditing, software, and data logging equipment. The individual will also gather and analyze greenhouse gas emission data to support the campus climate action plan. For more information and to apply visit the UCSC ER System, and use ER code #7695.

Under general direction, develops, plans and administers design, implementation and analysis of bicycle and pedestrian projects and studies in Orange County, California. For more information about salary, qualifications, and responsibilities, here.

Post-Landfill Action Network is hiring a Resource Development Fellow who will write comprehensive, engaging and advanced training manuals to provide resources for students to begin, expand and troubleshoot zero waste programs on their campus. For more information, and to apply, click here.


The Student Union Assembly and the Sustainability Office's Zero Waste Team are teaming up to coordinate the First Annual Campus Clean-Up Day on April 25th! They hope to create an event that motivates campus users to properly dispose of waste and encourages campus stewardship. Contact Christian at cmonzon [at] ucsc [dot] edu for more information.

Help Plan a 50th Anniversary Sustainability Film Festival
Do you have a love for organization and planning? Interested in sustainability and have a passion for cinema? Then this is the opportunity for you! Join the Sustainability Office in planning a Sustainability themed Film Festival in celebration of UCSC's 50th Anniversary! To partake or for more information, email Meghan Neureither at mneureit [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

Join Central Zone Waste Reduction Team for Conservation Carnival 
The Central Zone Waste Reduction team is planning an on-campus event with games, crafts, music and prizes all focused around water conservation and sustainable living practices and are searching for volunteers to help with the event. The event will take place on Saturday, April 18th time TBA. If you are interested stay tuned for more information or contact Madeline Halluin at mhalluin [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

Volunteer or lead a workshop at the SEC's 14th annual Campus Earth Summit Event on Friday, April 24th in the College 9/10 Multipurpose room from 11am-4pm. There will be fresh local food, tabling, keynote speakers, student art, entertainment and much more. To lead a workshop or contribute to the art gallery, contact Tatiane gefter at tgefter [at] ucsc [dot] edu. To table or volunteer, view this Google Document and then contact Lucia Calderon at lecalder [at] ucsc [dot] edu with shift(s) you are interested in. Some of the volunteer opportunities include: Volunteer Check-In, Attendee Check-In, Food Helper, Workshop Volunteer, Crafts Assistant, and Clean Up. Visit the Facebook event here.

College 8 Earth Week Facilitation Opportunity
Interested in facilitating an event? College Eight Earth Week planners are looking to collaborate with various organizations for Earth Week 2015, the week of April 22. This year's theme is "Your Plate: The effect your food choices have on you and the world around you." Contact Derek Dean at drdean [at] ucsc [dot] edu for more information.

Kresge Common Ground Center Needs Workshop Leaders for UCSC Bioneers Conference 
Kresge Common Ground Center is partering with Bioneers to host the first annual Bioneers Conference, bringing visionaries and leaders in environmental and social justice to campus. However, they cannot do it alone! The Common Ground Center is looking for student keynote speakers and student/faculty/community members to lead workshops! The event will take place on May 1st-3rd at Kresge College. Click here for more information about the conference and/or submit a proposal.

Want to get your hands dirty and nurture the plants in our campus gardens? Visit the calendar to find out when garden work days are happening here.

Green Building Student Alliance
Have you ever wondered what goes into making a building energy, water, and waste efficient? How can UCSC support sustainability in building designs and retrofits? Tatiana Gefter (Green Building Campaign Coordinator for the Student Environmental Center), Grant Waldron (Provost's Sustainability Intern for Climate Action), and other students are collaborating to create a Green Building Student Alliance. This group will serve as a student advising resource to campus architects and project managers with a goal of increasing student participation in campus infrastructure design to keep the environment in mind. Email Tatiana at tgefter[at]ucsc[dot]edu for more information and to join!

The UC Global Food Initiative aims to address global issues in the food system. All 10 UCs are working collectively towards this effort to support sustainable agriculture, healthy eating, and food security. UCSC is playing a critical role in this effort with the support of the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. Join a subcommittee and get involved by contacting ucscfswg [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

Become a Student Blogger for CSSC
Interested in sharing your campus' work with a broad statewide coalition? CSSC is currently seeking new student bloggers! Email info [at] sustainabilitycoalition [dot] org for more details. Learn more about CSSC on the blog here.

The Arboretum has volunteer gardening hours throughout the week. Visit their website for details. 

Sea Slugs is an ocean-minded campus organization dedicated to environmental stewardship. It is an excellent opportunity for students (both undergrad and grad) to engage in the greater community through public service while making a positive impact on the local environment. For information about meeting times and opportunities, contact Sea Slugs at seaslug.ucsc [at] gmail [dot] com or visit their website.

Join Banana Slugs for Animals
Banana Slugs for Animals welcomes all to their weekly meetings. During the meetings they discuss Animal rights and plan events! They will be having a film screening of "Earthlings" (Date and time TBD). If you would like to know more please email slugsforanimals [at] gmail [dot] com. 

Get Involved with Integrated Climate & Energy Study
Interested in climate and energy sustainability? Want to get hands-on experience exploring these topics in relation to our campus? Chrissy Thomure, Climate Action Manager in the Sustainability Office, is coordinating an Integrated Climate & Energy Study with key stakeholders and a consultant. The study launches this year, and students are encouraged to participate! Email Chrissy at cthomure [at] ucsc [dot] edu to find out more information.

Bike to Work Needs Volunteers
Do you love bikes? Do you love people? Then volunteer for Bike to Work Day! Volunteers are absolutely vital to this program, and opportunities range from supply/food packaging for the 50+ sites on May 6th, helping check in participants, and so much more. Contact Emily Glanville at (831-515-1328) for more information and to get involved.

Call for Students! Conduct Free Local Business Energy Audits
Interested in greening offices and energy conservation? The Green Impact Campaign is a national student-powered movement working to raise awareness of energy consumption. Become part of the movement today and join Green Impact Campaign, here.

Global Student Embassy Seeking Garden Leader
Global Student Embassy (GSE) Santa Cruz initiates and runs several high school garden projects here in Santa Cruz county. Would you or someone you know be interested in engaging in GSE projects as a core team member? A commitment would involve some combination of meeting one to two times/month, planning for community workdays, leading after school workdays, and facilitating discussion-based workshops. Contact Wyeth Wunderlich at wyeth [at] globalstudent embassy [dot] org to participate in this awesome program.

Sprout Up Environmental Education Opportunity 
Sprout Up Santa Cruz is seeking college student-instructors instructors to deliver free environmental education to 1st and 2nd graders in the Santa Cruz community, cultivating the next generation of passionate caretakers of the earth. Commitment is maximum 3 hours/week for 8 weeks, by UCSC academic quarter. For more information, please contact directorsc[at]sproutup[dot]org, and visit their website at Drop in info session will be held Tuesday 3/3 12pm-3pm at the Thimann Greenhouses (top floor of Thimann Labs)!

The Bike Church Community Repair Shop Seeking Volunteers
Have a knack for cycling, biking and learning to maintain bikes? Interested in learning to divert bike parts from the waste stream? Then this is the opportunity for you! Click here for more information. 

Community Engagement with San Lorenzo River Alliance
Help the San Lorenzo River Alliance have more positive attention on and more positive engagement with the San Lorenzo River by signing up to be a community engagement volunteer. To learn more or volunteer, email Laurie Egan at legan [at] coastal-watershed [dot] org. Learn more here.

Teach K-12 Watershed Conservation Lessons
Council Watershed Council presents lessons to K-12 grade students at public schools throughout the county. Volunteer to present lessons on the link between watersheds and our water supply, recycling and composting, water pollution prevention, how to pack a trash free lunch, wise energy use, and many other topics related to climate change and wise resource use. To learn more and sign up, email Stew Jenkins at sjenkins [at] coastal-watershed [dot] org or call him at (831) 464-9200. Learn more here.

Carneros Creek Winter Monitoring
Want to gain field experience in beautiful wetland areas? Volunteer with the Carneros Creek Water Quality Monitoring Program to help monitor seasonal Carneros Creek, a primary freshwater tributary to Elkhorn Slough. You'll be professionally trained to test for field measurements and flow, including how to collect water samples that will be analyzed at a certified lab for bacteria, nutrients, total suspended solids, and pesticides. Contact Debie Chirco-Macdonald at djchirco [at] coastal-watershed [dot] org or (831) 464-9200 to get involved. Learn more here.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Upcoming Common Ground Center Events

The mission of the Kresge Common Ground Center is to create cultural change for social justice, environmental regeneration, and economic viability. They act as a catalyst and facilitator of systemic change through undergraduate action-education, research, advocacy, and civic engagement. The Center has a large base of community support from its existing programs in Nonviolent Communication, Restorative Justice, Transformative Action, The World Café and the Kresge Garden, as well as existing partnerships with civil society organizations promoting the values, principles and practices of Common Ground.

Spring quarter at the Common Ground Center will offer the opportunity for transformative education and hands-on permaculture skills. Christine King, will be teaching the classes Transformative Communication (2-units) and Transformative Justice (3-units) and David Shaw will be leading Collaborative Learning: Permaculture Skills and Transition Towns (2 or 5 units). The Collaborative Learning class will be hosting many well-known players in the permaculture world through the speaker series.

Below is a list of Common Ground's upcoming events this spring!

Trathen Heckman - Can we change the world in a garden?: April 9
Join the Common Ground Center's Collaborative Learning Class for their speaker series! On April 9th at the Kresge Town Hall from 2 P.M. to 3:45 P.M., Trathen Heckman will be speaking about how to change the world starting with a garden. The presentation will highlight and encourage engagement with the Community Resilience Challenge, a community action campaign that is inspiring thousands of citizens and over 100 groups regionally and nationally to take action to grow food, conserve water, save energy, reduce waste and build community. 

Community Gardens and Public Orchards in Santa Cruz County: April 11
Join the Common Ground Center's Collaborative Learning Class for their speaker series! On April 11th at the Village A3 from 6 P.M. to 8 P.M., Community Gardens and Public Orchards in Santa Cruz County with Ana Rasmussen (Mesa Verde Gardens), Steve (SC Fruit Tree Project) and others will be speaking. The mission of Mesa Verde Gardens is to empower low-income residents of Santa Cruz County to meet the immediate and basic need for food security by increasing their access to pesticide-free, fresh fruits and vegetables through the creation of small organic gardens. The Santa Cruz Fruit Tree Project promotes urban agriculture, builds community, and reduces waste by harvesting surplus fruit, hosting food processing workshops, and supporting the propagation and cultivation of fruit trees.

Jon Young - Understanding Bird Language to Bring More Presence to All That You Do: April 23
Join the Common Ground Center's Collaborative Learning Class for their speaker series! On April 23rd at the Porter Meadow from 2 P.M. to 3:45 P.M., Jon Young will come to speak about how bird language can be added to our everyday lives. Jon has been mentoring folks in the nearly lost art of understanding bird and animal language. Just as science is beginning to see the credibility in this ancient skill, Jon has been leading communities world-wide to get these skills back through lectures, workshops, media.

We Are Wiser Together - Igniting Possibilities Through Intergenerational Connection: April 26
Join the Common Ground Center to celebrate UCSC's 50th Anniversary through igniting possibilities with intergenerational communication. The event is on Sunday April 26th from 12 P.M. to 2:30 P.M. at the Kresge Town Hall.

Pandora Thomas - We Are The One's!: April 30
Join the Common Ground Center's Collaborative Learning Class for their speaker series! On April 30th at Kresge Town Hall at 2 P.M. and again at the Village A3 at 6:30pm, Pandora Thomas will speak to taking action and being the change in the world via hands-on participation. She is co-founder of Earthseed Consulting LLC, a holistic consulting firm whose work deepens the impacts of environmental advocacy in the lives of diverse communities. Most recently she directed the Environmental Service Learning Initiative as well as serving as the environmental educator for Grind for the Green. Both programs aim to reconnect youth of color to the earth using innovative strategies.

UCSC Bioneers Conference: May 1-3
The Kresge Common Ground Center will also be hosting the first annual UCSC Bioneers Conference and are looking for student keynote speakers and student/faculty/community member workshop leaders. Click here to learn more about the UCSC Bioneers Conference or to submit a proposal.

Doniga Markegard - Tools for large Scale Grassland Restoration: May 14 
Join the Common Ground Center's Collaborative Learning Class for their speaker series! On May 14th at Kresge Town Hall at 2 P.M. and again at the Village A3 at 6:30pm, Doniga Markegard will speak to large scale grassland restoration. She will show how producing food by mimicking patterns found in nature will lead to higher nutrition, carbon sequestration and returning biodiversity and abundance. Through her direct experience in stewarding rangeland in California she will provide examples of both the theory and the practice to regenerative ranching.

Patricia St. Onge - Walk Out, Walk On: May 19
Join the Common Ground Center's Collaborative Learning Class for their speaker series! On May 19th at Kresge Town Hall from 2 P.M. to 3:45 P.M., Patricia St. Onge will come to speak about a rite of passage for the people and the planet. is the founder of Seven Generations Consulting and brings over twenty years of experience leading and working with nonprofit and public sector agencies. She provides training, consulting and technical assistance in the areas of community organizing, social justice advocacy, organizational development, cross-cultural effectiveness, consensus building, spiritual & personal coaching.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Santa Cruz and Ecology Action create Complete Streets Master Plan for Santa Cruz

The City of Santa Cruz and Ecology Action has just finished created a Complete Streets Master Plan for Santa Cruz. Communities seem to reap incredible benefits from participating in Complete Streets. In a recent study of 37 projects, Smart Growth for America found that Complete Streets projects provided a variety of important positives for cities. One strong example of a positive impact is the increased biking and walking taking place in cities. Another huge advantage is compared to conventional transportation projects, Complete Streets are very affordable and provide an inexpensive way to achieve transportation goals. For a more complete analysis of the cost and benefits, please read here.

According to the Executive Summary, Complete Streets addresses congestion, climate change an oil dependence. These streets are designed and managed to allow for safe areas for pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders. Complete Streets seeks to serve everyone equally, so that all individuals can feel safe when using the streets. The project was created through the partnership of The City of Santa Cruz Public Works Department and non-profit Ecology Action. The plan was funded in Febrary 2013, by Caltrans.

An example of a program being implemented is the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Movement. It is a national movement to create a safe and even fun opportunity for children to get to school by means other than automobiles. SRTS encourages children to bike, skip, skate, scooter and walk to school! Of course, there are huge benefits when students walk, bike and take public transportation to school. Greenhouse gas emissions reduce drastically, for every vehicle mile that is replaced with non-emitting substitute, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by 1 pound on average. Student health is promoted, congestion and traffic is reduced, and there is increased safety for student cyclists and pedestrians.

Of the utmost importance to the entire process, has been the community engagement and participation. The forums focused on engaging with parents, school staff, students and public to gather input with the goal of increasing safe student sustainable transport. Two forums were held, October 23rd and 24th, 2013. The first forum was held at Santa Cruz High School, and the second was held at Harbor High School. School site walking and biking audits took place, as well as parental surveys, Student Travel Mode Surveys, Online Outreach and Input, and PTA and school meetings.

Overall, the city recommends that speed feedback signs be implemented around schools, that the city refresh existing worn crosswalks, stop bars, centerlines and SLOW SCHOOL XING pavement markings as needed. The city should continue the practice of requiring homeowners to cut back intruding vegetation and repair damaged sidewalks, conducting bicycle safety education, and to create crossing guard training to better meet the challenging work the guards perform every day.

Want to live at PICA next year?

The Program in Community and Agroecology, or PICA, is a sustainability-themed housing option at the Village. Located on the picturesque UC Santa Cruz campus, in the Village, PICA features amazing community programs like Garden Workdays, Community Meals and Sustainability Workshops. You also get your own single room, which is a huge perk!

To apply to live at PICA, please visit during the Priority Housing Application Period from April 13th-20th. On the application, mark that you "Strongly Prefer" involvement in PICA and say why in the additional comments section.

For more information, click here or contact Mira Michelle at mmichel1 [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

*Photos courtesy of PICA