Monday, October 24, 2016

November 2016 Sustainability Profile: Ivy Young

Each month, our newsletter features a person or group on campus that is working toward a more sustainable world. This month we are featuring Ivy Young, who works for Santa Cruz Community Compost Co.

big haul.jpg
Name, title, name of organization: 
Santa Cruz Community Compost Co.

What does your organization do? What is your service area?
Santa Cruz Community Compost Co. is a bicycle-powered, community oriented, compost collection service.  Customers collect their food scraps and other compostables in the bin we provide. Then, we pick it up weekly via cargo bike and deliver it to a local urban farm where we transform it into high quality fertile soil that is either returned to our customers or made available to the host farm.

How many pounds of food scraps does your organization divert from the landfill each year in creating compost? How many miles do your riders bike compost each year?
Since our first haul in June 2014 we have diverted more than 130,000 lbs of waste from the local landfill and we’re hauling around 2000 lbs more every week from around 250 local homes and businesses.  Though we don’t track our riders’ miles, we cover ground from Shaffer at Delaware all the way to 42nd Ave and even take a trip up to the UCSC faculty housing once a week.  

How did you decide to use bicycles for transporting the compost?
The idea was originally sparked by a company in Austin, TX, the Compost Pedallers, that operates using a similar model.  While bicycle transport does present some challenges, we believe in operating our business in a way that is energy efficient, inspiring and honors our core values.  Bicycles are clean, quiet and when people see us out riding it puts a smile on their face.  

What’s one of your favorite memories associated with your organization and composting?  
I’m a single mom and in the first 6 months of operating routes, I often had my then 5 year old son riding on the back of my bike with me as I trekked all over town.  He would keep me company by singing “Keep on the Sunny Side” and he would chant “go mama, go mama, go” whenever I had to go up a hill.  I feel so grateful that he has been able to share in this experience and see what is possible when you work hard for something you believe in.

How did you get involved with composting?
I grew up composting so I’m someone who feels very strange whenever I’m faced with throwing a banana peel in the trash.  Most of my previous knowledge, however was in the realm of small, backyard piles.  I have had to learn as I go about how to handle such large amounts of organic waste and I still have a lot more to learn.  I have become so excited now about the microbial universe living within a compost pile and the incredibly transformative process that occurs there that the work I’m doing is becoming a sort of philosophy to me.  

What does “sustainability” mean to you?
I don’t think that “sustainable” is just a catch phrase for the green movement.  To sustain something is to find the balance between what is possible and what is plausible.  Sustainability is getting out on your tiptoes, reaching out for your most perfect Ideal, but not letting your feet leave the ground because you can’t inspire others when you’re floating in a bubble way out of reach and it’s our collective efforts that will really make a difference.  Sustainability to me is waking up each day, doing the very best you can and believing that your neighbor is doing the same.  

Has this job influenced you to compost at home or live more sustainably in other ways?  
This work pushes me to my limits sometimes physically, socially and emotionally  and while I had always considered my lifestyle to be sustainable because I eat organic, compost, and reuse my plastic bags and twistie ties at the bulk bins, I had never considered whether my inner life, social life or physical existence were truly sustainable.  I’ve really tried in the last few years to apply the spirit of sustainable living to more than just how I consume things.  Now, I ask myself questions like, “Am I an energy efficient vehicle?”  “How does the energy I expend contribute positively to my community?”  “Where is my time/energy/spirit being wasted and where is it being transformed into something useful?”   I see the transformation that occurs in my piles--rotting detritus that smells somewhat like baby vomit becoming fresh living healthy soil that smells like the rain forest--and it gives me hope that even the most rotten things in life can, with time, be transformed into something beautiful.

NOLS Internship Details


INTERNSHIP TITLE:  NOLS Sustainability Intern

SUPERVISOR TITLE:  NOLS Sustainability Coordinator

INTERNSHIP LOCATION:  NOLS World Headquarters, Lander, Wyoming.

DATES OF INTERNSHIP:  January-May 2017 (start and end dates are flexible)

INTERNSHIP OBJECTIVE:  The NOLS sustainability intern will assist the environmental stewardship & sustainability director and sustainability coordinator with a variety of tasks related to sustainability initiatives at NOLS, community outreach, and public policy.

INTERN QUALIFICATIONS:  High school diploma. Current college students and recent graduates preferred, majoring in a related field. Familiarity with NOLS is a plus. Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to have prior experience with sustainability concepts and Microsoft Excel. On the job training will be available as needed.

PROFESSIONAL/EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES:  The sustainability intern will have opportunities to work with other departments and participate in educational activities, including:
  • Participate in a course issue day(s).
  • Develop content for the blog and social media with guidance from the NOLS marketing and creative departments.
  • Coordinate a community event.
  • Attend the NOLS Faculty Summit.
  • Participate in a NOLS seminar, space allowing.
  • College credit may be available.
  • Interns should not expect a paid position at the conclusion of the internship.

TIME COMMITMENT:  20 hours/week

STIPEND:  A bi-weekly (every two weeks) stipend of $125 is provided to help defray expenses incurred during the internship.

RESPONSIBILITIES:  Projects may include the following:
  • (40%) Manage carbon data.
  • (20%) Work with various NOLS campuses to research sustainability opportunities specific to that location (i.e. alternative fuels, farming, renewable energy, etc.).
  • (15%) Organize an Earth Day outreach event.
  • (10%) Create engaging outreach material for NOLS sustainability.
  • (10%) Participate in broader NOLS activities.
  • (5%) Perform administrative tasks as needed.

CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK:  A criminal background check is required.

E-VERIFY:  NOLS participates in E-Verify.

HOW TO APPLY:  Send cover letter and resume to:
NOLS Sustainability Coordinator - Kara Colovich   


Thank you for your interest in NOLS. Please consider providing some optional, anonymous information by completing this survey.

Kara Colovich
Sustainability Coordinator

Friday, October 21, 2016

November 2016: Contests and Funding

Big Ideas Social Impact Contest - Deadline Nov 16

In an effort to help groundbreaking initiatives get started, Big Ideas will be providing up to $300,000 to students every year for their projects. There are many categories in which you can apply to receive funding this year! If you have an idea you think is going to change the world, go check out this contest. Click here to learn more and apply!

Carbon Fund Info Session October 26 - Due November 6th
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 from 6-7:30pm in the Silverman Conference Room (131). Check their website as the date approaches for the time and location.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Presenting Supplier Sustainability at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference

by Will Watson

Last year I participated in the Provost’s Sustainability Internship (PSI) program. My internship was with Procurement Services and built off of the previous intern’s project. Procurement Services purchases everything for our campus from paper to soap, to million dollar microscopes, to determining what large soda provider gets contracted with our campus.

The companies that provide our campus with goods and services are called suppliers. The intern before me worked to benchmark 10 of UCSC supplier’s operations pertaining to sustainability, such as “Does your company have an Environmental Protection Policy?” or “Does your company occupy any LEED certified buildings?” My project started as an expansion of the previous interns work, but evolved into something entirely new.

My mentor and I started communicating with a local consulting firm, EcoShift Development, about utilizing their cloud based supply chain platform, SupplyShift, for the extension of our project. UC San Diego used SupplyShift for a life science supply chain benchmarking project in 2014. Further, UCSC’s SupplyShift pilot looked at how a cloud based benchmarking platform could connect Procurement Departments, aggregate purchasing power, and influence our suppliers operations. UCSC modified UC San Diego’s scorecard, supplier survey, and aimed to benchmark suppliers from each category: Life Sciences, Information Technology Services, and Maintenance, Repairs, and Operations.

The project targeted 46 suppliers with a 63 percent response rate. This is just the tip of iceberg for UCSC’s supply chain though, which includes over 10,000 annual suppliers. The project results were presented in coordination with UCSD at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, spreading awareness and the potential for benchmarking supply chains.

The project is continuing this year, with a myriad of options and areas to expand. If the waste, carbon footprint, social equity, or other problems associated with purchasing mass quantities of goods for UCSC concerns you or interests you, read project updates on Project Clearinghouse or contact the Sustainability Office at[at]ucsc[dot]edu to get involved.

Friday, September 30, 2016

UCSC Recognized for Higher Ed Sustainability Achievements

If there were a class in sustainability higher education, UCSC would be getting an A+. In the last few months, UC Santa Cruz received recognition from three institutions that rate universities and colleges for their higher education sustainability efforts.

In June, we earned a gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking and Rating System (STARS)--up from a silver rating in 2015--for our commitment to sustainability. STARS is designed by AASHE to be a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. Learn more about our Gold STARS rating here.

Then, just last month, the Sierra Club's Sierra magazine released its 10th annual “Cool Schools” ranking of America’s greenest colleges and universities. More than 200 schools participated in Sierra’s extensive survey about sustainability practices on their campus, and UC Santa Cruz is one of three UCs to be in the top 20! Coming in at #18, the ranking underscored UC Santa Cruz’s strong commitment to protecting the environment, addressing climate change, and encouraging sustainability. Read why Sierra says we're #18 in the nation here.

Finally, we are also on the Princeton Review's Green Colleges Honor Roll again this year, coming in at #32. The listing cites UC Santa Cruz for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, ‘greening’ design and construction projects on campus, and integrating sustainability at every level. Read the full story here.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Metro Service to Safeway

The Route 20 Metro bus (UCSC via Westside) now serves the Almar Shopping Center, which includes Safeway, Panda Ex-press, Ace Hardware, Almar Cleaners, Great Clips, a UPS store, and the Westside Coffee Company. Five weekday trips starting at 6:15pm and five weekend trips starting at 4:20pm will serve these businesses, located on Mission Street at Almar Avenue. Look for Route 20 schedule information here

Welcome to Fall Quarter

Dear UCSC Sustainability Newsletter Reader,

UC Santa Cruz has a big year of sustainability ahead. We are in a four-year countdown to the year 2020, which is the goal year for a number of University of California systemwide sustainability measures, like Zero Waste and Real Food. We've got four more years to achieve our goals, and it's up to all of us to join in these efforts.

This year, our campus is also developing an updated Campus Sustainability Plan (CSP) for 2017-2022. The CSP provides a comprehensive framework for advancing sustainability in four interconnected topic areas on campus, and it will identify goals, strategies, and actions to guide and track our campus progress. Read previous years' CSPs on our website here, and stay tuned for opportunities to share your input on the new CSP.

We're also excited to announce that Kristen Lee has joined our office as the new Sustainability Programs Manager. She will be focusing on zero waste, water conservation, and grant writing for sustainability. To learn more about Kristen, read her interview here.

Over the summer, many UCSC students and staff attended the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference at CSU Fullerton. Some memorable quotes from students who attended include:

  • "This was an inspiring conference. I met hardworking and dedicated people. Learning about all of these case studies reignited my passion for sustainability." - Rebecca Sale, former Education & Outreach Team Coordinator
  • "The conference had a great array of workshops that resonated with what I do at the Sustainability Office. I learned about new water distillation processes and equipment, new forms of purchasing guidelines, the importance of student voices, as well as ways to reduce energy in research labs." - Waleed Salemi, Green Labs Coordinator
  • "The purpose of our panel was to exchange ideas and build networks and partnerships around the shared goal of increased sustainability in campus labs, including topics such as researcher engagement, student roles, funding and financing, and prolific laboratory waste streams. As the student voice for the UCSC Green Labs team, I highlighted our “Equipment Retrofit Fund” of $30,000 from Carbon Fund grants that we offer labs as an incentive to get certified and support purchasing energy-efficient equipment. The CHESC panel drew a large crowd of mostly staff and administrators, and we hosted a successful Q&A session that addressed many facets of different green lab initiatives." - Lily Urmann, former Green Labs Coordinator
You can also read about Will Watson's procurement sustainability project, which he presented about at the conference.

In addition to these updates, we also want to review for those who are new to our newsletter list what you can expect from our newsletters this year. The purpose of these monthly newsletters is to promote campus and community sustainability news, events, and opportunities to get involved. We do our best to include all of the opportunities and stories we learn about. If you have a story or update you want us to share, please email by the 15th of the month for inclusion in the next month's newsletter.

Here's what to expect from our newsletters each month of the school year: On the left column, we feature a few major news stories and a sustainability profile, which highlights an individual or group who are demonstrating sustainability in action through their work or studies. On the right column, we include links to other news, campus achievements & awards; easy and useful green tips to practice sustainability in our everyday lives; sustainability research stories; contests & funding opportunities; internship, job & volunteer opportunities; and the classes, training & community section, which includes courses, workshops, and opportunities to support sustainable communities. To read past newsletter publications, visit our archive.

Have questions, suggestions, or ideas for our newsletter? Want to be featured for the work you're doing on campus? Email us at

Thank you for being a dedicated member of our Sustainability Newsletter list, and we hope you have a great year, sustainabilibuddies!

The UCSC Sustainability Office Education & Outreach Team