Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Supporting Carbon Neutrality By 2025!

I’m Ariel Lee, and I’m a 4th year Environmental Studies major. Near the end of my 2nd year at UCSC, I realized that I hadn’t taken advantage of the opportunities on campus to get involved. I knew I wanted to make a difference, but I couldn’t pinpoint just one specific environmental issue that I was passionate about. I joined the Student Environmental Center, a student-run sustainability organization where learned more outreach and leadership skills than I knew what to do with! This year, I am the Carbon Fund outreach coordinator at the Sustainability Office. I became inspired to dabble in outreach when I began to notice that some of my closest friends weren’t wary of local and global environmental issues. I wanted to spread awareness. My family requested a smaller trash can from the city (Sacramento) years ago. We’ve always recycled. We reuse. We have a bin in the kitchen sink that catches extra water and use it to water plants. My dad even makes sure our water heater is on low to keep our hot showers short. I’m out of there ASAP! I don’t remember a time in my life when my family didn’t instill these simple habits in the house. With that said, I’m enjoying my time with the Carbon Fund, and I can’t wait to see all the greenhouse gas-reducing projects that we fund this year!

If you’re interesting in applying for a grant, come to our info session in the College Eight Red Room from 4-6 pm on Thursday, October 23. Here’s to an inspiring year! 

View our website here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

October 2014 Green Tip: Help Out--We're in a Drought!

Welcome back to fall quarter! Alas, we are still facing a severe drought that requires that we all do our part to conserve water. We came up with some of the best strategies for reducing water use. Have other suggestions? Leave a comment!

Do your laundry & run your dishwasher only when you have a full load.
Remember: think before you flush!
Only water plants early in the morning or late at night, and limit how often you water.
Use fixit.ucsc.edu to report leaks in residential areas. Call the UCSC Work Order Desk at 831-459-4444 to report leaks elsewhere on campus.
Get a timer and reduce your shower time!
Hate lukewarm water to drink? Keep drinking water in a pitcher in the fridge instead of running the faucet until you get cool water.
Turn off the faucet when brushing teeth, soaping up in the shower, or shaving. Even when using efficient sinks and showers, you could save 1.5 to 2 gallons of water per minute with this tip. With inefficient fixtures, you’d be saving 3 to 5 gallons of water per minute!

Visit the City of Santa Cruz website for rainfall and drought condition updates here.

Humanities Goes Green!

In Fall 2013, the Humanities Division proudly launched its very first green team with the goal of obtaining Green Office Certification through the UCSC Office of Sustainability. Green team members pledge to serve as sustainability champions for the department and act as liaisons with the Office of Sustainability to implement sustainable practices in everyday operations, improve overall environmental performance, reduce waste, and build a community of sustainability for the Humanities Division. The team is also committed to the Chancellors Sustainability Challenge, a coordinated campuswide effort to make significant progress toward reaching zero waste by 2020. Join us! We want to expand the Humanities Green Team to include representatives from each department in Humanities, including staff, faculty and students. Please contact us if you’re interested HGT@ucsc.edu.

For more information, check out the full article here!

The UC System Goes Solar!

University of California, Powered by the Sun

The University of California has a bright future, one that will be powered by the sun. Through two new agreements, UC has committed to the largest purchase of solar energy by any university in the country. The deals, taking place with Frontier Renewables, will supply the UC's with 80 megawatts of solar capacity- enough to power about 27,000 homes- that will keep an estimated 88,000 metric tons of carbon from being emitted in the atmosphere, annually.

This incredible solar purchase is taking the UC system one step closer to Carbon Neutrality, a goal set by UC president Janet Napolitano. Frontier Renewables will supply the UC's solar power from two large arrays constructed in Fresno Country that are expected to come online at the end of 2016. No other university or college system comes close to the UC system in terms of commitment to solar energy. "As a national leader in sustainability, the University of California is taking on bold, new goals and transforming our approach to procuring and using energy in more sustainable ways," Napolitano said.

At her first governing board meeting in November 2013, Napolitano pledged that UC would become carbon neutral by 2025, something no other university system has been able to achieve. In June, she formed the Global Climate Leadership Council to help UC achieve that ambitious goal. But because the energy from the sun has a billion year time horizon, it is a natural place to look for alternative energy, and a great first place for the UC's to begin their journey to carbon neutrality.

We are so proud and commend our university system for taking this incredible project on. Interested in learning more about the solar UC system? For more information, please click here.

Innovative Approaches to Sustainability at Other Campuses

"Design in Transit": Reimagining VTA and Inspiring Conversations
San Jose State University's Graphic Design students wowed transit professionals at the SubZERO Festival with their reimagined version of VTA's public transit, paratransit and bike share system, which caught the eye of everyone in attendance. The exhibit present five comprehensive brand designs from 17 B.F.A Graphic Design students. From fresh paint jobs to business cards, everything was reimagined. President of the Works/San Jose Board of Directors, Joe Miller asked the students to "rethink public transit in the Silicon Valley, to look at that really broadly, so not necessarily what the current VTA is physically but what all the transit for the area could be." The VTA commends the creativity and hard work of the “Design in Transit” designers: Kendra Biggs, Brandon Boswell, Jordan Brady, Glenn Cardenas, Hoyin Chan, Kayla Clarot, Maya Ealey, Cindy Fu, Stefanie Galvan, Donghoh Han, Jonathan Heath, Michael Mirchandani, Tommy Pham, Rachel Poage, Kelsey Sutherland, Eloisa Tan, and Marya Yama. Congratulations to everyone involved and keep thinking big!

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 2014 Sustainability Profile: Melina Meseroll

Each month, our newsletter features a person or group on campus that is working toward a more sustainable world. This month features Melina Meseroll, the current Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Campus Sustainability Office. In the past, Melina has been the Provost's Sustainability Intern for UCSC's Procurement Services Department and she was last year's Chancellor's Undergraduate Intern for the Sustainability Office.

Position Titles: 

  • Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Sustainability Office
  • Co-Chair of Path to a Greener Stevenson
  • Residential Advisor for the Sustainability Themed House in Stevenson
Favorite Green Tip: Pick something reusable like a reusable water bottle or a mason jar that you love, decorate and customize it, and then use it! Personally, I love mason jars because they have so many uses; for instance, a flower vase, a table center piece, they can hold my lunch and liquids, and they are very beautiful.

What does “Sustainability” mean to you? I am a fan of separating out words to better understand their meaning and origin; so, the first thing I think of when I hear "sustainability" is "the ability to sustain." My first sustainability-related job was working with UCSC Purchasing, so my intuition naturally turns to consumerism when thinking of sustainability. Right now, our products are made to not last, so that we keep buying more and more products (Story of Stuff anyone?). In a sustainable world, our purchasing system would be able to sustain itself, meaning products would be recycled back into the system and not add to our landfills.

How has sustainability related to your role at UCSC? 
How doesn't sustainability relate to my life at UCSC? That should be the question. UCSC has kindled my love for sustainability. I came into college knowing that I wanted to work in environmental awareness and I found so many opportunities available on this campus.

In my freshman year I got involved in a sustainability club called Path to a Greener Stevenson (PTAGS). From there, I heard of the Provost's Sustainability Internship (PSI) opportunity in the Sustainability Office. Once accepted into the program, I was given the project to create a Life-Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) Tool for UCSC's Procurement Department and got greatly involved with the Green Purchasing Working Group. I grew very passionate about making the purchasing system more sustainable. The LCCA Tool is currently being integrated into the Procurement Department so that campus buyers are aware of which products have the lowest life-cycle cost and are thus more sustainable products to buy for our campus.

After the PSI program, I was hired as the Chancellor's Undergraduate Intern for the Sustainability Office. In that position, I was the coordinator for the Education and Outreach Team. Together, the team and I tabled at events, create a monthly newsletter for the office, planned events, and created educational materials for students, staff, and faculty on campus. I also participated in a weekly class with other CUIPs around campus where I presented and wrote about my internship projects. I fell in love with educating fellow students about our campus's goals and showing them how they can help us reach our goals by making small behavior changes in their daily lives.

This year, I am still working as the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Sustainability Office and will continue to foster sustainability in my daily life at UCSC.

How do you practice sustainability in your daily life?
I use a reusable water bottle and mason jars for whenever I need fluids. I walk everywhere that is manageable; the only time I take a bus is when I have to go to downtown Santa Cruz. I bring reusable bags when shopping.

Have you had a favorite sustainability moment at UCSC?
So many to choose from...I would have to say one of my favorite sustainability moments was last year when I was able to sit down with Chancellor Blumenthal and interview him for the Sustainability Office newsletter. It was so inspiring to see how he is sustainable in his own life and his enthusiasm for sustainability is contagious and never ending. Chancellor Blumenthal has enormously supported campus sustainability and it was such an honor to be able to talk to him about his sustainability ideas. I was also really nervous!

Electric Vehicle in Campus Fleet & EV Discounts for Staff & Faculty

Full-Electric Nissan LEAF to Replace 2000 Ford Focus for Physical Plant
UCSC Fleet received $27,000 in grant funds from the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District (MBUAPCD) to go towards the purchase of the campus fleet's first full-electric vehicle Nissan LEAF which will be used by the Physical Plant department.  This will replace a 2000 Ford Focus and will be a step in the direction of converting other campus fleet vehicles to electric vehicles.  TAPS and Fleet will continue to look for other funding and purchasing opportunities to convert additional vehicles to electric and other alternative fuels.

Those interested in electric vehicles for personal use on this campus can find more information on the TAPS website here.

Electric Vehicle Discounts Available for Staff & Faculty
Attention all UCSC Staff and Faculty! You are eligible for a discount on a lease or purchase of a Nissan LEAF for personal use through December 31, 2014. Electric vehicle chargers are available in Core West for use at a fee of only $1 per hour of charging (details). Please see the flier below and contact the local Nissan dealer if you are interested in learning more about the discount. Please be sure to note that the University, Transportation and Parking Services, and the Sustainability Office do not endorse one particular electric vehicle vendor or their products.