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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fight Climate Change with a Thought

Article by Tan Ha, Climate Action CUIP

I struggle with the idea of greenhouse gas emissions. It is not like I do not understand how much damage it causes to the environment. As the UCSC Sustainability Office’s Climate Action Intern, I can tell you about state-wide reduction goals and exactly how many metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) emissions our campus needs to reduce. However, what does it really mean when I tell you that we are trying to reduce 27,000 MTCO2e by year 2020?

I reflect on this as I calculate emission factors for the next Climate Action Plan. I realize that fighting against the trends of global warming will take more than measuring GHG inventories or drafting plans for administers and planners alike. But official planning documents do not inspire the larger demographic such as students and community members to live a carbon neutral lifestyle.

Even with prior knowledge of the lofty goal of reducing 27,000 MTCO2e, I need to remind myself that it is equivalent to stopping 3 million gallons of gasoline from burning annually after 2020. I imagine the scorching gasoline near where I live. I smell the viscous fumes robbing the fresh air released from the vibrant Santa Cruz trees. Then I remember that I am privileged to not see this in front of me. I recognize that this “fire” caused by the UCSC community is unbounded and threatens the global environment. However, developing countries are in the heat of the fire. They are at greater risk as they have fewer resources to protect themselves from these increased “natural disasters.” Every person, institution, region, nation, and global entity is a stakeholder of the problems and solutions associated with climate change. I want to take this opportunity not to ramble about how bad it is but invite my readers to look into this problem as an opportunity. It is our chance as young, curious individuals to ask how my lifestyle can affect the world. I like to entertain the idea that although the problem may be beyond one person’s work, it should be within the means of our collective effort. So let us take baby steps in our life. Before we know it, we may easily put out a fire of 3 million gallons of gasoline. It is our ambition, concerns, and belief systems that drive us to consciously shape the world so that future generations can know how passionately we fought for life on earth. What does it mean to turn off the lights, ride your bike, or shop locally? I don’t fully understand but I challenge you to find this answer with me.

Image courtesy of

Early Educational Services: Teaching Eco-Responsibility to the Next Generation

Article by Grace Sorenson, Campus Sustainability Intern

From 11-month-old infants to pre-teens, the children in the Early Educational Services program at UC Santa Cruz are instilled with environmentally-conscious behaviors from day one.

“We are caretakers, but we are also preparing them to be responsible adults, and that includes behaviors such as recycling and composting,” says Sohyla Fathi, Director of Early Educational Services.

All food served at EES is prepared on campus. The menu is minimally processed and simple, and is organic or from the garden when possible. The kids eat together with their instructors, and green dishes for compost are located at each table. Reusable silverware and dishes are used at every meal. Each placemat at the tables is a laminated graphic delineating the basic food groups—grains, vegetables, fruits, protein, and dairy.

In the classroom where the youngest bracket of children are cared for, boys and girls between 11 months and 2 years old sit around a table with an instructor joyfully eating fruits and vegetables and cheese. A dish for compostable food scraps is on each table, and though they’re a bit too young to separate dairy products and vegetable matter, it seems that it’s never too early to start modeling the composting process. An instructor enthusiastically shows me a nearby poster with photographs of their regular field trip to the adjacent College Eight garden, where they empty their buckets into the garden’s compost.

In the sprawling outdoor play area there is a garden, and a nearby workstation with dwarf-sized gardening tools and a long line of miniature watering cans. There are tomato plants, parsley, cilantro, peas, basil, oregano, and mint. Sohlya explains that the kids plant the garden together and are each designated a specific plant that becomes their responsibility to care for and water. “That one’s mine!” a small blonde girl yells proudly, pointing emphatically at an oregano plant. When certain herbs or vegetables are used for a meal, the children harvest what is needed and bring it to the cook.

Clearly labeled, multi-lingual recycling stations are stationed in each classroom. Skylights illuminate most of the rooms with natural light, and containers and toys are made of wood and other natural materials instead of plastic. The lush forest surrounding the entire facility seems to serve as daily reminder to the kids of what the “environment” is and why it’s worth preserving. The values and habits imprinted upon us when we are young often last our entire lives, and it is an environment like this that will help foster a more responsible, ecologically-aware generation of young adults.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

June 2012 Sustainability Profile: Stevenson RA Class & Sustainability in the Dorms

Article by Melissa Ott

If you ever lived in a college dorm, was sustainability a topic your residential advisor often brought up? Most likely not, unless you lived in a sustainability themed house or had a particularly environmentally minded RA. Fortunately, this is changing here at UCSC, and has been in the process of changing for some time. Already, there are signs in most dorm bathrooms reminding residents to turn off the sink when brushing their teeth or to take shorter showers. Stickers are great, but what about the conversations that need to go along with them? RAs present the ideal candidate for starting those conversations in the dorm communities to create lasting change in students' consciousness and behavior regarding sustainable issues.

We spoke with Stevenson RA Sarah Cohen earlier this quarter about the RA class that she’s teaching with two other RAs; one of the topics of the course is sustainability, and we were interested in learning more about the role sustainability is playing in RA training and dorm life. All students who will be RAs in Stevenson College next year are in this class, which discusses other topics such as health and wellness, diversity and social justice, leadership, and which works to create a bond among this team of leaders in the Stevenson community.

Sustainability is part of the curriculum for the course for a couple of reasons. One of the Stevenson dorm buildings, Casa Segunda (discussed in May’s profile, as well), is a sustainability themed dorm, so it makes sense to discuss what sustainability means among those who will be living in this house and interacting with those living in this house. The House 2 lounge is filled with magazines and other resources related to living a more sustainable lifestyle, and the RAs in this house this year are active members of Path to a Greener Stevenson (PTAGS), an environmental group that meets in this house’s lounge on Thursdays from 8-9 PM. While students with a particular inclination toward sustainability can choose to live in this house, it’s important that students in all of the dorms be exposed to the issues, practices, and reasons surrounding sustainability. Not to mention it is great to have these conversations going on in classes in which leaders are learning how to lead by example and talk with residents about important life topics.

“Students form habits early in college,” Cohen remarked. She said that it’s important to talk about sustainable habits with the RAs who will be there with incoming freshman at the beginning of their college career and who can help influence good decision-making. A student’s first year can be defining in what kinds of habits follow them throughout their lives. For many, it’s the first time they’re independent from their families and making decisions without their parents checking on them.

If you haven't seen The Story of Stuff, take 20 minutes and watch it right now (or at least send yourself a reminder to watch it after work or class). This short film was the homework assignment due the day that the RA class talked about sustainable topics. It’s a “a 20-minute animation” that focuses on “the consumerist society" and “the way we make, use and throw away Stuff” (1). Cohen said the discussion went well that day in class when these issues were brought up and that it was exciting to talk about these issues with RAs who will be able to continue these conversations with their residents next year. During the class, they spent some time "thinking about where all of the stuff in a freshman dorm would come from and how to help students think about those things during move in and move out," she described.

These conversations generated tangible ways for RAs to encourage sustainable behavior in their houses next year. Some examples were reminding residents to turn off lights, creating a box in the lounge to hold old fliers to be used as scratch paper, and posting reminders in the bathrooms about reducing water use.

The class also did an activity during which students became more aware of their own environmental impact and resource use in their everyday routines. "You wake up and use your alarm, which uses electricity," Cohen gave as an example. "You take a shower, which uses water and energy to warm the water... In the dining hall, where does that food come from? Your daily routine impacts the world around you."

What are some ways that students in the dorms can be more conscious of their impact and take steps to reduce it? Post your ideas in the comments!

Sarah Cohen previously worked with the Sustainability Office’s Green Office Certification program, and she is currently working on The Sustainability Awareness Promotional Video about campus sustainability to share with incoming freshman and the UCSC campus. She is a third year studying Global Information and Social Enterprise Studies (GISES), an Intensive BA Degree in Sociology.


1. The Story of Stuff website.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Beyond the Gallery Environmental Art Project

UCSC Students, Sesnon Gallery partners with City of Santa Cruz for pop-up art projects

University of California Santa Cruz students are breaking out of the traditional “white cube” art gallery and seeking empty storefronts on Pacific Avenue to showcase their work. These students are participants in an experimental two credit studio class, “Beyond the Gallery: Artists as Collaborative Agents for Community Change.” Thanks to a generous grant from the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA), Shelby Graham, curator of the Sesnon Art Gallery at Porter College, has helped over a dozen students learn exhibition techniques while exploring their role as artists and activists. The City of Santa Cruz also contributed funds.

The projects range from a free photo booth at the downtown Farmer’s Market, to bottles filled with symbols of memories of Santa Cruz, to a constructed redwood “forest” outside in the Abbott Square Courtyard. Artwork will be shown at the Museum of Art and History, the Rittenhouse Building windows, and other venues. The public is invited to join the students on Friday June 1, during First Friday Art tour and encounter these exciting, participatory installations.

Empty storefronts and reduced arts funding are common in the current economy. Yet art can help revive communities and urban spaces. Public spaces provide an opportunity for artists to reach audiences who would not visit a traditional gallery, or to build large installations impossible in smaller venues. In the spirit of community change, some of the students have collaborated with environmental studies students or created projects with environmental and social justice messages. For instance, “Nature BeWILDered,” by Sam Moll (the College 8 CUIP intern who helped facilitate UCSC Earth Day 2012) and Gabi Kirk (FoSO Events Coordinator for the Sustainability Office), encourages patrons to blur the lines between civilization and wilderness through a constructed redwood forest and interactive writing pieces, installed at the Museum of Art and History.

Aside from this course, the Sesnon Gallery operates a museum-oriented program for educational purposes. The gallery organizes an annual schedule of exhibitions that represents a broad range of methods, media and cultures, in a local, regional, and national context, with a focus on contemporary practice. The Sesnon Gallery works to integrate a broad range of methods, media, and cultures into the lives of a broader community. The “Beyond the Gallery” students are: Jen Brown, Leia Delabahan, Vivian Fu, Kristen Gautier-Downes, Chelsea Gutierrez, Elizabeth Hibbard, Gabi Kirk, Grace Kistler-Fair, Fred Liang, Miguel Libarnes, Charlotte Marriott, Sam Moll, Zachary Livingston, Dawson Timpany, and Dmitri Zurita. For more information on “Beyond the Gallery”, including a list of installations and venues, please visit their website.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

IDEASS Student Perspective: Porter Greenovation Project

By Nisa Taylor, IDEASS Intern

The IDEASS (Impact Designs: Engineering and Sustainability through Student Service) course has given many students, like my IDEASS project partner Sarah and me, the opportunity to pursue hands-on projects that promote sustainability through outreach and green energy retrofits.

Our project, the Porter Greenovation Project, has worked on retrofitting the Porter Study Center to make it more sustainable. We have performed energy efficiency measures and analysis, and we used this information to receive a grant from the Carbon Fund to retrofit the Porter Study Center to increase its efficiency and save money. With the help of the Carbon Fund Grant, we were able to install a new energy efficient lighting system that uses maximizes the use of natural light. It incorporates pull-down blinds, occupancy sensors to sense when people are in the room, and light dimmers.

To demonstrate to students how sustainable the study center can be when we use it with energy in mind, we plan to install lighting system information and waste diversion signage in collaboration with the UCSC's Zero Waste by 2020 campaign. Next year's annual Porter Fall Student Mural will be painted in the Porter Study Center with a sustainability theme to remind students about their healthy study space! Email Nisa if you want to learn more about getting involved with the project!

Please click here to find out more about IDEASS and apply today--the application deadline is June 20.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Surf’s Up for UCSC’s Used Styrofoam

Student Perspective Piece
Written by Elo Lin, Zero Waste Team Member

There are many nightmarish materials out there for the conscientious recycler, but Expanded Poly Styerene (EPS), also known as the number 6 plastic, might own a top spot. It’s also known as Styrofoam, and this ubiquitous material has the unique chemistry property of being a great insulation product. But because Styrofoam releases toxins when it breaks down, it doesn’t biodegrade, and it’s difficult to recycle, it is always best to avoid usage whenever possible. Unfortunately, because of its unique insulation property, Styrofoam coolers are an essential product for laboratories, like the ones on our campus, because the material keeps their specimens and reagents at a constant cool temperature.

Reaching our campus’ goal of Zero Waste by 2020 requires that we nurture the second R of the Reduce-Reuse-Recycle mantra by reusing products whenever possible. So how does that fit into the necessary styrofoam issue? Students from the Zero Waste team, along with Environmental Health & Safety, found that Sigma Aldrich and New England Biolabs have take-back programs for their styrofoam, meaning that we can send back the Styrofoam coolers after use and they will be repackaged and re-used. But what about all the other hundreds of Styrofoam packaging used on our campus that cannot be sent back to their original vendor?

The answer to this issue warrants a hearty and sustainable “Surf’s up!” Currently, UCSC is working with Sustainable Surf, a non-profit NGO that is helping the surf industry and the surfing community move toward sustainability. UCSC was able to get in contact with a new program within Sustainable Surf called  Waste to Waves, which collects used and unwanted Styrofoam, compacts it, and then ships it to be recycled by a surfboard blank partner facility, Marko Foam.

 A few successful collection days have taken place this year, but at the present time, Sustainable Surf is working through some permitting issues with the City of Santa Cruz to be able to use a central location in Santa Cruz to collect and compact a much greater volume of collected EPS foam from the wider Santa Cruz area. We will keep our newsletter and blog posted with details about the next collection day. Despite this temporary roadblock to converting our used styrofoam to surfboards, the program and this collaboration is a fantastic and fun adventure into news ways of solving issues of waste and sustainability. Hang Loose, Banana Slugs!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

PROPS PLOP: Sustainability News from the Chancellor's Office!

UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal has started a sustainable trend. 

On May 7, 2012, PROPS (the Program Recognizing Offices Practicing Sustainability) sat down with Chancellor Blumenthal and his office staff to consult on the sustainability of their office operations. During the meeting, the Chancellor was delighted to tell PROPS about their efforts to reduce the paper usage involved with his job. 
According to the Chancellor, at large meetings (such as Regents' meetings), each attendee is given at least one binder full of agenda items. This is a typical occurrence, but the UCSC Chancellor is fed up with the excessive paper use. His alternative? Downloading software that allows him to read, highlight, and mark up the meetings' documents on his computer tablet. Chancellor Blumenthal says that he is the first of the UC Chancellor's to make this transition, but several others have since followed suit. After noticing Chancellor's sleek, tech-savvy appearance at meetings, at least six other UC Chancellors have gone paperless at meetings.

In addition to eliminating binders at his meetings, Chancellor Blumenthal and his staff make conscious efforts to reduce paper usage. "We rarely print anything out anymore," says Maurene Catto, Executive Assistant to Chancellor Blumenthal.

PROPS and the Sustainability Office commend the Chancellor's commitment to sustainable behavior change, and encourage the office to keep up the good work!

To learn more about the Green Office Certification Program (formerly PROPS), visit the website.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Procurement and Business Contracts Office Certified Green as a "Tree" by PROPS

PROPS (Program Recognizing Offices Practicing Sustainability) has just awarded the Green Office Certification level of “Tree” to the Procurement and Business Contracts office. This is the highest award level currently available and it is the first time it has been awarded. The first certification for the Procurement Office was “Sapling,” awarded in August of 2011.
The Procurement Office received its original "Sapling" award in August 2011. They have just been certified "Tree" level, the highest level PROPS recognizes.
In addition to the initial assessment and award, Procurement was given a set of improvement recommendations that could increase the certification rating. The Procurement Office committed to these on-going improvements and future re-assessment.

With the help of PROPS, Procurement was able to achieve the new certification by successfully fulfilling multiple goals for improvement in areas such as waste reduction, energy conservation, and purchasing environmentally preferred products.

Great work, Procurement and Business Contracts Office!

To find out more about the Green Office Certification Program (formerly PROPS), click here.

June 2012: Contests, Funding & Journal Submissions

Sustainability Office Simply Committed Photo Challenge
The Simply Committed Photo Challenge is up and running on our Facebook page! Many of you have already made a pledge on our page to change one habit in your lives to become more sustainable either at Earth Summit or Earth Day. Some examples of pledges that were made by students were to bring reusable bags to the store, buy local, ride a bike and walk more often instead of driving or taking the bus, and to eat more organic food. Those of you that have not already made a pledge--it is not too late! Post your pledge right now! The photo challenge involves taking a funny picture engaging in the sustainable commitment that you made. The more ridiculous and comical the better! The challenge will last till June 8 and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced on June 9! The winner will receive a $30 gift card to the Bay Tree Bookstore. You can post your pictures right onto the UCSC Sustainability Office page, or if you do not use Facebook and want to participate, you can email them to the Sustainability Office! The contest is open to all UCSC students, staff, and faculty. Good luck and have fun!

Gaia Magazine Seeking New Team Members

Gaia Magazine is seeking people interested in layout, writing, editing, and sustainability to join the team for next year (leadership positions available!).  Please contact the Gaia Team, or check out the website for more information--no previous experience required!  Be sure to pick up your copy of the 2012 issue, found in libraries, cafes, housing offices, mailrooms, and other locations on campus.

Stevenson Garden Art Display Seeking Artists
Are you an artist who would like to display your work in a garden? Have friends who might be interested? The Stevenson Garden is now accepting submissions for artwork to display in the garden! Email Elisha Kim with your ideas and if you need supplies!

Fulbright NEXUS Regional Scholar Program - Deadline June 15
The 2012-2013 Fulbright NEXUS Program, a model for scholarly exchange and science informing policy, is currently seeking applications from early or mid-career academics, applied researchers and/or professionals with research experience in the public, nonprofit or private sector in the topics of science, technology and innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainable energy. Applicants must be conducting current research relevant to these themes. Projects focusing on climate change adaptation strategies, and/or public policy focused research ventures that examine strategies to cope with climate variability are particularly welcome. The deadline to apply is June 15.

Smart Growth Network Call for Papers: Community Design - Deadline June 30
The higher education community is invited to join the Smart Growth Network's (SGN) first national conversation about how neighborhoods could be planned, designed and developed to meet the needs of current and future generations. In an effort to build a compendium of new and innovative ideas, SGN is seeking short papers that discuss a particular issue that communities will be facing in the next 15 years. Twenty to 40 papers will be selected for publishing in anticipation of the 2013 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference. The published papers will be considered for inclusion in the open and/or closing plenaries of the conference. Papers will be accepted through June 30, 2012.

Accepting Applications: AASHE 2012 Awards Program - Deadline July 2
AASHE invites applications for its 2012 sustainability awards. AASHE will present four Campus Sustainability Case Study Awards, one Student Sustainability Leadership Award, two Student Research on Campus Sustainability Awards and one Faculty Leadership Award. All winners will be announced at the AASHE 2012 conference and will be featured in Sustainability: The Journal of Record. Applications will be accepted through July 2.

Call for Papers: Mathematics of Planet Earth Special Issue - Deadline December 20
Submissions are sought for the November 2013 issue of the College Mathematics Journal, which will be devoted to the "Mathematics of Planet Earth." Papers that address the mathematical aspects of climate, meteorology, ecology, epidemiology, resource management and biodiversity are encouraged. Areas of human interaction with the earth are also of interest including economics, finance, politics, communication, sustainable development and disaster management. Classroom capsules and student research projects are welcome. Authors are encouraged to write the editor,  describing their proposed paper first, and submissions will be accepted through December 20, 2012.

June 2012: Clubs, Gardens & Hikes

Volunteer in the Arboretum Eucalyptus Grove: Mondays 9 AM
Help out the Arboretum at UC Santa Cruz as a volunteer in the Eucalyptus Grove. The group meets on Mondays from 9 AM until noon in the Eucalyptus Grove, opposite Western Drive. Parking is available in the Grove for these Monday morning work parties. Please bring hat, gloves, water, and layers of clothing. Tools will be provided.

Natives First Gardeners at the Arboretum: Tuesdays 9 AM
This weeding group was formed to help with the Entrance Native Garden at the Arboretum on Tuesday mornings at 9 AM. Enjoy a friendly group, and get involved in beautifying this ongoing project while enjoying the beauty of the California Native collection. Bring gloves, water, and sun protection. For more information, click here.

Friends of Community Agroecology Network Celebration Dinner: Tuesday, June 5, 6-8 PM
FoCAN is a student-initiated, student-led community at UCSC that supports CAN's mission of promoting rural livelihoods and sustainable food systems through action education and participatory action research. Join FoCAN for their end-of-the-year celebration on Tuesday, June 5, to have a potluck and celebrate FoCAN and the community they have fostered throughout the quarter. The celebration will take place at the Sustainable Living Center in the Village, building A. Find out more about FoCAN here.

Natural History Club: Wednesdays at 4 PM
The Natural History Club is all about exploring the natural spaces on and around our beautiful campus. They go on hikes around campus, learning about its natural history. They focus on learning plants, birds, animal tracking, mushrooms, and anything they discover. Overall the club seeks to deepen members' understanding, awareness and connection with nature. Visit the Natural History Club Facebook group for meeting times, locations and more information.

Student Environmental Center: Wednesdays 6:30-8:30 PM
The purpose of the Student Environmental Center is to promote student involvement through research, education, and implementation of environmentally sustainable practices on campus in collaboration with the university. SEC's General Gatherings take place in the College 8 Red Room. Vegetarian dinner provided. For more information, visit their website or send them an email.

Path to a Greener Stevenson: Thursdays 8-9 PM
Path to a Greener Stevenson (PTAGS) meets in the Stevenson House 2 lounge. They are currently working on a pilot program to remove paper towels from the dorms, as well as planning end-of-the-year swap meets. They will be holding a swap meet at Rock & Roll on the Knoll on June 3, from 12-5 PM. For more information, visit the Facebook group or email Blake Redding.

Gardeners' Alliance Gatherings
The Gardeners' Alliance is a group within SEC's Students for Organic campaign that works to  promote the campus gardens and unite the garden-friendly community by creating a space to promote and share information between campus gardeners and the students of UCSC. Email Dominique for information about timing and locations. To see a list of on-campus gardens, visit the Gardeners' Alliance website here.

Stevenson Garden Work Days: Fridays 12 - 5 PM
If you would like to volunteer and get involved with the Stevenson Garden, they will be having work days every Friday from 12 - 5 PM for the rest of spring quarter! To learn more about the Garden, check out the website or email Blake Redding. If you're interested in a Garden Internship, click here.

Citrus Butternut Stack from a Farm Friday in February at the Crown/Merrill Dining Hall. To view more photos of Farm Fridays, click here.
Each week, one dining hall features a dish incorporating ingredients from the UCSC Farm and other local organic farms in the region. The food is delicious, and it feels great to be eating the most local food possible! For more information, contact Candy Berlin or view the Farm Fridays schedule here.

Final PICA Garden Workday: Saturday, June 2 10 AM - 2 PM
PICA's final Garden Workday for Spring quarter is on Saturday, June 2, from 10 AM - 2 PM at the PICA Gardens in the Village. A delicious garden grown lunch will be served. These events are free, open to all UCSC students, and no registration is needed--just show up! For questions or more information, contact Bethany Hecht.

Kresge Garden Work Days: Sundays 10 AM - 2 PM 
Join fellow gardeners at the Kresge Garden workday and workshop every Sunday! Bring a dish to share for the potluck lunch! To see what the weekly workshop will be, check out the website.

Social Media Think Tank
Founded by two members of on-campus sustainability organizations, this think tank seeks to bring together the ideas and experiences of anyone and everyone on the UCSC campus who has an interest in using social media for marketing or who has had experience with successful social media outreach. All are welcome to attend. Meeting times, locations, and topics will be posted on the Facebook group. For more information, or if you would like to join the discussion, please contact Melissa Ott.

June 2012: Innovative Approaches to Sustainability at Other Campuses

Here are a few selections of the innovative approaches to sustainability taking place on other college campuses. Each of these examples was chosen because it's something that UCSC could potentially implement in some way, or it's similar to something already being implemented on our campus. If you see something here that you want to make a reality at UCSC, contact the Sustainability Office and we will help you direct your ideas toward fruition!

Central Michigan U Launches 'Bring Your Own Bottle' Campaign
In effort to raise environmental awareness and sustainability through small steps, Central Michigan University’s Student Environmental Alliance has partnered with the Great Lakes Institute for Sustainable Systems to distribute 700 Bring Your Own Bottle (B.Y.O.B.) stickers around campus. Stickers have been placed near water fountains and trash cans to encourage the elimination of plastic water bottle waste. Find out about UCSC's own campaign for eliminating the use of single-use water bottles by checking out Take Back the Tap UCSC!

Unity College Steps Up Access to Clean Drinking Water
In answer to a campus student survey, Unity College has installed new water coolers in residence halls that use water from existing plumbing, and new fixtures on water fountains in public spaces that make filling water bottles easier, similar to the water spigots Take Back the Tap has installed around campus. To see more photos of the ones TBTT has installed at UCSC, click here.
Outside the Student Union Building, on the floor of the lounge.
Photo by Take Back the Tap UCSC.

UCSD student's Geared Up program helps find new homes for old atheletic gear
As a tennis player for the University of California at San Diego, Jacqueline Davis said that any college athlete knows that a ton of athletic gear they get often never gets used. Davis, who interned for the university's sustainability center, decided to tie athletics to the environment. She started the program she calls "Geared Up" which works to donate the athletic gear that might have otherwise been thrown away to public schools. The "Geared Up" program has already donated thousands of dollars' worth of equipment.

U Kansas, Utah Research Reveals that Nature Boosts Creativity
New research conducted by faculty from the University of Kansas and the University of Utah concludes that people from all walks of life show "startling" cognitive improvement — for instance, a 50 percent boost in creativity — after living for a few days steeped in nature. Without distractions of 21st century life including social media, electronics and cell phones, people have resources left over to be creative, imaginative and to problem solve. No wonder UCSC has such creative students, staff, and faculty--we are surrounded by forest everyday! Now, just turn off that cell phone, sign off of your computer, and get out there and enjoy the creative benefits of nature.
Near the Stevenson Knoll, overlooking OPERS and Monterey Bay.
Photo by Melissa Ott.

Santa Clara U Athletics Center Introduces User-Powered Treadmills
The university has added two new treadmills that are "powered by sweat" for a total of 33 fitness machines that are self-generating and require no electricity. In total, the university reports that the 33 machines save enough electricity to power a personal computer for 10 years.

U Louisville Students Install Recycled Solar Panels
Members of the university’s Renewable Energy and Efficiency Club are installing a small-scale solar energy project using recycled materials. Students purchased the solar cells from eBay and re-engineered the cell architecture to use a low-cost method. The panels will be used to power two fans that will ventilate a greenhouse.

St. Lawrence U to Launch Sustainability Semester
In spring 2013, student participants will be able to live and take courses together that address themes of human sustainability from a variety of disciplines. Located on a farm, the students will work on-site to grow food and build energy-efficient structures. The semester will also include an urban component where students spend two weeks in either Boston or New York to explore issues such as transportation, housing, food access, pollution and environmental justice.

Syracuse U Students Initiate Food Waste Audits
Two Sustainability Division interns recently gave their fellow students a firsthand look at the food being wasted in the campus dining center each day. Two dinnertime tray waste audits yielded a total of 278 pounds of tray waste, which was displayed for student viewing on a tarp-covered table in three separate piles: untouched food, food scraps and non-edible waste. The visual impact was designed to encourage students to waste less food.

U California Berkeley Debuts New Building Energy Dashboard
The university's new myPower site is connected to 57 campus buildings, allowing the campus community to view how much electricity a building is using in real time on their own computers. In addition to targeting individual behavior and behavioral change by showing how energy saving habits can make a difference, the new dashboard allows the university to spot and fix any energy-related issues. The university plans to get another 45 buildings online this year.

Cal State Monterey Bay Graduates to Wear Recycled Bottle Gowns
Every pound of yarn in the gowns that will be worn by this year's graduates at CSU Monterey Bay saves one-half gallon of gasoline and produces half of the carbon dioxide emissions of the typical polyester manufacturing process. These students really wear their environmental conscience on their sleeves--UCSC graduates should be able to, as well!

June 2012: Upcoming Events

Rock & Roll on the Knoll Swap Meet: June 3
Path to a Greener Stevenson will be hosting a swap meet during Rock and Roll on the Knoll on June 3, from 12-5 PM. Bring any items you no longer need (clothes, books, CDs, jewelry, etc.), drop them off on the blanket, and feel free to take any items from the blanket that you need or want! It's a free exchange that helps reduce waste and consumption of materials. Don't forget that move-out is only a few weeks away, so be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to get rid of things you don't want to take home with you over the summer.

FoCAN is a student-initiated, student-led community at UCSC that supports CAN's mission of promoting rural livelihoods and sustainable food systems through action education and participatory action research. Join FoCAN for their end-of-the-year celebration on Tuesday, June 5, from 6-8 PM to have a potluck and celebrate FoCAN and the community they have fostered throughout the quarter. The celebration will take place at the Sustainable Living Center in the Village, building A. Find out more about FoCAN here.

Taking place June 18-21, 2012 at UC Davis, this conference highlights cutting-edge research, as well as case studies with proven successes in curriculum development, operational programs, and community partnerships. This unique event is jointly organized by independent/private colleges, California Community Colleges, California State Universities, and the University of California creating the opportunity for dialogue across institutions. For more information, click here.

June 2012: Internships, Employment & Volunteering

Carbon Fund Paid Position Available Immediately--Apply Now!
The UCSC Carbon Fund is looking for someone to fill the Student Facilitator position before Summer Starts! This is an hourly paid position available to both work-study and non-work study students. An ideal candidate would have experience leading meetings, experience managing a budget, great organizational skills, as well as written and verbal communication skills, and an interest in sustainability. For more information, visit the ER system code #5780 "UCSC Carbon Fund Student Facilitator." If interested, apply through the ER system or send a cover letter and resume to the Carbon Fund. This position is expected to fill fast, so apply TODAY! Find out more about the Carbon Fund here.

Stevenson Garden Internships for Fall
This spring, the Stevenson Garden has had many successful workdays after its expansion in winter. Currently, there are 12 new beds, and Garden Interns have been busy planting fruits, veggies and cover crops. Stevenson Garden 2-unit and 5-unit internship opportunities through Stevenson College and the ENVS Department are available for fall 2012. Interns will be responsible for general management of the Stevenson Garden, supervising work hours at the garden site every week, planning and facilitating volunteer opportunities and workshops for students, and attending Gardener’s Alliance Gatherings.  If you have horticultural experience and strong leadership qualities or just a strong passion for gardening, this would be a perfect fit for you! Please email Blake Redding for more information.  

WAGES Paid Summer Internships - Apply Now!
Women's Action to Gain Economic Security is seeking motivated, high-achieving current or recent undergraduates who would be excited to get hands-on experience and make a real impact in economic development and women's empowerment. An ideal paid summer intern candidate is bright, tech-savvy, and solution-oriented. They are excited about the opportunity to contribute and expand their nonprofit skills at an evolving, grassroots organization and will thrive in a dynamic, collaborative environment. Interns will play key roles supporting their operations and programs – directly advancing their mission of creating worker-owned green businesses that create healthy, dignified jobs for low-income women. For details, please click here    

Take Back the Tap's New Water Spigots and More Businesses On Board
Take Back the Tap UCSC is an initiative to end the sale and distribution of bottled water on our campus. If you've seen those new water spigots around campus for filling up water bottles (like the one above, located outside Stevenson Acad 150), you can thank Take Back the Tap. If you're interested in getting involved, please email Take Back the Tap or visit their Facebook page.

Call for Volunteers: Greenbuild International Conference and Expo
Greenbuild is the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building, and it is coming back to San Francisco November 14-16. If you are a full-time student or professional age 25 and under, volunteer and attend for free! For more information visit the website. For questions, click here to send an email.

Environmental Education for the Next Generation Seeking Teachers
Environmental Education for the Next Generation is a non-profit organization founded to spread environmental literacy and an ethic of sustainability throughout our community, from the youngest members of our society up. Their Environmental Science & Sustainability Program links teams of college student instructors with 1st and 2nd grade classes for weekly lessons exploring the relationship between humans and the natural world. For more information about all the EENG has to offer, please visit their website or send them an email.

Opportunities with Pick Up America
Pick Up America is looking for people to travel with them this year! They are seeking young, energetic leaders who are ready to hit the road, pick up litter, and organize for a more sustainable America. An ideal candidate would be self-motivated, know how to be a team player, and be eager to educate, strategize, network, and inspire resource stewardship and zero-waste in America. Visit their website to find all the details about the available positions.

Green Corps Now Accepting Applications
Green Corps is looking for college graduates who are ready to take on the biggest environmental challenges of our day. In Green Corps' year-long paid program, you'll get hands-on experience fighting to solve urgent environmental problems - global warming, deforestation, water pollution and many others - with groups such as Sierra Club and Food and Water Watch. When you graduate from Green Corps, they help you find a career with one of the nation's leading environmental and social change groups. For more information, visit the Green Corps website.

Student Conservation Association Internships
The SCA is one of the biggest partners for national parks and forests. Each year, they send thousands of youth across the country to get conservation experience in awesome places. Living expenses, housing, and round trip travel provided. Internships run from 3-12 months and are available in all 50 states. Visit their website for more information and to apply.  

Volunteer at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
Interested in gardening, habitat restoration, tidepooling, maintaining exhibits and helping at events for the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History? Volunteer today! Find out more and fill out an application here or email Matt.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Green Tip #4: Help Make Move-Out Zero Waste

Has your room or apartment been filling up with things accumulated during the year? Look for opportunities to swap unwanted items with friends, either informally or at a college sponsored event, such as the Stevenson College Swap Meet at Rock and Roll on the Knoll on June 3. There will also be donation bins around the dorms to collect unwanted items for donation to folks who can use your old stuff.

Going home before finals? Take some of your stuff with you. Start clearing out what you don't need now and avoid the stress and last minute rush.
Source: UCSC aims for Zero-Waste move-out in June 2012
Remember to recycle cans, bottles, and all that collected paper early, because recycling bins fill up within hours during finals week. Lastly, take the rest with you when you move out. Make life a little easier and safer for the workers that have to clean the rooms after move out.

Be part of the Zero Waste solution by planning ahead, utilizing resources around you, and remembering the three Rs of sustainability!

June 2012: Classes, Training & Community

IDEASS Now Accepting Applications: Deadline June 20
Are you an innovative, entrepreneurial, and self-motivated student seeking opportunities to put ideas about sustainable design, social change and environmental stewardship to the test? A new interdisciplinary program: Impact Designs, Engineering and Sustainability through Student Service (IDEASS) is now accepting applications for class enrollment for the 2012-2013 academic year. Juniors and Seniors from all majors are encouraged to apply. Click here for details, and here to apply now!

Opportunities with ESLP Next Year
The Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP) offered eleven wonderful student-led sections this Spring Quarter. They also had an inspiring guest lecture series that raised awareness and brought new ideas to the table about environmentalism and social justice issues. If you want to become part of the inspiration, they’re offering organizer positions and 2-5 unit internships for the upcoming academic year. For more information, visit their website or send them an email.

Summer Writing Workshops
This summer, UCSC Environmental Studies lecturer and research associate Sarah Rabkin will be offering a five-day writing retreat in the northern Sierra Nevada and two workshops at Sitka Center for Art & Ecology, on the Oregon coast. For more information, please click here.

Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy: Apply by June 1
Graduate and senior-level undergraduate students are invited to apply for this University of Illinois at Chicago interdisciplinary program that explores a broad spectrum of sustainability and energy related topics including policy, economics, health, science, engineering, environment, urban planning, business and entrepreneurship. Themed "Election 2012: Energy, Economics and Environment," the August 2012 institute will use the presidential election as the point of departure for a critical analysis of national energy and sustainability issues. For fullest consideration, applications should be submitted by June 1.

Webinar: Creating a Bike-Friendly Campus Culture - June 6
Best for those institutions that are still in the foundational stages of developing a campus-wide alternative transportation strategy, this Academic Impressions webinar will take a step-by-step approach to creating a bike-friendly culture on any campus using Duke University (NC) as an example. Supported by AASHE, this event will start with basic initiatives including bike racks, bike storage rooms and bike maps, and move into deeper investments like developing effective town/gown relationships. It will take place at 4 PM online. Click here for more information and to register.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Introducing: PROPS PLOPS - Sustainability stories from offices in the Program Recognizing Offices Practicing Sustainability (PROPS).

This week, students of PROPS, UCSC's own green office certification program sat down with representatives of the Program's most recent participants located off campus at 2300 Delaware: Enterprise Financial Systems and Extra Mural Funds. In the meeting, PROPS witnessed another example showing that UCSC's commitment to sustainability is not limited to campus boundaries. 

Written by Rebekah Jamison, a green liaison of Extra Mural Funds, below is a description of a great initiative that EMF has taken to reduce paper towel consumption.

"I noticed we had one towel in our kitchen area that seemed to get a lot of use. I use to be in charge of washing the reusable hand towels for my daughter's kindergarten class and thought I should do that for work. During Bring Your Towel to Work Week, I thought I would start doing just that. I put a pile of hand towels in the kitchen area and then got the idea to put a bucket that says "dirty towels" also in the kitchen area. I then decided that I would be responsible for bringing the towels home weekly and washing them with my towels at home. 

PROPS Interns Assessing the Cantu Center

"Another staff member and I started talking about this one day and she said she also had a bunch of old towels she could bring in. Since then, we go through a bucket of towels about every two weeks. I take 
them home to wash them, and my colleague has also volunteered to take them home from time to time. The towels are being used daily and I really think it has made a huge difference in how many paper towels we use in our kitchen area."

This is not the only example of an office kicking the paper towel habit - UCSC's Purchasing Department recently coordinated an entire week devoted to reusable towel usage. More news on this event coming soon!

PROPS and the Sustainability Office commend all offices that take innovative initiatives like this to improve the sustainability of their daily operations. We challenge all offices to show UCSC how sustainable they can be!

For more information on the Green Office Certification Program (formerly PROPS) and a list of its certified offices, visit the website!