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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Air Expressions: Grant Funding for Clean Air Projects

Application deadline 5pm: Monday, December 17, 2012. 

      The Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District (District) is seeking applications for
science and technology projects that advance the understanding of relevant Air Quality and
Climate Change issues. The District is soliciting projects from high school (9-12th grades) and
college undergraduate students. While each project must be created and completed by students,
every project must have an involved academic advisor. The academic advisor Will be responsible
for project oversight, including technical and grant management. This grant opportunity is ideal
for science clubs, science classes, student groups, and individual students. Grants may be funded
up to the following amounts:

Grades 9-12 $1,500.00
Undergraduate $5,000.00

To apply for funding each applicant must complete:

  •  An on-line application form 
  •  Develop and submit a project abstract based on one ofthe Díst1'ict’s proj ect topics (listed in Attachment A) 
  • A detailed project work plan and itemized budget 
  • Grant amount requested 
  • Identify project deadlines 

Project funds must be spent by May 10, 2013 for high school proiects. For undergraduate student
projects, funds must be spent by the end of the semester/quarter or on a date agreed upon by the

We invite students and teachers in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties to apply for
grants that use creativity and imagination, to help the District improve air quality and build a
better future With informed and motivated young people.

Applications may be found on our website.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fall Waste Report and How You Can Help

The school year is off to a great start for waste reduction at UCSC! The Sustainability Office's Zero Waste Team has been working with campus partners and student organizations like the Student Environmental Center to help UCSC reach its commitment of being a zero-waste campus by 2020. Zero Waste is defined as having 95%-100% of all waste from campus diverted from the landfill through reducing the use of disposable materials and repairing, reusing, recycling or composting everything else.

Learn how the Zero Waste team has helped to make our zero-waste goal a reality at student move in, OPERS fall fest, and through a new reusable dishware program.

Fall 2012 Move-In
Each year freshmen and many returning students move into on-campus dorms and apartments, bringing with them thousands of pounds of waste. To insure that recyclable materials ended up in the right waste stream, the ZWT set up “cardboard corals” during move-in week at each college so students and parents could easily sort their waste into cardboard, Styrofoam blocks, Styrofoam peanuts, plastic film, and mixed recyclables. This year at move-in we collected:
  • 42,500 pounds of cardboard, the equivalent of 357 trees! 
  • 600 pounds of Styrofoam blocks that will be donated to a company that makes surfboard blanks (learn more about that company here)
  • 21,380 pounds of mixed recycles (aluminum cans, plastic/glass bottles, paper)
  • 300 pounds of plastic film; think about how light plastic film is, and how much must make up 300 pounds worth of it!
That's almost 65,000 pounds of recyclable material that was diverted from the landfill during move-in this year!

OPERS Fall Festival
Working with the recycling crew and OPERS staff, the ZWT set up and monitored four zero waste stations around this campus-wide event. Volunteers, or "trash-talkers," helped advise attendees about which bin their waste belonged in, helping keep our streams as pure as possible and educating students and festival-goers about what sustainability and zero waste looks like at UC Santa Cruz. We call this event "zero waste" because we greatly reduce the waste that goes to the landfill to a minimum. Making OPERS Fest zero waste is an ongoing process that also involves educating attendees about how to sort their own waste, and next year the campus will aim for even higher rates of "zero waste." 

For the first time, all waste was weighed and recorded, and these numbers will give the campus a starting point from which we can watch our waste reduce toward zero:
  • 1,755 pounds compost (that's about how much a typical giraffe weighs!)
  • 181.5 pounds recycling
  • 167.5 pounds cardboard recycling
  • 197.5 pounds trash

Think about how much energy, water, time and money it takes to manufacture a disposable plate. To have it promptly disposed into the trash can after you eat from it for 10 minutes doesn’t seem very worth it. To change this, the Zero Waste Team piloted a project last year called “slugware,” an act of replacing disposable dishware with re-usable dishware at UCSC events. This would save tons of waste from entering the landfill and would also save the school plenty of money. As of now, the Ethnic Resource Center has slugware available for their events and College 8/Oakes and Crown/Merrill dining halls are participating in the washing of slugware. It is the goal for this year to expand slugware to other organizations and have the participation of all five dining halls. If we succeed, just imagine all the resources we're saving!

And here’s how you can help with campus waste reduction:

Food Recovery Challenge: Take only the food that you will eat in the dining halls, at campus vendors and events. Join us in our goal to reduce food waste by 5% by the end of this year and learn more about this goal here.

Compost: All dining halls and cafes run by dining compost your food scraps and to-go containers. Every month 50 tons of waste is diverted from the landfill from composting, so don’t forget to compost!

BYOM: Bring your own mug to campus!  Every year, students use tens of thousands of paper cups that go straight to the landfill.  Between 2010-2012 cafés on campus used 568,000 paper cups, 413,500 lids and 266,100 cup sleeves.  That’s a lot of trash! But we can change these figures:  If you bring your own mug to any coffee shop on campus you will receive a discount. The Perk Coffee Bars even have a Bring Your Own Mug Coffee Card that give you a FREE drink when you bring a mug seven times!

Reduce Paper Towel Waste: Check out information here about our pilot project with Path to a Greener Stevenson to eliminate paper towels in the restrooms at Stevenson College. Paper towels are a huge part of our waste stream and simple changes like eliminating paper towels from the residence halls can go a long way in reducing our waste!

Apply to be a Student Sustainability Advisor: Student Sustainability Advisors will be working with students, staff and the UCSC community to advise and educate students on sustainability. Plus you get $1500 towards housing each quarter! Check the UCSC Career Center Employment Request System for more info in the next few weeks.

Green Office Certification: All Around Campus

The Green Office Certification team--formerly known as PROPS--is working hard and growing fast in its second full year of operation. Already this quarter we have certified Environmental Health and Safety, the Sustainability Office, and the Natural Reserves Office, with many more scheduled to participate in winter quarter. (For a complete list of certified offices, please visit our website.

Composed of 4 students and facilitated by intern coordinator Shauna Casey, the Green Offices program is an effective educating tool that works to spread sustainable office practices to students and staff across campus. Our simple 3-part process assesses office waste generation, electrical output, and behaviors. Based on our established criteria we score the office in each category to achieve their final certified level of Seed, Sprout, Sapling, or Tree.

For each category assessed we give recommendations to the entire office on practical, realistic changes that will save money and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Staff participation facilitates this process, and innovation is encouraged. Perhaps your office will adopt a 'Bring Your Towel to Work Day' or sponsor an educative waste collection program. Equally important, however, is that we do not interfere with an office's work or otherwise inconvenience the staff. Our assessment process is non-invasive and we only require full office participation when we meet at the end to discuss what changes we can make together.

If you are interested in our program or wish to have your office certified, simply fill out our interest form. We hope that you will join us in reaching our campus goals of COemission reduction and spreading sustainability across campus!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

December 2012 Sustainability Profile: Larry Pageler

Each month, our newsletter features a person or group on campus that is working toward a more sustainable world. This month's profile features Larry Pageler, Director of Transportation & Parking Services (TAPS) at UC Santa Cruz. Last month, we reported here on the new bike maintenance stations recently installed by TAPS across campus, which allow cyclists to fix their bikes for free 24-7.

Larry Pageler, Director of TAPS, at Cathedral Lake

We asked Larry what he thinks about sustainability and how it relates to his work at UCSC.

Name: Larry Pageler
Title: Director, Transportation & Parking Services
Education: B.S. in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz (Crown College), Class of 1982
Favorite food: Sushi

Favorite Green Tips: Turn off unnecessary lights, especially around your home. And shut off "phantom" power supplies whenever possible with a power strip switch. While my professional focus is on sustainable transportation, saving electricity is such an easy thing to do it's at the top of my list.

What does "sustainability" mean to you? Sometimes it means "doing more with less;" at other times, it simply means "doing with less." But perhaps the most important thing is raising my kids (twin 14-year-old boys, Jed and Aren) to understand and appreciate how we impact and interrelate with the world around us. Long after I'm gone, they'll be dealing with the world my generation has left them—and I think they'll make much better choices than many of us, thanks in part to what they've learned from their mom and dad.

How does sustainability relate to your role at UCSC? I oversee most of the transportation and parking services at UCSC, which has a 40-year history of supporting alternative transportation modes like SCMTD transit, Campus Transit services, the Bike Shuttle, and many other programs. What we used to do to reduce parking and traffic impacts, we now do to reduce the campus' carbon footprint.

How do you practice sustainability in your daily life? In many ways, big and small. We installed an 8kW solar photovoltaic system on our house in May 2007 and now produce more than 85% of our total electrical demand. We reduced our mobile GHG emissions by buying a Prius, and our propane use by installing an instant-on water heater at home. Shopping at the Farmers Market each Saturday morning has become a tradition. And buying local organic food whenever possible is good for the planet, the community, and my family.

Have you had a favorite sustainability moment at UCSC? Some years ago, while attending a New Student Orientation program one summer, a young woman approached the TAPS table and proudly announced that "my parents were ready to give me a car when I graduated from high school. But I told them to put that money toward my education and get me an awesome mountain bike instead. With the buses and Zipcar and my bike, I expect to get around Santa Cruz just fine!"

To learn more about Transportation at UC Santa Cruz, please visit the Transporation & Parking Services website here.

Composting at the Colleges

Wondering how you can participate in reducing zero waste on campus in your living space?

Students in apartments can request a compost bucket, which they fill with cold composting food scraps and empty into bins near the recycling and landfill containers. Waste reduction teams empty the compost bins once a week and bring the food scraps to the garden. Go to to request your compost bin right now!

Megan Taylor is a Waste Reduction Coordinator for Porter, Kresge, College 9, and College 10. Her job is to inform students about what to do with uncommon items that can be recycled like old electronics or batteries. "One main way that we’re helping to reduce waste on campus is through composting. I’ve been really excited with the amount of participation from residences so far."

Roughly 15% of all garbage at UCSC is food waste that could have been diverted from the landfill by composting (or by taking less food in the dining halls, at campus food vendors, and at campus events). Learn more here about our campus' commitment to reduce food waste by 5% this year by participating in the EPA's Food Recovery Challenge.

December 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 form. 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!

University of Toledo Debuts Friday Night Lights Program
Two student organizations, Engineers Without Borders and the Society for Environmental Education, have teamed up to create the Friday Night Lights Program. In an effort to reduce energy consumption, student participants will turn off lights in campus buildings that would otherwise be left on over the weekend. Energy savings will be monitored and recorded at the end of the semester.

The 10 campuses of the University of California system will survey all faculty, staff, students and trainees about their experiences with campus climate relating to respect, diversity and inclusion. Survey results will provide a view of each location as well as an overview of the system, and will help focus campuses on what is going well and where improvement is needed. The project is funded by the UC President’s Initiative Fund.

UC Berkeley researchers team up with the community to eliminate toxic chemicals
UC Berkeley researchers are teaming up with local organizations to plant thousands of ferns in a South Berkeley lot in an effort to extricate toxic chemicals and eventually create a new haven of green gardens. The project, spearheaded by the campus department of environmental science and the citywide nonprofit organization Berkeley Partners for Parks, will experiment with pteris vittata, also known as the Chinese brake--a specialized fern known to extract a thousand times more arsenic from the soil than a typical plant. If successful, the city will then transform the area into a greenway lined with bicycle paths and trees

December 2012: Classes, Training, & Community

Waste Prevention & Water Blueprint Breakout: January 23
The Student Environmental Center (SEC) is hosting its fourth Blueprint Breakout of the year on January 23rd, from 5:30 to 8:30 PM in the College Eight Red Room. The topics of this breakout will be Waste Prevention and Water. Come contribute your ideas for how to make the UCSC community more sustainable so they can be included in this year's Blueprint for a Sustainable Campus. There will be a free catered dinner provided for all participants. Please contact Katie Lippus with questions.

Sustainability Community Hikes On-Campus - All Are Welcome!
Join fellow UCSC Sustainability Community members for hikes into upper campus, led by Melissa Ott and Brenden Fant, two student sustainability leaders at UCSC. These hikes present opportunities to relax and get to know one another in an informal, inter-organizational setting. The goal is to have fun, build relationships and friendships, and explore our campus's natural reserves in an unstructured way. Skills sharing and participant-led activities during the hike are encouraged! Please email Melissa Ott to join the email list, or join the Facebook group here.

This winter quarter course will explore the roles that metaphor and story-telling play in the process of creating environmental art.  Students will study examples of art works by ecologically engaged artists as well as scientists and activists, informing students' practice around our own the environmentally focused works.  Learn more about the program here.

Environmental Leadership Program Fellowship Application Deadline February 1
The Environmental Leadership Program is accepting applications for its 2013 Fellowship Program. The program brings together environmental and social change leaders from academia, business, government and the non-profit sector. It offers intensive leadership training and regional networking opportunities. The application deadline is February 1, 2013.

Permaculture Design Certificate Course and Leadership Training - February 16-24
Go beyond sustainability towards a truly regenerative culture! The Regenerative Leadership Institute's experiential permaculture design certification course is your path towards a career in regenerative permaculture design and a truly thriving life, deeply rooted in the patterns of nature and a larger vision of regenerative community and regenerative culture. This intensive retreat lasts from February 16-24. Apply on the website today!

The program offers the chance to credential sustainability work through single seminars or a six-seminar sustainability leadership certificate. All work is completed online. Participants will learn to assess the sustainability of their organization's policies and practices, communicate sustainability initiatives and evaluate best practices. New online seminars begin 11 times each year, and the next session start date is January 24. Upcoming seminars include "Tools and Techniques for Planning and Managing Sustainability Projects" and "A Systems Approach to Sustainability."

Heard about other sustainability related classes, trainings, or community opportunities around Santa Cruz or the campus? Post in the comments!

December 2012: News & Achievements

Classrooms Without Walls at UCSC through Natural Reserves and Forest Ecology Research
Learn how the UCSC Campus Natural Reserves is connecting students to research in the natural areas of our campus, like the UCSC Forest Ecology Research Plot (FERP), and how this is helping them apply what they're learning in the classroom to the world around them. Read the article here in UCSC's Review magazine. Contact Alex Jones to inquire about how to get involved--up to 20 interns a quarter are needed to work on this globally-renowned, Smithsonian Institute affiliated research project!

Fall Waste Report
The Sustainability Office's Zero Waste Team has been working with campus partners and student organizations to help UCSC reach its commitment of being a zero-waste campus by 2020. Zero Waste is defined as having 95%-100% of all waste from campus diverted from the landfill through reducing the use of disposable materials and repairing, reusing, recycling or composting everything else. Learn how the Zero Waste team has helped to make our zero-waste goal a reality by reading the full article here.

Dining by Daylight Saves Energy in Dining
Through working with PowerSave Green Campus (PSGC), the College 9/10 dining hall has seen massive energy savings as a result of recent student projects, such as "Dining by Daylight." Ideas for new projects show promise for yet more improvements in the 9/10 Dining Hall. Read an interview here with Clint Jeffries, Unit Manager of the 9/10 Dining Hall, written by PSGC's Calvin Ye. Learn more about PSGC on their website.

Residential Composting
Wondering how you can participate in reducing zero waste on campus in your living space? Composting and waste reduction programs are taking place all over campus. Learn more here!

Family Student Housing (FSH) and Chadwick Garden Composting Project
Over the past year, Family Student Housing community members have rallied together to renovate their community garden. In an effort to improve the garden yet further, FSH has opted to collaborate with Chadwick Garden to pilot a garden composting project. Although FSH will be transporting the compost to Chadwick Garden, FSH gardeners and residents alike, are excited to be working towards a more sustainable garden. Interested in learning more about this project? Email Alan VanderPaas.

Need a Bike for Winter Quarter? Bike Lending Library Applications due by January 18, 2013
The UCSC Bike Library is a TAPS resource coordinated by Student Environmental Center interns. It's a quarter-long bike lending program targeting students that want to get around Santa Cruz without contributing to greenhouse gases. Applications to receive a free bike are due by the end of the 2nd week of each quarter, which is January 18, 2013 if you're applying for a bike for winter quarter. Send them an email for more information and visit the website to apply.

IDEASS Students Inspired by Tour of NASA Ames Sustainability Base
This month, students in IDEASS (Impact Designs: Engineering and Sustainability Through Student Service), a service-learning class, took a field trip to NASA Ames Sustainability Base, where they learned about two research projects concerning microgrid research and and algae to biodiesel conversion. These cutting-edge projects implemented by NASA will provide IDEASS students with inspiration for their own projects they are working on this year. Read the article by Hanna Haas about the tour here.

"Dining by Daylight": An Interview with Clint Jeffries about Dining Energy Projects

The following is a selection from the PowerSave Green Campus (PGSC) November newsletter, authored by PSGC intern, Calvin Ye. 

This quarter, Calvin had time to catch up with Clinton Jeffries, unit manager for UC Santa Cruz’s College 9/10 Dining Hall, to talk about past and future projects that involved energy savings.   

Calvin: What were some past projects that you completed with PowerSave Green Campus?

Clint: A successful past project that PowerSave Green Campus has been done was “Dining by  Daylight,” which was lead by a past project coordinator Gabriel Martin.  The concept behind this project was to encourage turning off the lights during the daytime and allow natural sunlight to illuminate the dining hall while saving a lot of energy in the process. The success of this project has allowed College 9/10 dining hall to continue to dine in the daylight without turning on the lights and in hopes of implementing the same plan to all dining halls through the UC Santa Cruz campus.

Calvin: How much energy was saved with the completion of this project?

Clint: The dining hall have saved up to 15,000kWh of energy and hopefully we can implement a similar project to dining halls across campus.

Calvin: What other events has PowerSave Green Campus done to collaborate with College 9/10 dining hall?

Clint: PowerSave Green Campus have hosted a tabling event in our dining hall to outreach to the students about becoming more energy efficient with their sponsor, Clif Bars, which attracted many students to learn about energy saving. 

Calvin: What are some potential future projects you would like to see happen with PowerSave Green Campus and College 9/10 dining hall?

Clint: I would like to look into changing our  old refrigeration, dish washer and ice maker system with more energy efficient ones because those machines run constantly and burn a lot of  unused energy. Hopefully we can organize another project with PSGC and continue to make a difference in our community.

To learn more about PSGC, please send them an email or visit their Facebook page.

ART 124 - Material Metaphors: Creating Meaning in Form (The Earth as Metaphor)

"The Hidden Life Within" - Giuseppe Penone
(Photo from My Modern Met)
Winter Quarter
MWF 3:30-6:00PM
Room H101 - Baskin Visual Arts
Instructed by E. Stephens

This course will explore the roles that metaphor and story-telling play in the process of creating environmental art.  Students will study examples of art works by ecologically engaged artists as well as scientists and activists, informing students' practice around their own the environmentally focused works.  

Works can be created collaboratively or they can be produced individually.  The work produced in this course will engage metaphors and/or issues of ecology/environmentalism and/or the Earth in some way.  

The course aims to give students an understanding of the who, what, where, how and why of environmental art.

Visiting artists and presenters will help to lend multiple perspectives to the concept of environmental art:
  • Zeph Fish: Member of the Beehive Design Collective Work
  • Helen & Newton Harrison: DANM Environmental Artists
  • Jeffrey Bury: UCSC Environmental Studies Professor
  • Nita Little: Dancer and Scholar
  • Duskin Drum: Visual Artist and Activist
  • John Zibel: Performance Artist and Actor
Interested in learning more? Email the instructor or check out the enrollment page.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

UCSC Participates in EPA's National Food Recovery Challenge

In celebration of America Recycles Day on November 15th, the U.S. Environmental Agency announced the participation of 17 California, Nevada, and Arizona universities in EPA’s national Food Recovery Challenge. The Challenge is a voluntary program that aims to limit the 34 million tons of food wasted nationwide annually by reducing unnecessary consumption and increasing donations to charity and composting. By participating, these schools, with a combined 460,000 student enrollment, pledge to reduce food waste by 5% in one year.

UCSC is participating in the Challenge, along with each of the other UC campuses. "We felt it was another important component, to measure our reduction and help integrate the entire campus in a zero waste culture. Along with food scrap collection at all dining facilities, dining has an aggressive recycling program for all food packaging and supplies currently diverting over 500 tons of potential land fill waste to composting facilities," says Clint Jefferies, Green Business Manager, UC Santa Cruz Dining Services.

UCSC's commitment is to reduce food waste by 5% campus-wide this year and to become a zero waste campus by 2020. Food waste at UCSC comprises roughly 15% of our waste. This means that 15% of our campus' waste is food that could have been diverted from the landfill if people were to take less or compost their food.

As a member of the campus community, you can participate in the challenge by taking only the food you will eat in the dining halls, apartments, at campus vendors, and campus events. If you're planning a campus event, see How to Host a Zero Waste Event.

New Student Sustainability Advisor Positions in Colleges

For students living on campus, college life involves living, studying, and socializing in the college community they're affiliated with. In each of the housing areas, students produce waste and use resources in their day-to-day lives. At a campus where "environmental responsibility" is a part of our mission, UCSC colleges have created new Student Sustainability Advisor positions to support environmental responsibility on-the-ground.

"The SSA's primary role is to raise awareness and offer educational opportunities about ways campus residents can positively affect and contribute to UCSC’s sustainability goals," says Silas Snyder, Safety, Training and Conservation Coordinator for UCSC Housing and Dining Facilities.

Though many of the colleges are working toward zero waste goals, have gardens, or participate in composting, community life in the ten colleges at UCSC is about to get even greener, thanks to the new Student Sustainability Advisor (SSA) position that is currently open for applicants.

The SSAs will collaborate with campus sustainability leaders and residential life program staff and students to bring sustainability programs and awareness more to the forefront of residential life at UCSC. These student leaders will expand the team of people working on meeting the University's various conservation commitments, like the green house gas, landfill reduction, and water reduction goals. To learn more about the SSA position and find out how you can apply, please contact Silas Snyder or apply to ER #6782 the Employee Request System here.

December 2012: Internships, Employment, and Volunteering

Like the beautiful forest of our campus, here is a veritable forest of opportunities for you to get involved in the sustainability movement, both on and off the UCSC campus. You can make sure that the world's trees stay around for a long time through a wide variety of programs for people with different interests and passions. Take a look!

New! Student Sustainability Advisors
Colleges, Housing and Educational Services is creating new Student Sustainability Advisors, who will collaborate with campus sustainability leaders and residential life program staff and students to bring sustainability programs and awareness more to the forefront of residential life at UCSC. To learn more about the SSA position and find out how you can apply, please contact Silas Snyder or read more here.

Help UCSC Take Back the Tap
Take Back the Tap strives to eliminate the sale of single use water bottles on the UCSC campus to advocate for access to clean water worldwide and reduce waste. If you're interested in getting involved or have any questions please visit the website, Facebook page, or send an email.

Get Hands On with CAFF
The Community Alliance with Family Farmers wants volunteers to work in their education programs for low-income youth in the Santa Cruz area. Kids aren’t your thing? They also need volunteers for their Harvest Of The Month campaign which highlights the produce of local farmers. Check out their website to learn more.

Undergrads Can Do Real Research
UCSC is ranked the 2nd most influential research university in the world. Because of this, undergrads are considered an important resource for the work that we do here.  Opportunities to become a part of that are always changing! To find out more about how you can become a student researcher visit the undergrad research website.

Be a Program Leader in Nicaragua Through GSE
The Global Student Embassy is seeking students to help run sustainability projects in Nicaragua. Do you speak Spanish? Do you know about sustainable living and farming techniques? You could be an important part of making sure a developing country learns to grow in a way that’s safe for the environment. For more information on this specific program and how to apply please visit their website.

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.

A National Environmental Organization Wants YOU
The Environmental Leadership Program has just opened up applications for positions in 2013. Want to become a part of environmental change at a national level? Consider applying to become a Fellow of the program and begin your journey to a sustainable career, through networking with some of the most influential environmental leaders in the country. Visit their website to learn more.

Environmental Education for the Next Generation Seeking Instructors

EENG provides free, youth-led environmental education programs to 1st and 2nd grade classrooms in public schools throughout California to help cultivate the next generation of passionate caretakers of the earth. For more information, please visit their website

Bike Smart Seeking Cyclists for School Bicycle Rodeo Events
Come share your passion for bikes with the youth of Santa Cruz County. Ecology Action's Bike Smart Program is seeking enthusiastic cyclists of all abilities to assist with their school bicycle rodeo events, which empowers and engages students through safe cycling education. For more information, please visit the website.

Find or Upload Projects to Sustainability Project Clearinghouse
Interested in getting involved in a campus sustainability project, but don't know how? Are you looking for partners for your current project? Have you completed a project that you would like others to learn from? Visit the Sustainability Project Clearinghouse, a centralized database of UCSC sustainability projects, today! You can view published projects or upload your own projects and ideas. For training on how to upload a project, please contact Shauna Casey.

Know about other internship, employment, or volunteering opportunities related to sustainability around Santa Cruz or the campus? Post in the comments or send us an email!

IDEASS Students Inspired by NASA Ames Innovative Projects

Article by Hanna Haas, Student Outreach Coordinator for IDEASS

The IDEASS (Impact Designs: Engineering and Sustainability Through Student Service) class had the pleasure of touring the NASA Ames Center this month, where they learned about innovations in green building technologies, research on renewable energy micro-grid systems, and an engineering project that converts algae into a biodiesel fuel stock while simultaneously sequestering harmful carbon emissions and cleaning up wastewater. 
IDEASS Class at NASA Ames Center
NASA Ames recently completed construction of a new building called the Sustainability Base, where students were able to learn about topics such as net zero energy use, and bloom fuel cells, which convert natural gas into electricity through a chemical reaction rather than traditional combustion, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For more information about the design of the sustainability base, click here.

IDEASS also toured research facilities linked to an onsite microgrid, which is used to make predictive models that will support consistent energy delivery for its users. This is in particular interest to a few of the IDEASS students who will be working on a five-year effort to create micro grids in Santa Cruz. 

Additionally, the class was given a presentation by a former IDEASS student who is working as a research assistant to convert algae into fuel. Algae can be grown as a crop that is very high in oil content. Thus, algae can be converted into "clean energy" biofuels that cleans waste water, removes carbon dioxide from the air, and retain important nutrients. NASA plans to integrate this technology into bio refineries to produce renewable energy products, including diesel and jet fuel. For more information on this project, click here

Though many IDEASS projects focus on other topics than those demonstrated at the NASA Ames Center, all of the students who attended the tour were inspired by these projects that show the possibility of innovation. 

Interested in enrolling in IDEASS for Winter Quarter? 
There will be a few spots available for winter enrollment on select projects concerning select projects. If interested, please email for more information.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Introduction to the Climate Action Team

Indya and Camille the Climate Action team members

Hi Sustainability Folks!

We are the Climate Action Team on the UCSC campus working to create student, staff and faculty collaboration in order to reduce our overall campus greenhouse gas emissions. 

Indya Green is our Climate Action Intern working on establishing a climate action related projects on campus and outreaching for the Climate Action Plan and the Campus Sustainability Plan. 

Camille Carrillo is the Campus Sustainability Internship Program Climate Action Intern, working on establishing a Green Revolving loan fund on campus and outreaching to students about the Climate Action Plan. 

What is the Climate Action Plan? 

A governing document on the UCSC campus established by the Climate Action Working Group, that provides three goals to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions/footprint. 

Those three goals are:

2000 levels by the year 2014
1990 levels by 2020
80% below 1990 levels by 2050

These levels are the levels of greenhouse gas emissions that our whole campus emits, thats including student, staff and faculty activities. 

The Climate Action Team members, Indya and I, are currently working with the Climate Action Manager, Lacey Raak, to update and revise the plan in order to get it approved by March 2013. 

If you want to help us reach our goals, get involved with one of the many working groups on campus!
These working groups are primarily staff but they encourage student involvement and provide opportunities for collaboration between students and staff. Some of the working groups related to directly reducing our greenhouse gas emissions are Climate, Energy, and Transportation. 

Any questions about the Climate Action Plan or if you want to get involved with the working groups
Please feel free to contact Camille Carrillo

A new project has begun this quarter! In collaboration with Environmental Health and Safety and Green Campus, the Sustainability Office is establishing a Green Labs Certification Program!  The vision is to create a green lab program that improves energy efficiency and increases green purchasing and recycling through behavioral change, physical improvements and education. We are working on our certification checklist at the moment using ideas from programs at Yale, Harvard, UC Irvine, and other schools. Our goal is to have 2 certified pilot labs by July 2013!

If you have any questions regarding this program, are part of a lab and/or want to get involved, please contact Indya Green at 

Reduce, Reuse, Rejoice: Green Holiday Tips

The holidays are coming and along with the holiday cheer comes increased energy use, transportation and waste in general. During the holiday season, we may be scrambling to get out of our dorms and houses to head home. Once home we might rush to get a last minute ingredient or present. In your mad rush, don't forget about energy conservation and other wasteful habits that have an impact on our environment. Take only what you'll eat to avoid food waste at meals, consider the sources and life-cycle for gifts you buy, and consider buying less stuff! (watch the Story of Stuff). Here and below are some additional tips for going green this holiday as well as some sobering statistics to help motivate you to find ways to integrate sustainability into your holiday rituals.

Before you head home, remember: 

  • There will be a planned electrical shutdown on campus and could be power outages over break, so remember to unplug all appliances, electronics, and shut off power strips. Be sure to empty mini-fridges, unplug, and leave the door ajar. 
  • Close windows and blinds to prevent major heat and cool fluxes. 
  • Empty trash and recycling in proper receptacles. 
  • Please respect the campus closure dates. Our campus plans for energy savings during campus closures-- please help us keep our energy use down during those dates.

Once home: 

  • Shut curtains and lower your blinds for extra insulation. 
  • If you have a programmable thermostat and you'll be out of the house, turn it to 60 degrees. Keep it a little lower than you're comfortable with in short sleeves when you're home and supplement with layers and blankets. 
  • Make sure to check faucets for leaks and tighten them before you leave your house for holiday or winter festivities 
Also remember that energy conservation is important year-round! If you would like to get involved in doing energy assessments and finding ways to reduce energy use on-campus, check out PowerSave Green Campus or the Green Office Certification Program if you'd like to have your office's waste and energy assessed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

EPA Food Recovery Challenge

EPA Honors Calif., Nev., Ariz. Universities for Pledge to Significantly Reduce Food Waste

Seventeen Schools Pledge Multi-ton Waste Reduction

SAN FRANCISCO – In celebration today of America Recycles Day 2012, the U.S. Environmental Agency announces the participation of 17 California, Nevada, and Arizona universities in EPA’s national Food Recovery Challenge.  An event is being hosted by the University of California, Berkeley, one of the first participants to join the Food Recovery Challenge.  

The Food Recovery Challenge is a voluntary program that aims to limit the 34 million tons of food wasted nationwide annually by reducing unnecessary consumption and increasing donations to charity and composting.  By participating, these schools, with a combined 460,000 student enrollment, pledge to reduce food waste by five percent in one year
“Food waste is a particular problem for California, the world’s fifth largest food supplier, because of the enormous quantities of water and energy required for production,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest.  “EPA is proud to partner with these universities as they commit to support the environment and their community by reducing food waste.”

As participants, the 17 schools—University of California Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Merced, Riverside, San Francisco, Santa Barbara; and Santa Cruz; California State University Fullerton, Humboldt and Northridge; University of Southern California; City College San Francisco; Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University; and University of Nevada Las Vegas and Reno—join 42 other colleges and universities nationwide in pledging to reduce wasted food.  In addition to higher education institutions, other participants include grocers and entertainment venues, such as the Los Angeles Dodgers stadium.

Nationally, food is the single largest material sent to landfills, accounting for 25 percent of all waste sent to landfills.  When excess food, leftover food, and food scraps are disposed of in a landfill, they decompose and become a significant source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.  In turn, limiting wasted food will reduce methane emissions.  

The Food Recovery Challenge is part of EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program, which seeks to reduce the environmental impact of food and other widely-used everyday items through their entire life cycle, including how they are extracted, manufactured, distributed, used, reused, recycled, and disposed.

For more information on the Food Recovery Challenge, click here.  

For additional information on EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program, click here

Friday, November 9, 2012

Money Available For Your Project Ideas!

Imagine a carbon neutral campus  (a campus that removes as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it puts in). Solar panels and wind turbines on every roof. Bikes and pedestrians fill the streets. What else comes to mind when you think of a more sustainable campus? Did you know that there is tons of money available to help UCSC reduce its carbon footprint? 

UCSC's Carbon Fund was founded in 2010 through Measure 44, a $3-per-quarter student fee. The Carbon Fund provides grants to projects that reduce local greenhouse gas emissions on campus and in the surrounding Santa Cruz area. The UCSC Carbon Fund is dedicated to giving students, staff, and faculty members like you the power to make a change! We're looking to fund projects that reduce waste, energy, water, and gas consumption in innovative ways.

Past projects include the installation of a wind turbine on the Santa Cruz municipal wharf that helped to make the historic Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf energy more self-sufficient. 
For more examples of more past projects click here.

Project abstracts are due Friday, November 16th online. Access the abstract submission form here. We hope you take advantage of this great opportunity to help our community move towards a sustainable future! Apply for the Carbon Fund today!