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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Friendly Transportation Reminder

Over the weekend I took advantage of free parking in Core West parking structure. On Monday I received a note under my windshield wiper requesting a $35 donation within the next 21 days to support the Bike Shuttle and Vanpool programs. These alternative transportation methods have enabled members of the UCSC community to travel without depending upon personal vehicles. I am happy to comply and contribute my spare cash. But I do not plan on forgetting to move my vehicle out of Core West parking lot once the free weekend parking has expired.

So next time you get a parking ticket on campus remember that your contribution is going to help our community become less reliant upon personal vehicles.

Brenden Fant
Student Environmental Center: Transportation Campaign
IDEASS: Bicycle Transit Planning Team
Transportation Advisory Committee

Friday, February 22, 2013

UCSC Getting Greener: One Office at a Time

UCSC’s Green Office Certification Program is currently working with the offices of Student Union Assembly, Enterprise Financial Systems, and Controllers. Along with Extramural Funds—which received a Sprout certification last month—these offices will join the ranks of staff and students that have committed to practicing sustainability in their everyday lives.
By going through Green Office’s complete certification process—including assessments of energy use, office waste, and individual behaviors—the members of these offices have been able to improve upon existing positive behaviors and locate areas of office life where unwanted wasted can be eliminated.

Common examples of improvements are installing power strips that make it much easier to turn off appliances and avoid “phantom energy”, prompt reminders to turn off lights and computers, and making sure that everyone is educated on what belongs in recycling and what goes in the trash.

The offices of Business & Administrative Services have signed on to join in this process next quarter, and we welcome any and all other offices on campus to sign up as well by signing our interest form. Additional information on our process, and helpful resources for recycling and purchasing, can be found on our website.

Fostering sustainability in our community is best done on a personal, individual, level—and UCSC office members across campus are making that happen by committing to sustainability in their everyday lives. Join them today!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

City on a Hill Press Seeks Sustainably Minded Reporters

City on a Hill Press, the student-run newspaper at UCSC, is currently looking for new members for the coming quarter who are interested in covering the environment and sustainability. Interested applicants can apply online for next quarter at

Sunday, February 17, 2013

PowerSave Green Campus Wins Energy Project Award

UC Santa Cruz's PowerSave Green Campus Team showcased their College 9 and 10 Bi-Level Stairwell Retrofit Project at the Alliance to Save Energy Summit in Los Angeles in February and tied with Cal Poly San Luis Obisbo for the best poster. Congratulations! The competition for best poster and presentation was judged by a panel of representatives from the California utilities companies, California Public Utilities Commission, campus stakeholders, and Alliance staff.

About the Project
The stairwell lights in the six College 9 and College 10 dorm buildings are constantly lit, consuming almost 83% more energy than needed. Erin Linney, a PowerSave Project Coordinator, wrote a grant to propose that the current fixtures be replaced with bi-level occupancy sensor fixtures. Bi-level lighting has two different levels of light output from a fixture and an occupancy sensor, which determines when an area is occupied and when it is empty. Tthe new sensors will reduce the lighting to 3% of the normal light output.

Educating users
This quarter, interns for UC Santa Cruz PowerSave Green Campus are planning an educational outreach campaign in the College 9 and 10 dorms to promote the College 9 and 10 Bi-Level Stairwell Retrofit Project. They plan to display signs and posters in the dorms to educate the students about the energy savings from the project. Furthermore, they hope to collaborate with the R.A.’s in the colleges to host personal energy audit training events with the dorm residents.

To find out more about the program and this project, please email Erin Linney.

Friday, February 15, 2013

BYO Mug Program and Zero Waste Events

Reducing single-use paper cups, and Greening Cafes 

Did you know that you can divert 0.25 lbs of CO2 emissions (from manufacture and transport) each time you avoid a paper cup? Even though paper is recyclable, paper coffee cups are not because they have a plastic coating inside that forces their diversion to the landfill. 

Some Dining cafes do currently provide compostable cups, but they don’t always end up in compost bins, so avoid those paper cups and pledge to Bring Your Own Mug! Most cafes on campus provide at least a 10 cent discount, and you can use those green Stamp Cards at all Dining-operated cafes that provide a FREE drink if you BYOM 7 times. If you have a smartphone, you can also download the app Gving to use at all the Perks locations. 

The best way to always keep your mug handy is making it a routine to rinse it right after each use and then place it in your backpack or where you can easily find it. You can even personalize it, and there are a variety of styles of mugs available on campus and in the market to choose from. Find more cool tips and facts here: Carbon Rally  and Sustainable Choices.

Zero Waste Event Commitment
Are you involved in a SOAR or any organization that holds events? Apart from saving money, you can make a big impact in reducing our campus waste stream by making a formal commitment to zero waste. Studies have revealed that 56% of people remember what they visually observed at large events (such as recycling and compost bins being used!), while only 18% remember the cold hard facts they've been taught.  So imagine the difference it would make if the majority of campus events were zero waste! UCSC is already on the right track since one of its biggest events, the OPERS Festival, is a zero waste event. 

Through our pilot project, we plan to recognize as well as increase zero waste practices at events, especially within the SOAR community and hope to have 2-3 committed organizations by the end of the year. If you're interested in participate, or already hold zero waste events, let us know at

To learn more about zero waste events, check out this guide!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

College 9 & 10 Recycling Campaign

The Waste Reduction Team at Colleges 9 and 10 is launching their "Don’t be Trashy, Recycle it Right!” campaign at Kresge College, Porter College, and Colleges 9 & 10. The campaign aims to raise awareness of recycling opportunities on campus and includes a map for each of these colleges that shows where to recycle or compost almost everything, including items such as electronics, food scraps, batteries, ink cartridges, and more.

The maps come with a handy key that describes the function of each type of recycle bin we have as well as having a picture of the bin so that people on campus can identify them. The maps will be up soon, so look for them if you’re in any of those four colleges.

Drop Your Own Drip Competition Has Begun!

Student Environmental Center Campaign Drop Your Own Drip is proud to announce that they sent out their first monthly mock water statement to the apartment residents in February, and the competition has begun! These statements will be a compilation of the water usage within each apartment building. The water bills officially kicked off the campus-wide Drop Your Own Drip competition with prizes going to the college that reduces the greatest percentage of water per person. Students in the apartments, keep a lookout for these and remember to keep conserving!

Outdoor Classrooms and Living Laboratories

This winter, all 337 students in the Environmental Studies core class, ENVS 100--Ecology and Society, are heading out into the Campus Natural Reserve and surrounding natural lands for a two-part activity exploring salamander natural history and monitoring.

During the first week of the activity, students learn about the life histories of salamander species on campus, practice observation and natural history journaling, and with their observations develop a hypothesis about where they're most likely to find terrestrial salamanders in campus forests. The second week of the activity focuses on testing their hypothesis while learning monitoring techniques for salamanders. See some pictures here (scroll to the bottom)

Contact Campus Natural Reserve steward Alex Jones to get involved with internships and volunteer stewardship work days.

Green Office Certification for Extramural Funds

Congratulations to the Office of Extramural Funds successfully completed the Green Office Certification process and earned a "Sprout" rating.

"The certification process taught us the realities of recycling and helped us think about our every day actions and what those mean for sustainability," said Marcie Coulter, Special Projects and Compliance Manager.

They join the certification program's growing list of certified offices. Check out the Green Resources Page for some helpful tips on getting sustainable in your office.

Carbon Fund Awards Announced

The Carbon Fund Committee is pleased to announce it has awarded over $30,000 to six projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions on campus and in the surrounding Santa Cruz area. The following projects received funding:

1.     The Santa Cruz Green Wharf Lighting Retrofit team, led by graduate student Tiffany Wise-West, will install LED lighting on the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf, continuing to make Santa Cruz a model in green technology use.

2.     Three undergraduates from UCSC’s IDEASS class will work with at-risk youth from Natural Bridges High School to build two bike generators. Students will learn aspects of mechanical and electrical engineering as well as the energy usage of everyday appliances and electronics. They will use this information to makes changes in their personal lives and to hold events to teach others to do the same.

3.     A team of chemists and economists will work together to improve the BLEST machine, which is used to convert waste plastic into bio-diesel. The ultimate aim is to use the innovative technology to reduce UCSC’s non-recyclable plastic waste stream while providing biofuel for use in the campus fleet.

4.     In collaboration with the Student Environmental Center, Drop Your Own Drip works with students who live on-campus to reduce water consumption by sending them monthly mock water bills. The building with the lowest water bill receives prizes and a celebratory party.

5.     TAPS and the City of Santa Cruz have teamed up with students from IDEASS to conduct a bike route quality and safety index in order to determine and prioritize areas needing improvement.

6.     A group of programmers is developing a new smart phone application that will show on-campus residents how much energy their building is consuming and inspire them to make changes in their behavior.

If you are interested in receiving funding for your innovative project, visit the website to learn more!

Provost’s Sustainability Internship Program

Are you a student looking to make a difference on campus while gaining professional experience? Are you a staff member who would like assistance on your sustainability-related project? If so, consider applying for the Provost’s Sustainability Internship Program!

The year-long program pairs students with staff mentors to work together on sustainability related projects on campus, year-round. The program introduces students to sustainability policies and practices through internship work experience, professional skills trainings, guest lectures, class discussions, and peer-to-peer advising. Students receive academic credit quarterly, and a $1,500 scholarship at the end of the year for their service.

Student Intern applications and Staff Mentor applications are available online and are due March 15, 2013.

Past Internships

Sustainable Purchasing
2011-2012 Purchasing Intern Melina Meseroll and her Staff Mentor Kate Cunningham

Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Developing a green revolving loan fund for emissions reductions projects (2012-13)

Campus Waste
Stevenson students with their personal hand towels to replace the wasteful use of paper towels in the dorms. This project was a collaboration with Path to a Greener Stevenson (PTAGS). 

Green Buildings
  • LEED accreditation and documentation for campus building projects (2011-12)
  • Green demonstration apartment at College 8 (2010-11)
  • Cowell Health Center Green building exhibit (2010-11)

Land, Habitat and Watershed
  • Stewardship of campus trails through education and outreach (2012-13)
  • Invasive species mapping (2011-12)

  • Ending the sale of plastic water bottles on campus (2010-11)


Campus Training: Identifying Greenwashing in Product Marketing

We are constantly bombarded with green marketing buzzwords like “green,” “recycled,” and “natural." Use the new "greenwashing" tool on the UC Learning Center to learn the facts about what makes products environmentally preferable and how to avoid the deceptive marketing practice of "greenwashing."

This project was designed and created last year by Provost Sustainability Internship Program Purchasing Department intern Christian Frederick and his staff mentor Kate Cunningham. Learn more about the Internship Program here.

View the tool here.

Also, don’t miss out on a chance to learn more about Green Purchasing at UCSC. Attend the Green Purchasing workshop during this year’s Earth Summit on March 8th. Play some Greenwashing Games with fellow students and learn about important tips for when you shop! Learn more about Earth Summit here.

Sustainable Living at PICA

by Lidia Tropeano

Food connects us all. The intricacies of its impact on the environment and people goes beyond the consumptive, especially when realizing the many layers of social, ecological and political needs to address. It can be overwhelming, but I have found resolution in how to face these challenges by living in PICA.

The Program in Community Agroecology evolves each year with a regenerative cycle of students participating in experiential learning. At PICA, students play a vital role in achieving a greater connection to their food system by sharing knowledge with the UCSC community with the support and guidance of staff at the Sustainable Living Center. The garden is a learning tool. Living at PICA has put my studies at UCSC into context, empowering me to attain greater environmental integrity. In a diverse group of students with varied personal backgrounds and major-interests, we live together, fostering pro-community sentiment with emphasis in food and environmentally-conscious life skills.

Through student facilitated garden work days, collaborative events with other campus organizations, garden market carts, academic courses, internships, and campus outreach and education, PICA has impacted over 4,000 students. What we do at PICA contributes to the larger vision of the UCSC Campus Sustainability Plan. Our compost system engages 150 Village residents, diverting their food waste from landfill and transforming it into soil. Individuals learn tangible gardening skills such as propagation, composting and planting from student leaders within the community, thereby expanding knowledge of agroecology, food systems and self-directed learning.

My peers’ commitment to achieving a more sustainable lifestyle is inspiring. PICA has granted me a sustainable future through these experiences in college where living in an intentional community has become a model for my life.


Have a perspective or story about sustainability at UCSC that you want to share on our blog and newsletter? Email Melissa Ott for details!

March 2013 Sustainability Profile: Provost's Sustainability Internship Program

Each month, our newsletter features a person or group on campus that is working toward a more sustainable world. This month's profile features Tim Galarneau, Food Systems Education & Research Program Specialist for the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS), and Crystal Owings, an intern working with CASFS and the Food Systems Working Group (FSWG) through the Provost's Sustainability Internship Program.

This year-long program pairs students with staff mentors to work together on sustainability related projects on campus, year-round. The program introduces students to sustainability policies and practices through internship work experience, professional skills trainings, guest lectures, class discussions, and peer-to-peer advising.

Our Education & Outreach Coordinator interviewed Tim and Crystal about the program and their perspectives on student and staff collaboration in sustainability work at UCSC.

Melissa: Please describe the project you are working on together for the Provost's Sustainability Internship Program. Why is it important for sustainability efforts and the campus in general?

Tim: Crystal's internship is a partnership between Dining and the Food Systems Working Group focusing on mapping UCSC Dining’s sustainable food sourcing by conducting a vendor analysis and new coding initiative within a software program known as Food Pro that Dining uses to manage menu planning, inventory, and ordering through their broadline supplier.  She is hosting a set of “coding parties” that bring students together to learn about how to measure sustainable food and together they are working to code over 3,200 products from UCSC Dining’s broadline supplier in addition to secondary vendor contracts! Her role this year also entails developing co-curricular education and outreach materials & activities to increase meal-plan holder understanding of what sustainable (or “Real”) food is and what is happening in their campus food environment.  She is leading the development of a brochure and sticker design effort to promote “Real Food” efforts at UCSC set to go to print early next month.

Melissa: Crystal, why is the program useful to you beyond having an internship? What value does the program bring to you as a student at UCSC? Aside from the particulars of the project you are working on, are you gaining skills that you can use beyond this experience?

Crystal: I've benefited greatly from the program in a variety of areas. I learned firsthand what is required to have a successful project on campus, like a having a clear vision of the outcomes and creating SMART objectives to reach those overall goals. I also found the program useful because I've developed both as a student and a professional through the resources the program provides, like mentors and project developing documents. I've gained experience that will definitely help me when applying to other internships and jobs before graduation, like convening meetings and effective communication. It's also inspiring to see the other sustainability projects supported by the program blossom as weeks progress. It really adds value to the sustainability efforts on campus and reinforces sustainability principles at UCSC.

Melissa: Tim, what is useful about having student support for projects you are working on?

Tim: Students are essential to UCSC's sustainability efforts, from the context of fostering their leadership and learning through all avenues of pursuits within and outside of the classroom. This project provides scaffolding for students to understand how to contribute to a collaborative effort of tracking and planning to address our ""Real Food"" goal of 40% by 2020 that the campus has set in motion (that was spearheaded by student interest).

Melissa: How is it valuable to you to mentor an intern through the program?
Tim: Being a graduate of UCSC and having had mentor support to achieve measurable impact with my sustainability work as student I could see no better avenue of expressing my appreciation to the campus than continuing to support student leadership development within UCSC sustainability efforts. Further, I hope to continue to extend their experience to meet and connect with broader agrifood efforts in the region, across the state, and even around the country.

Melissa: What made you want to participate in the Provost's Sustainability Internship program? What are some reasons why you would recommend this program to others?

Tim: My work involving campus food systems necessitates the need for supporting ongoing student involvement.  The Provost's Sustainability Internship Program provides critical project development skills, a cadre of peer support, and multiple sites for accepted participants to choose from to commit their academic year working within.  It directly supports strengthening the base of students who grow into leadership positions within our Food Systems Working Group and CASFS.

Crystal: I really wanted a sense of stability with an internship and the year-long program provides that through the weekly course and support by the coordinators and mentors. I would recommend this program to students because it's a great way to develop skills that are needed in today's job market no matter what sector or realm you desire to work for. The program also replicates what many careers entail, like forming a work plan for projects and working with a number of colleagues.

Melissa: What is the value and power of students and staff working together to foster a culture of sustainability at UCSC?

Tim: Collaboration can only occur when all involved parties feel adequately prepared to work together.  This programs allows mentors and participants to design projects that allow meaningful action steps and impact that can inform the unit and the students of their potential to work together making UCSC more sustainable.

This year's interns in the Provost's Sustainability Internship Program.

The Provost's Sustainability Internship Program is currently accepting applications for 2013-2014 academic year. Student Intern applications and Staff Mentor applications are available online and are due March 15, 2013. To learn more about the program, visit the website.

March 2013: Classes, Training, & Community

The theme for Earth Week 2013 is “Digging Deeper: The Arts and the Earth,” which aims to explore the many facets of sustainability through an artistic lens. To kick off the week of “Arts and the Earth,” there will be an arts showcase on Friday, April 19th, from 7-9 PM at the College Eight Dining Hall. The event will feature a variety of artistic mediums, including, but not limited to: spoken word, paintings, photographs, dance, song, poetry, student films, and theater monologues. If you’re interested in being a part of the showcase, please fill out this form by Friday, April 12th, at 5PM. Any questions regarding performances and/or artwork should be directed to the event coordinator, Mckenzie Laird.  

Disorientation Guide Seeking Submissions About LRDP
This quarter, The Disorientation Guide at UCSC will publish GROWTH, a magazine containing a broad array of perspectives on issues relating to the UCSC Long Range Development Plan (LRDP). They are looking for analytic and creative contributions in the form of articles, poetry, or illustrations/art. If you’re familiar with the ongoing debate that surrounds the LRDP,  then you already know that it is a complex issue, linked to struggles over water use, endangered species, quality of student life, and more. Email or call (707) 318-1760.

Join the Kresge Natural Foods Co-op
The Kresge Community Natural Foods Co-op is a non-profit student-run food store located on the south side of Kresge College. It has been a Kresge College tradition for over twenty years, supporting small farmers, the UCSC Farm Project, and the Kresge Organic Garden. While anyone can buy food at the Food Co-op, members receive a discount. The Co-op operates as a collective and a variety of membership options are available. Special pricing is available on bulk orders. Come in for groceries, lunch, snacks, hot coffee, tea, or just to spend time with your friends. Hours: Weekdays 9 AM - 6 PM To contact the Food Co-op, call 426-1506, or attend the bi-weekly meetings every other Sunday at 11 am in the Student Lounge.

Enroll in ESLP for Spring quarter 
Interested in taking a thought provoking and engaging class? Sign up for Sustainable Living in Spring and get credits for exploring topics such as Urban Sustainability and Community Development, Society and Food Systems, Restoring Our Place, and many more. This interactive course is a combination of small student led sections and a Monday night lecture series. Sign up through College 8 for CLEI 61 or 161 for Spring Quarter. Both 2-unit and 5 unit options are available.

Zipcar seeks "Students With Drive" in their new group driving credit contest
The "Students with Drive" program is giving student groups an extra hand to help get things done with the help of Zipcars. The program, which gives away over $35,000 in driving credit a month, allows all student groups to nominate themselves to win free driving credit for their group to use for their groups' needs. Learn more about how your group can get involved on the contest website.

Free Docent Training at the UCSC Farm & Garden Begins March 12
Want to learn more about UCSC's farm and gardens? Just like food? Then consider joining the 2013 Farm & Garden docent training program! This program, composed of 5 training sessions, will take place on Tuesday afternoons from 4-5:30pm, beginning March 12 and ending April 9. Topics covered will include: organic farming and gardening practices, history of the Alan Chadwick Garden and UCSC farm, on-farm research, and more. All are welcome to participate in these FREE trainings! For more information, contact Amy Bolton.

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

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

March 2013: Internships, Employment, and Volunteering

The Sustainability community is waiting for you! Here are some fantastic opportunities to serve your planet.

Apply for the Provost's Sustainability Internship Program (P.S.I.): Deadline March 15
The Provost's Sustainability Internship Program (formerly the Campus Sustainability Internship Program) is currently looking for student interns and staff mentors for the 2013-2014 school year. The Provost’s Sustainability Internship Program is a combination course and internship that pairs students with staff across campus departments to complete a year-long sustainability related project. The program introduces students to sustainability policies and practices through internship work experience, professional skills trainings, guest lectures, class discussions, and peer-to-peer advising. It is a great opportunity for staff to recruit talented students to work with them for the entire academic year, at a low-cost rate. Applications for staff and students will be due March 15th. Learn more here and apply online here. Please contact Nikki for more information.

PICA School Gardens Internship

Spring quarter; Mon, Weds, or Fri 8:30am-1:30pm
Through the Program in Community Agroecology (PICA), teach exciting and engaging lessons to elementary school students in Watsonville! In this internship you will gain first-hand experience and learn valuable skills as an environmental educator in a school garden. Each week you will learn skills in positive group management, supporting English language learners, tips for teaching in a garden setting, and develop lessons for multiple learning styles. We will visit various schools in the Pajaro Valley and teach kids science and nutrition in the garden! To sign up, email Bee Vadakan for an application:

PICA Urban Gardening Internship

Spring quarter; Tues and Thurs 1-4pm
Interested in learning about gardening specific to urban areas? Want to explore topics related to food justice and the role of urban gardens in transforming our food system?
In this internship you will:

  • Practice hands-on garden skills
  • Engage with other interns through weekly readings, discussion, and case studies.
  • Work in small groups to research a local urban garden project, interview participants, volunteer, and share your experience with the class.
To sign up contact Bee Vadakan:

Apply for the Diversity for Sustainability Internship Program: Deadline March 15
The Diversity for Sustainability Internship program is seeking applicants from groups that are under-represented in professional fields. The intern will work 20 hours a week for 10 weeks over the summer on a sustainability project and will receive a stipend of $2500 as compensation. Applications are due March 15 and those from diverse backgrounds of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, income, age, disability, or sexual orientation are strongly encouraged to apply. For more information check out the flyer.

Do you drive an Electric Vehicle (EV) to campus?
Interested in learning more about electric vehicle charging developments planned for UCSC? Want to know of potential electrical shutdowns at Core West? Transportation and Parking Services is wanting to be in better touch with our electric vehicle user community at UCSC – please send an email to Teresa to be added to our list of current electric vehicle users.

Farming Institute Immersion Program Accepting Applications
Come learn to farm at The Farming Institute! The Farming Institute is a unique, fast track 11-week farming immersion program taking place on two organic vegetable farms in Eastern Iowa. It is designed to equip emerging farmers of all ages, such as college students, recent graduates, or others wanting to fulfill a dream. The program includes a mixture of hands-on and classroom experience. During the program, students will complete a business plan for their future farm and learn about the land, the business of farming, and the farming process. For more information or an application visit their website, contact Kate or give her a call at 319-333-2980.

City on a Hill Press Newspaper Seeks Sustainably Minded Members
City on a Hill Press, the student-run newspaper at UCSC, is currently looking for new members for the coming quarter. They are looking to cover more of what UCSC environmental organizations do and what sustainability really means on this campus, so they want you to join their team! Find out more here.

Real Food Challenge Program: Apply March 1-22
Are you about to graduate? The Real Food Challenge Field Organizer Fellowship Program is a unique opportunity for recent college graduates to get first hand experience as part-time organizers and food movement leaders.  Through this 14-month program, Fellows engage in intensive student organizing projects on a regional and national level while also honing their leadership skills and food systems knowledge through our participatory learning curriculum and engaged Fellowship community. The early selection deadline is Friday, March 1. The final deadline for applications is Friday, March 22, 2013. Applications will be considered as they are received. To find out more check out 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 or contact Matt.

Apply for SEE-U, Summer 2013
Summer Ecosystem Experiences for Undergraduates (SEE-U) is accepting applicants for its summer session. SEE-U is a program that seeks to highlight ecologically impacted areas of the world for undergraduates of all majors. Travel to your choice of one of four beautiful yet endangered ecosystems where you can live and learn about the particular challenges that area faces. Hosted through Columbia University, earn 5 science credits while going abroad with other students and learning about environmental concerns on an international level. For more information click here.

Sprout Up Seeking Instructors
Sprout Up 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. They are currently seeking volunteer teachers. For more information, please click here.

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.

Farm Docent Training Starts March 12th
Do you love gardening? Don’t miss this opportunity to become a docent at two of Santa Cruz’s most beautiful locations: the historic Alan Chadwick farm and UCSC Farm on the UC Santa Cruz campus. A five-session docent training begins on Tuesday, March 12 and continues every Tuesday until April 9th . Docents lead tours for visitors to the 30-acre organic farm and 3-acre Chadwick Garden. After completing the training, docents are asked to lead a minimum of six tours a year and are encouraged to help with public education events, plants sales and other efforts that support the Farm. Docents also receive a free membership to the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden, which includes discounts on plant sales and free entry to a number of workshops. For more information contact Amy Bolton by calling 831-459-3240.

Become an Intern for Stevenson Garden 
Want to get involved with one of the wonderful on-campus gardens? The Stevenson Garden internship is a great way to become a part of that community. Stevenson Garden is now accepting applications for prospective interns for next quarter.  For details about the internships offered, please email Blake Redding.  

National Wildlife Federation is currently accepting applications for both their Campus Ecology Fellowships (open to current undergrad and graduate students) as well as their new Emerging Leader Fellowships (open to young professionals age 21-35). Fellows will have the unique opportunity to work with one of four of NWF’s crucial “Keep the Wild Alive” campaigns. Visit their website to learn more and access application materials. Applications are due March 31st.

Start Your Non-Profit Career with Fund for the Public Interest
Fund for the Public Interest is looking for smart, hard-working students who work well in a team and are eager to work for change after graduation. The Fund for the Public Interest helps some of the top progressive organizations in the country work on issues such as clean water, equal rights for GLBT Americans, and ending subsidies to corporate farms. They're hiring for Citizen Outreach Directors to run their grassroots campaign offices across the country next fall. If you are interested in applying, visit the website at, email Jack Sinclair, or call him at 336-455-2862. He will be having an information session on March 5th in the Cervantes and Velasquez Conference Room D and will be also holding interviews in the Career Center on March 6th in Room 3 from 9 to 4.

Green Tips: Wastewater Management

What is the Storm Water Management Plan (SWMP)?

The Storm Water Management Plan is a document developed to comply with the State Water Resources Control Board Municipal Permit. The plan details Best Management Practices (BMPs) targeted to reduce storm water pollution, promote public participation and awareness, and to improve the health of our water sheds.

Keep in mind that storm drains are located outside and are not treated. Here are some tips below to maintain the storm water quality on campus!
  1. Properly dispose of all trash. Garbage left in the street eventually ends up in our storm drains.
  2. No dumping pollutants into storm drains. These pollutants stay in our environment on campus.
  3. Buy non-toxic alternative cleaning products for your home.
  4. Take your car to a carwash; it saves 40-100 gallons of water every time you do!
  5. Recycle used motor oil to prevent polluting storm drains while off-campus
  6. Do not service your car on campus.
  7. Use a drip pan when changing motor oil (only change motor oil off campus) to keep potential pollutants from getting into storm drains. 
  8. Clean paint brushes and rollers by rinsing them in a container. Dispose of all old paint only at designated collection sites.
  9. Never dump paint down the gutter
  10. Report any concerns or illegal dumping to the storm water quality hotline at (831) 459-2553.
Interested in getting involved with storm water issues? Contact UCSC Storm Water Management at (831)459-4520 or visit

March 2013: 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 they represent ideas that UCSC could potentially implement in some form, or in some cases, already has begun to. 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 Pennsylvania launches Green Labs program 
The Green Labs @ Penn program is designed to reduce the environmental impact of everyday lab operations. The program provides a “how-to” guide that includes an action checklist, a commitment form, tips and resources to help the campus labs operate in a more sustainable fashion. Why it's relevant: Currently, students in the PowerSave Green Campus program at UCSC are working on a green labs program.

Harvard Offers Benefits for Bicyclists
This winter, Harvard piloted the CommuterChoice Program, which offers bicyclists tax-free reimbursements for bike-related expenses, including purchase and repair. The program also provides Emergency Ride Home services to faculty and staff commuters who do not travel by car.

Baylor University to Expand Water Refilling Station Pilot Program
Baylor University in Waco, TX, has announced plans to install more water bottle filling stations across campus following the launch of a successful pilot program last summer. Two water bottle filling stations were installed that have since been used a combined 22,000 times in place of disposable water bottles. Don't forget to bring your own bottle and fill up at the stations on our campus!

Harvard dining focuses on sustainable seafood sourcing
Harvard Dining Services recently launched a sustainable seafood program that works to develop seafood purchasing guidelines to be shared with other institutions. After months of planning, students are now seeing new species such as “swai,” as well as familiar offerings from more sustainable sources, such as Prince Edward Island mussels and shrimp caught in Maine waters. Why it's relevant: Crystal Owings, an intern in the Provost's Sustainability Internship Program here at UCSC, is working on a similar project on sustainable seafood in the dining halls. Read more about her work here.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dining Hall Waste Awareness Events

Would shoveling a plate of leftover food from your lunch into a bucket of wasted pizza, burritos, and salad motivate you to take less food next time? Maybe it would make you more aware of the impact of your choices and lead to more consciousness about the food on your plate. This exercise certainly raised some eyebrows this afternoon at the Porter/Kresge Dining Hall during the lunch hour, where a waste awareness event took place.

Over the past few weeks in dining halls across campus, student volunteers led by Victoria Salas, Chancellor's Undergraduate Intern for Sustainability in Dining, have been providing dining hall-goers with this opportunity to see how much waste they and their peers have generated over the course of a meal.

Rather than put their leftover waste on the conveyor belt with their dishes, where it magically disappears behind the corner, students faced their waste by adding it to the pile. There was also a display where volunteers placed especially wasteful items, such as full slices of pizza, unopened bananas that were thrown away, half-eaten burgers, and perfectly good curly fries.

Students who came to the waste assessment stations with a clean plate received a sticker that read "I ate my plate!" Some students expressed interest in learning more about waste efforts on campus during the awareness event, and many expressed feeling guilty for having wasted so much food. Over time, these reminders will hopefully lead to less food waste.

Each assessment lasts an hour, collecting any and all waste from used plates and cups. Most of the student volunteers helping at these events work on other sustainability projects on campus. During today's assessment, Kevin Green of the Student Environmental Center's Waste Prevention Campaign, Natalie Tran of the Campus Sustainability Internship Program and Food Systems Working Group, and Melissa Ott of the Education & Outreach Team in the Sustainability Office were part of the team. Throughout the past few weeks, many other student sustainability community members have helped out with these collaborative awareness events.

There will be at least one more waste awareness event in the dining halls this month in the Cowell/Stevenson Dining Hall on Thursday, February 21 during dinner. If you want to receive a snazzy sticker to proudly display your zero waste efforts, be sure to stop by and be conscious at the counter so you can "eat your plate" and have zero waste, too!

View the full photo album from today's waste audit at the Porter/Kresge Dining Hall on Facebook here.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Sustainable Transportation to Annual Retreat

How do you effectively and efficiently get eighty students and staff from Santa Cruz to Boulder Creek in a sustainable way?

This was the question that faced the Transportation Sub-Committee for the Inter-Org Retreat this year. Led by Brenden Fant, the Student Environmental Center Transportation Coordinator, the Sub-Committee did a fantastic job this year coordinating everyone's schedules and needs so that we could get everyone there in one piece.

To bus or to drive? That is the question.

For the first time in the three years that this retreat has taken place, the Transportation Sub-Committee looked into using Santa Cruz Metro buses (thanks for the suggestion, Joyce Rice!). Students were encouraged to take the 35 bus to the Mountain Store bus stop, where they would be picked up by vans that had taken other participants to the retreat center, and attendees were asked to only take a car or van option if their schedule made it impossible for them to take a bus.

Thanks to support from Larry Pageler, Director of Transportation and Parking Services, Santa Cruz Metro provided extra buses and was accommodating of our needs in trying to get as many students as possible to Boulder Creek on Friday, January 11.

Despite having many students taking the bus, we still needed to rent vans from the Recreation Department to transport supplies and some of the students--thank you UCSC Rec for providing basic training for staff and students to drive them and for making that process smooth. Because we had so many students taking the bus this year, we only had to rent two vans, reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the cost of retreat transportation.

After much shuffling of ride options and many hours spent poring over the transportation spreadsheet, the day finally arrived and students and staff made their way to Boulder Creek. In the end, here's the breakdown of how folks arrived at the retreat:
  • Metro bus: 35 students (roughly 43% of attendees)
  • Vans: 16 students and staff took two vans, one van half-filled with supplies and bus-rider luggage (roughly 20% of attendees)
  • Carpool: 29 students and staff arrived by car, and almost all of these cars were filled with students (roughly 36% of attendees)
On the return trip on Sunday, we filled all of the cars returning to Santa Cruz so there would be plenty of room on the one bus that left around noon. Twenty-one students were on the bus and everyone else took a van or filled a car.

Thank you to everyone who made the bus option possible and to those students who chose to ride the bus there and back. Next year, perhaps we'll be able to eliminate even more cars and get students and staff to the retreat in more sustainable ways. Bike ride along Highway 9, anyone?

Read more about this year's retreat here.