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Friday, May 24, 2013

PICA Summer Jobs Available

The Program in Community and Agroecology (PICA) is hiring for 4 paid gardening positions this summer. The positions are part-time, starting after finals and ending early September. The pay rate is $9 per hour.

 Permaculture Workshop
PICA is a living/learning program located at the Village in the Lower Quarry. PICA strives to promote sustainability on campus through organic gardening programs, the development of a compost waste management system, hosting sustainability related events, collaborations with other student organizations, and holding seminars which link academic knowledge with hands-on experience in the field. It is a vibrant educational environment in which to study sustainable living and food systems. For more information about PICA click here. 

 PICA Garden Liaison Job Description

This student will connect the PICA garden with other campus gardens during Summer 2013. He/she will coordinate skill shares, collaborative garden projects, and shared workdays between the gardens. The Garden Liaison will also work with a team of students to maintain the educational gardens at the Sustainable Living Center (SLC) and help train new leaders in the student gardens on campus. Garden responsibilities includecomposting, greenhouse propagation, watering, planting, weeding, mulching, pruning, organic pest management, harvesting, crop planning, and leading garden workshops.

PICA Garden Summer Worker Job Description

They are hiring three PICA Garden Summer Workers. These students will work to maintain the educational gardens at the Sustainable Living Center (SLC) and assist with other program needs. Garden responsibilities include composting, greenhouse propagation, watering, planting, weeding, mulching, pruning, organic pest management, harvesting, crop planning, and supporting garden workshops. Must be willing and able to work outside for long hours, move heavy objects, trap pests, and perform repetitive tasks such as weeding and mulching as needed.  The work would be for 3 hours per day, 3 days a week.


PICA is seeking students with an interest in sustainable food systems, who are committed, hard-working, able to work well individually or as part of a team, and follow-directions with limited supervision. Preference will be given to students who plan to live on campus at PICA housing in The Village for the 2013-2014 school year.
Please email your resume and cover letter to Bee Vadakan at and state which position you are applying for. Be sure to include your phone number so we can reach you promptly.

If you are interested in a summer position, in addition to submitting your resume, please come to volunteer for a shift working in the garden. The available shifts are Wed, May 29th from 1:30pm-4:30pm and on Friday, May 31st from 9-12. Please email Bee Vadakan what shift you plan to attend.

Applications are due by Sunday, June 2nd at Midnight

Zero Waste Events: Student Perspective June 2013

As the year comes to an end the Zero Waste Team has been wrapping up some amazing pilot projects that got launched this year.  Along with the successful Bring Your Own Mug (BYOM) campaign, collaboration with PTAGS on paper towel removal from the dorms, collaboration on the creation of the position of Student Sustainability Advisors, and the Green Lab Certification Program, the Zero Waste Team has been working on the Zero Waste Commitment for student organizations on campus and a zero waste commencement 2013!

Zero Waste Event Commitment 
The goal for this pilot project is to increase the number of Zero Waste events on campus. Since a Zero Waste Event often requires more planning and support than a normal event, we hope to address this by providing training, materials, planning and volunteer support to help student groups make a commitment to Zero Waste. A Zero Waste Event (or a “Zee Wee” as nicknamed by Wikipedia) is an event that follows sustainable practices to send the least possible amount of waste to the landfill. This involves having a waste station to sort out trash, recyclables and compost. Check out the Sustainability Office  How to Hold a Zero Waste Event Guide  or the Plastic Free Blog  to learn more.

  1. Made a pitch and conducted brief trainings for Tri Chi Sorority, CARe Project, Chinese Student Association, Student Union Assembly
  2. Created an official logo to build a visual identity for the campaign
  3. Designed a Zero Waste Event Kit to be given out to orgs in the Fall
  4. Created a Trash Talkers’ pamphlet in collaboration with SEC

    Are you tired of waste at your events? Want your organization to be greener and help UCSC achieve Zero Waste by 2020? If interested in making the Commitment Pledge to make a future event zero waste, contact us now at  

Zero Waste Commencement 2013

The Zero Waste Team is working on making graduation at all ten colleges a zero waste event this year. Graduation is a wonderful opportunity to show the entire student community and the many visitors that our campus is committed to sustainability and our Zero Waste goal by 2020! We’ve partnered with Candy Berlin, Program Coordinator, UC Santa Cruz Dining, Zaunna Wells, Operations Manager, UC Santa Cruz Conference Services, Steve O'Neil, Bookstore, and Bob McCampbell, Executive Director Bay Tree Bookstore to make all ten college graduation ceremonies zero waste!

By providing waste stations for attendees to recycle and compost their waste, selling and giving away reusable water bottles at each ceremony with water refill stations, and promoting Zero Waste through signage and trained “Trash Talkers” to redirect recycling and compost from the landfill at the ceremony, we are truly committed to achieving our Zero Waste goal by 2020!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chancellor Announces Sustainability Challenge

On May 21st, students, staff, faculty, and community members gathered in the Stevenson Event Center for the 5th Annual UCSC End of the Year Sustainability Celebration. While enjoying food from UCSC Catering, students spoke with attendees about their project posters that represented the work they have done this year.

Around 2 PM, Chancellor Blumenthal took the stage, speaking about the accomplishments of our campus this year and recognizing those who have participated in various certification programs, those who have just completed their first year of sustainability work, and those who are graduating this year. He also announced his new campaign, the Chancellor's Sustainability Challenge and invited everyone to participate in it next year. He will be spearheading the Chancellor's Sustainability Challenge to encourage all of us on campus to do our part to reduce waste. Stay tuned for more information about how you can get involved next year!

Throughout the event, there were also six presentations from students, staff, faculty, and community leaders about the sustainability work that has happened on and off campus. Presentations included the Green Labs program, the Bike Transit Planning Team, Real Food, the Green Wharf, and more!

After presentations, the People's Bike Generator was available for anyone to ride and power music. Lacey Raak, UCSC Sustainability Director, took it for a stationary spin, as did Sarah Latham, Vice Chancellor for Business and Administrative Services, and John Barnes, Campus Architect. To see photos from this event and read the project posters that were submitted, view our Facebook album here.

UCSC to Go Paper Towel-Free in Dorms Next Year

UC Santa Cruz is going paper towel-free in the residence halls next year after a successful pilot program at Stevenson College this year. Following years of student interest in this project and discussions with administrators and staff all over campus in the past year, the University has decided that in order to support our goals of zero waste by 2020 and to promote more sustainable behaviors among students in our residence halls, paper towels will no longer be provided for drying hands in shared residential restrooms. After all, 34% -- by volume -- of the waste coming out of the residence halls is paper towels. That's a lot of waste that can easily be reduced by simply removing the towels from these restrooms.

Instead of providing wasteful paper towels, students will be asked to bring a supply of reusable cloth hand towels to school with them in the fall, just as they will bring their own reusable bath towel and other supplies. Students, if you'll be living in the residence halls next year, don't forget to pack your own reusable hand towels!

This is an exciting accomplishment that not only makes sense (10 years ago, there weren't paper towels in the residence halls, anyway), but it shows that student-initiated projects can really achieve campus-wide change. It sometimes takes time and conversations with many different stakeholders, but it is possible to see a sustainability vision for the campus come to fruition.

Congratulations to everyone who has been working on this project, including Path to A GreenerStevenson, the Sustainability Office Zero Waste Team, and many other students, staff, andadministrators who made this possible. Special thanks to Sue Mathews, the Associate Vice Chancellor in Colleges Housing and Educational Services for being the institutional leader who helped make this project a reality.

Read about the history of this project in Stevenson College and why the campus is choosing to remove paper towels.

Summertime Dining Updates

UCSC Dining has some summer updates and reminders to share:

Looking for a container to hold refreshing water in these upcoming summer months? Green water bottles are back in stock at all of the dining halls and cafes on campus! Ditch the disposable water bottle and get yours today--discounts on refills, too.

Staying for the summer? Three dining halls on campus will be open all summer long, so plan to come enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner there. No need to drive off campus--eat fresh and eat local! Dining will be stocking up on plenty of organic greens and vegetables for their salad bars along with yummy fruits from the UCSC Farm! And if you're looking for a coffee fix this summer, select Perk locations will also be offering summer hours! In addition, there are staff dining discounts in effect all summer long.

Check the Dining website for details including open locations and times.

Bike Transit Team Identifies Safety Improvements

Represented by a logo showing the progression of humanity from ape to modern human to cyclist, a trio of UCSC students have created a proposal for the City of Santa Cruz that identifies high priority resolutions to unsafe bicycling areas on the west side of Santa Cruz.

To promote bicycle riding in the city of Santa Cruz and reduce carbon emissions, the City of Santa Cruz Climate Action plan includes promotion of biking as an alternative mode of transportation. To help City of Santa Cruz meet the needs of current and future cyclists in Santa Cruz, an isolated study of transit to and from the University of California Santa Cruz has been conducted by the Impact Designs: Engineering & Sustainability through Student Service (IDEASS) Bicycle Transit Planning Team (BTPT).

Brenden Fant (Environmental Studies '13), Austin Seller (Environmental Studies and Biology '13), and Anthony Siao (Environmental Studies and Technology Information Management '14) worked on the project with Ross Clark, the City of Santa Cruz Climate Change Action Manager. The team compiled data from three sources and used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to construct maps outlining frequently used roads, road quality, and cycling collision locations in order to "increase the level of safety for cyclists in high traffic corridors," said Fant.

The BTPT accumulated data through a survey regarding the most utilized streets during transit, which was taken by nearly 450 students, staff, faculty, and community members. The team then quality tested these roads with a Bike Environmental Quality Index (BEQI) developed by the San Francisco Department of Public Health that surveyed the safety and usability of roadways for cycling, which included assessing such factors as the speed of vehicle traffic next to the bike lane, the width of the bike lane, if there is parallel parking adjacent to the bike lane, the quality of the pavement surface, traffic calming features (street signs reminding drivers and cyclists that bikes may take the lane, sharrows, etc.), bike parking, and other factors.

"One of our biggest accomplishments in this project was completing the BEQI for sixteen routes," Fant said. "It was a combination of going and riding roads and taking notes to document conditions for each block and looking at Google Maps to confirm conditions we might have missed." In addition to the GIS mapping,  this was one of the most time consuming aspects of the project.

Finally, they combined this data with the cycling and motorist-related collision report data from the City of Santa Cruz over the past 10 years. "We wanted to really focus on accessibility for all of the people of Santa Cruz to ride bikes and feel safe doing so," said Seller. "Hopefully many of them will become bike commuters as a result."

The BTPT presents their findings and an overview of their project at the Fifth Annual UC Santa Cruz Sustainability End of the Year Celebration on May 21.

Using the combined results mapped by GIS (click here to view the maps), the team has identified priority areas for improvements.This prioritization, which features suggestions such as adding more lighting to Bay Street, improving King Street as a bicycle boulevard, intersection improvements on Laurel Street, and more. To read their full report, click here.

They presented to the Santa Cruz City Council on May 28 to provide recommendations that can help the City achieve their biking and carbon emission plans by 2020. To watch their presentation and hear feedback and support from the City Council members, click here. They are also in touch with People Power to discuss how to move ahead with this project and implement the recommended changes.

If the evolution of humanity leads to everyone cycling, then this project is helping to bring us into the future by "providing safer and more accessible roads for students so they can feel more confident about riding their bikes," said Siao.

If you have questions or comments for the team, leave a comment below or email Brenden Fant.

To learn more about the IDEASS program and apply for next year, visit the website. Interested in learning about another IDEASS project from this year? Click here to read about a project that's reusing cooking grease for fuel on the Santa Cruz Wharf.

June 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!

College Divestment Campaigns Sweep U.S. Universities
At about 300 colleges across the country, young activists worried about climate change are calling for divestment from fossil fuels. So far only a few small colleges have opted to drop investments in fossil fuel companies, but many campaigns are currently active, from Rhode Island to North Carolina to the Bay Area.

UC Davis Student Union Building Features Exhibit on Water and Sustainability
The Sustainability Showcase has opened its second exhibit for viewing on the first floor of the Memorial Union. The theme of the exhibit is Water: Fact or Fashion and features disposable water bottles and issues surrounding water quality and use. It aims to focus attention on related safety and equity issues on a global scale, as well as issues that hit closer to home, such as the Central Valley, where tap water is unsafe due to high concentrations of nitrates from agriculture.

UCSD Campus Rooftops Serve as Launch Pads for Sustainability Efforts
By the end of 2013, 34 structures on UC San Diego’s campus and its affiliated sites will be equipped with solar photovoltaic panels. Recently, the university also unveiled a vegetative roof, atop Revelle College’s LEED Platinum-certified Charles David Keeling apartments. In addition, more than a dozen wireless sensors that determine the optimal times to gain and expend energy are now poised on UC San Diego rooftops. Solar hot water heating and water collection systems are located above some of the very buildings where UC San Diego students live and learn about climate change and ways to conserve, reuse and recycle.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

June 2013: Classes, Training, and Community

Participate in Zero Plastic Week, June 10-16
Zero Plastic Week is June 10th-16th! Initiated by an international group of students, Zero Plastic Week seeks to stop participants from buying new plastic (including packaging) for a week. You can sign up and commit on the event website.

Gaia Magazine Issue V Available
Gaia, an environmental magazine created y UCSC students, is around campus and available for free! Visit the Gaia website to learn more. A PDF of the magazine will be posted soon!

Register Your Org for the 2013 Fall Harvest Festival & OPERS Festival this September
If you're a campus organization, program, or unit that focuses on sustainability (i.e. economic, social, ecological, educational) and you want to outreach to students at the annual OPERS Fall Festival taking place on Tuesday, September 24, from 3-6 PM at the East Field, click here! (Only campus affiliated organizations and groups can register for this festival.)

If you're a campus or community group, organization, initiative focused on sustainable agriculture, food systems, composting/waste reduction, and/or social justice, please join us for the annual UCSC Harvest Festival taking place on the CASFS Farm from 11 AM - 5 PM on Sunday, September 29th, click here!

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 to be added to the list of current electric vehicle users. Learn more about UCSC's current EV accomodations on the TAPS website.

Early Bird Registration Now Open Until June 7 for AASHE Conference
Join higher education sustainability leaders in Nashville for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) 2013 Conference & Expo, taking place October 6-9 at the Music City Center. Early bird registration ends June 7. Visit the website to learn more about the conference.

Energy Opinion Piece by Recent UCSC Grad Erin Linney Published in SC Sentinel 
Erin Linney, a recent Environmental Studies graduate, and former coordinator for PowerSave Green Campus, authored an opinion piece in the Santa Cruz sentinel about energy policy in the City of Santa Cruz, in which she makes a compelling argument for the establishment of an energy code in the city.

Share Thoughts on Desalination Environmental Impact Report by July 15
The public comment period for the Santa Cruz Desalination Program Draft Environmental Impact Report ends July 15. Don't miss the opportunity to read the draft report and provide your feedback.

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.

June Green Tips: Move-Out

As the academic quarter draws to a close, so do most student housing contracts. Beyond end-of-year bashes (and the subsequent rigor of pre-inspection cleaning) this means one thing... it's move-out season!

In the finals week scramble, it's easy to overlook proper distribution and disposal of your leftover "stuff." Couches, batteries, clothes, and all other matters of household goods have been found trashed or otherwise improperly disposed of both on and off campus in the process. This not only creates unnecessary landfill waste, but can sometimes be outright dangerous.  

Inadvisable method of furniture disposal
With that in mind, here are a few quick and easy tips to make your move-out smooth, safe, and (at least slightly more) sustainable: 
  1. Attend a swap meet. Most college programs offices will host swap meets in the weeks preceding move-out. These are a great opportunity to find new owners for your stuff and divert them from the landfill. Keep an eye out for signs posted around your college. 
  2. Review the recycling and disposal guide for your area of residence: UCSC, the City of Santa Cruz, or Santa Cruz County (for those neither on campus nor in the city). 
  3. Utilize social media outlets. Facebook groups like "Free & For Sale" are a perfectly place to give away or sell your things. You'll need a valid UCSC email to gain access. 
  4. Donate your unwanted goods. There are a number of local charities that would be happy to take your unwanted clothing, books, and more. Look up charities that correspond with your specific donation items, or visit a Zero Waste Move Out Station at any of the colleges during finals week, and use the donation boxes set up there. 
  5. Sign up for the City of Santa Cruz Move Out Program if you live off-campus. The city will pick up  large bulky items, appliances, clothing, e-waste, books, and furniture at no cost, and then either donate them to charity or dispose of them properly. The first 100 to sign up get free pizza! 
  6. Volunteer with zero waste move-out at the your college of choice! Colleges, Housing, and Educational Services (CHES) is facilitating Zero Waste Move Out, and needs student help to make it run smoothly during finals week. Sign up to get more information here, or contact this year's coordinator, Kelsey Smith, with questions. 

UCSC Slugs are Simply Committed to Sustainability

Anyone else notice how green the banana slugs at UCSC have become? As of May 2013, there are at least 145 green banana slugs in the UCSC community who are conscious of behaviors in their life that they are working to make more sustainable thanks to the efforts of the Sustainability Office's Education and Outreach Team.

Of the 550 people that the Education & Outreach Team has spoken to at tabling events throughout the year, 145 (26.4%) of them have made commitments to sustainable behaviors, ranging from biking to class instead of taking the bus to composting at their off-campus residence to taking shorter showers. 
"We pledge to unplug all appliances when not in use!" (Kresge Resource Fair, Fall 2012)

At 15 tabling events this school year since July 2012, the team has encouraged event attendees to commit to specific and attainable sustainable behaviors. Participants wrote their commitment on a whiteboard, signed their name, and team members took a picture of them with their commitment. The team then posted these photos on Facebook, allowing participants to tag themselves and share publicly the commitment they made.

The goal of the Simply Committed behavior change campaign is to encourage individuals at UCSC to think about what sustainability means to them, to thoughtfully engage them in living more environmentally conscious lives, and to broaden their knowledge of and participation in sustainability opportunities, projects, and community at UCSC.

Waste and Recycling was clearly the most popular commitment topic (36%), likely because waste is such a tangible, direct way that we can reduce our environmental impact. Click the image for a better view.

Studies on effective personal behavior change strategies for resource conservation have suggested that explicit, signed commitments are more effective in actually sustaining changed behavior and have fewer drawbacks than incentive-based conservation strategies (Source: Richard D. Katzev and Anton U. Pardini. “The Comparative Effectiveness of Reward and Commitment Approaches in Motivating Community Recycling.” Journal of Environmental Systems Volume 17.2 (1987-88): 93-113).

In order to increase the percentage of people who participate out of the total number of people we speak to at events, the team is working to make the campaign more streamlined, with ready-to-use commitments that still allow for the specificity, tangibility, and personalization for each participant. They are also working to create a better system for following up with participants right after the event and checking in with them a month later to hear how it’s going. Finally, they are also looking into ways to make the campaign more public through web platforms.

David Shaw, UCSC faculty member and alumnus, commits to sleep outdoors at least once a week. The Simply Committed behavior change campaign can be personalized to fit the kinds of sustainable lifestyle choices that are the right next step for each participant. (Brain, Mind, & Consciousness Conference, Spring 2013)

To read results and testimonial from participants, click here.
All of the commitments made and photographed this year can be found in our Facebook photo albums here.

June 2013 Sustainability Profile: Madeleine Turner & ESLP

Each month, our newsletter features a person or group on campus that is working toward a more sustainable world. This month's profile features the Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP), a multidisciplinary and collaborative student-led organization that offers an accredited 5-unit and 2-unit course every spring quarter focused on sustainability. Students partner with guest lectures and create student-led sections to implement sustainability into the UC Santa Cruz and greater community.

We interviewed Madeleine Turner, currently a Collaboration and Networking Sphere Organizer for ESLP, to learn about her experiences with sustainability at UCSC.

This year's ESLP organizers. Madeleine is in the middle row, second from the left.

We asked Madeleine what she thinks about sustainability and how it relates to her life at UCSC.

Name: Madeleine Turner

Title: Collaboration and Networking Sphere Organizer for the Education for Sustainable Living Program

Year & Affiliation: First year, Oakes College

Favorite Green Tips: I’d say try to walk and bike everywhere as much as you possibly can.  I literally don’t ever take the bus unless I’m going downtown (I live on-campus) or I’m seriously running late to something.  Not only can you save energy this way, but you’re automatically adding time to exercise and relax throughout the day.  

What does "sustainability" mean to you? With the word “sustainability,” I think of simplicity.  Our lives are often so busy and complicated.  How will anyone be able to change what they’re doing in order to be more sustainable, if they can’t even stop and evaluate what’s happening right now?  If everything was simpler, maybe the problems and solutions to becoming more sustainable would become simpler too.

How does sustainability relate to your role at UCSC? As a Collaboration and Network Organizer in ESLP, I’m here for getting the word out about the cool stuff going on with us. If you don't want to miss anything, like us on Facebook!

How do you practice sustainability in your daily life? I choose to spend as much time outdoors as possible. This way I’m not using electricity, and I’m not buying things I don’t need. I also believe that being close to nature helps me to foster good intentions about treating our earth well.

Have you had a favorite sustainability moment at UCSC? My favorite sustainability moment so far was going to my first General Gathering.  It was the first Wednesday ever of my entire college experience.  Somehow my friend Sativa, an ESLP organizer, recruited me that night as an intern. From that moment, my entire year’s path was changed in an immeasurable and awesome way.

Madeleine will be next year's Chancellor's Undergraduate Intern for the Education for Sustainable Living Program. Congratulations, Madeleine--we look forward to the great work you'll be doing with ESLP in the future!

To learn more about ESLP and its accomplishments this year, click on the photo below!

Contests & Funding: June 2013

Yale Food Systems Symposium

The Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies invites proposals for the Yale Food Systems Symposium in October 2013. The event will address ecological and socio-economic processes of food production, consumption, climate change and rapid urbanization through panels, working groups, roundtables, poster presentations and papers. Proposals are due by July 1.

Deep Nature Connection: Collette Streight

Written by Collette Streight former Interim Climate Action Manager at the Sustainability Office

For most of human history, we lived deeply connected to the Earth and other people out of necessity for survival. We had to be keenly aware of our surroundings in order to have enough to eat and drink, to make medicines, to be sheltered, and to avoid being preyed upon. We moved our bodies regularly, relied on our senses and communities, and followed the rhythms of the sun and the seasons. Only in the last several hundred years have we diverged dramatically from this way of living. The way we interact with our world today is extremely different from how we evolved to do so over the last 200,000 years.
Collette removing invasive French Broom
This sudden radical shift causes grave impacts on our health and well-being as well as that of other species and all ecosystems on Earth. While it would be impossible for us to go back to the "old" way of living, we can take the wisdom and knowledge that has been passed down to us from traditional cultures across the globe and apply it to our daily lives now. The Deep Nature Connection core routines and practices are a way of doing just that. These routines have been developed over decades of study, observation, research, and practice, and mimic what we used to do naturally in order to survive in the wild. 
Bike Generator at Sustainability End of the Year Celebration
The single greatest key to becoming deeply nature-connected is to give your full attention to what is happening in the wild world around you in any given moment. By intentionally stretching yourself to listen to the farthest sound, the quietest sound, the number of sounds, and the pattern of sounds in each direction or by focusing on feeling the wind, sun, earth, and temperature while being outside, you strengthen your natural capacity to be fully present and aware. Over time, latent, but potent neural pathways will open in your brain that enable you to experience life in a new electrified way. Quite naturally your mind will quiet down, your body will relax, and you will feel like you are an irreplaceable part of the amazing web of life.

To learn more about Collette's deep nature connections visit

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

June 2013: Internships, Employment, & Volunteering

IDEASS Accepting Applications for Interns for 2013-2014
Turn your ideas into reality!  Do you have your own sustainable project design with potential to make a real community impact, but you aren’t sure how to make it a reality? Apply to Impact Designs: Engineering and Sustainability through Student Service (IDEASS), a team-based 3-quarter internship program that provides students with real opportunities to work on local sustainability challenges with community partners or sponsors. Please click here to apply today for fall enrollment!                                                                                           

Two IDEASS students who are currently working on 
making the bike routes to and from campus safer, so that
more people feel inclined to bike more.  
Education for Sustainable Living Program Internship Opportunity
The Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP) is looking for Collabnet Interns! The Collaboration Network sphere is responsible for outreach and communication for ESLP. This includes, but is not limited to, creating posters, tabling, reaching out to newsletters, class announcements, communicating with other organizations, and more. Interns outreach to promote opportunities with ESLP by facilitating, interning, or taking the course.  Experience with graphic and website design is encouraged but not mandatory.

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 at

National Fellowship Program: Deadline July 1

The Environmental Leadership Program's National Fellowship Program offers intensive leadership and skills training and national networking opportunities. Through retreats, their curriculum helps emerging leaders hone their leadership styles, improve their strategy and organizational development, and strengthen their outreach to diverse constituencies. It consists of two multi-day retreats in September 2013 and January 2014 and access to 4 hours of professional coaching. For information on eligibility, cost, dates and locations, and how to apply, visit the National Fellowship website.

Berkeley-Based Urban Adamah Residential Leadership Training Program

Urban Adamah, based in Berkeley, CA, is a three-month intensive residential leadership training program for young adults ages 21-31, that integrates urban organic farming, social justice work and progressive Jewish living and learning.  Applicants do not need any farming or Jewish knowledge to participate, only the passion to make positive change in their own lives and in the world.  Summer program is June 9 – Aug 30, and fall program is Sept 8 – Nov 22.  Admissions to the fellowship are rolling. Visit the website to fill out an application.

Farming Institute Immersion Program Accepting Applications 

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 to fulfill a dream. 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. If you have any questions contact Kate Edwards by email or by phone at 319-333-2980.

Internships with WaterLab Wastewater Recycling Research Facility

WaterLab Research Facility studies wastewater recycling and how to use recycled water to conserve unused water reserves.  The lab is still in the process of being built, with a working reverse osmosis system and a slow sand filtration system (built by undergraduate interns). Present interns have been brought on to learn about wastewater recycling and to contribute muscle power to build the treatment units, but those roles will shift and expand as the facility progresses.  Learn more about WaterLab and internships by contacting Eli Weintraub and via the Center for Integrated Water Research website.

Apply to Volunteer with Sprout Up
Sprout Up is a non-profit program that looks for undergraduate volunteers to help bring lessons of environmental science and sustainability to local elementary school classrooms. They are college student founded and are an operating non-profit organization that is always seeking new instructors. So apply if you would like to be apart of an education that brings forward sustainability awareness to the next generation of children.  

Inward Bound Mindfulness Education Wilderness Retreat

Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme) is excited to announce their first mindfulness-based Wilderness Retreat in Northern California from July 19th-28th! This retreat is ideal for a young person with a strong connection to the natural world and an interest in mindfulness and self-awareness.  If this means you, register now!  If you have any questions, contact Shelby Leigh.

AHA Bolivia Sustainability/Social Responsibility Internship

This combined internship, learning workshop, and cultural experience program is designed to introduce students to socially responsible business practices, international business, and environmental respectfulness in business. Program includes: practical internship, learning modules and accompanying activities (6-8 hours per week), accommodation (shared housing), artisan site visits, Spanish classes (6 hours per week), and airport pick-up. The cost is $2700 for 4 weeks. For questions, or to apply, send your resume and a letter of interest to Cecilia. Time Commitment: July 17-18, 2013.

SF Environment Summer Jobs and Internships

Interested in finding an environmental summer job or internship in SF? Check out the SF Environment website where there are many listed opportunities for college students.  SF Environment offers a handful of summer internships and jobs involving environmental transportation for around San Francisco.  If this sounds interesting to you, apply soon for this coming summer.  

Apply for SEE-U, Summer 2013
Summer Ecosystem Experiences for Undergraduates (SEE-U) is seeking applicants for it's summer session. SEE-U is a program that seek to highlight ecologically impacted areas of the world for undergraduates of all majors.  You travel to your choice of one of the four beautiful yet endangered ecosystems where you live and learn about the particular challenges that area faces.  Hosted through Columbia University, you ear 5 science credits while going abroad with other students and learning about environmental concerns on an international level.  

The University of Vermont's Campus Sustainability Leadership Program

Earn a Professional Certificate in Campus Sustainability Leadership in one week! Learn how to bring change through transformative, financially sustainable innovations at your institution! And learn from leaders in the sustainability field at the University of Vermont's award-winning green campus.  Be a part of the change! Time commitment:  June 24-28, 2013. 

Registration Now Open for the CA Higher Education Sustainability Conference

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.  The conference will be held from June 23rd-27th at the University of California, Santa Barbara and will cover topics like Climate Action, Waste Management, Transportation, and Curriculum! So check out the conference online and register! If you have any questions, contact Katie Maynard, the Event Manager.   

Friday, May 17, 2013

New! Green Labs Program

Beginning in early Fall 2012, a small group of students and staff gathered in the College 8 Cafe to discuss the idea of creating a program to make UCSC labs more sustainable. Who knew that in the next months to come - a team of 7 members could initiate and design a Green Labs Pilot Program and accomplish their goals!

The group comprised of three students from the Sustainability Office: Rielle Indya Green from the Climate
Action Team, Elizabeth Lin from the  Zero Waste Team, and Casey Wing from the Green Office Certification Team; two students from PowerSave Green Campus: Delia Bense-Kang and Nick Nigro; and two members of Environmental Health and Safety: Justin Delemus and April Anstey.

Program Creation:

Vision: The Green Labs Program seeks to improve energy efficiency and increase green purchasing and waste reduction through behavior change, physical improvements, and education.

Goals: To create a program that comprises of different determinants of sustainability and to pilot the program in 2 labs. The Green Labs Team completed the pilots of 2 labs Spring 2013.  Partch and Saltikov labs were the first to undergo the Green Labs Certification element.  This process included a comprehensive assessment and the labs were scored based on the result.  The Green Labs Team graded the labs on how well they tested in each of the 3 program goals (energy efficiency, waste reduction, and green purchasing).  

So what were the results? This year the Green Labs Team established a framework to evaluate and improve UCSC labs. Part of the program involved the certification of 2 pilot labs - this goal was completed with great enthusiasm and results! The Green labs team followed up with labs on recommendations that lead to positive behavior change.

More than that, through the other aspects of the program - Green Labs Team implemented reminders and found ways to save energy on campus! UCSC lab buildings use 46.7% of campus energy - so places where we could reduce this were essential! Lab equipment is high in energy usage - but there are so many areas where simple behavior modifications can save energy (thus campus $$ and GHGs).  One of these areas are fume hoods, these are ventilation devices that are used to limit the amount of toxins and chemicals people are exposed to.  Unfortunately these devices keep a constant flow of air and use the amount of energy per year equal to 3 to 5 houses.  One way the Green Labs Team helped to reduce this energy consumption was to place stickers on all fume hoods on campus to remind the labs to keep them shut when not in use.  This way the airflow is greatly reduced.

UCSC Green Labs is a successful and growing program that will continue into future years!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Green Office Certification: Student Perspectives

As we near the end of the school year, the Green Office Certification (GOC) team is looking back at all we have accomplished and what lies ahead. Here are two accounts from GOC associates that will be graduating this June.

"My job as GOC program associate is to assess other offices on their sustainable practices and give them recommendations to become more sustainable. I have performed behavior, energy, and waste assessments for numerous offices across campus, and I have generated recommendation reports to further educate office members. While the participating office members are learning and benefiting from our program, I also have learned a lot along the way. Not only did I gain critical job skills, such as communication and analytic skills, I also expanded my knowledge of, and passion for, sustainability. During the assessments of each office, I always learn new things and become more inspired by the office’s innovations."
-Allen Chang

"I have worked out of the Sustainability Office for two years now, first as a Campus Sustainability Intern and then as a Green Office Certification Team Member. I am approaching my last few weeks as a UCSC undergraduate which means I also had to undertake the scary, nerve-racking process of getting a job. During my interviews I had the same question asked of me: “What is Green Office Certification at UCSC”? I was surprised how interested people were in what I have done for sustainability during my academic career. One employer even told me she is currently working with a certification group similar to GOC and took pleasure in letting me know that their most recent building was LEED Certified! Needless to say, I am quite happy this employer was the one to offer me a full-time position! I will be looking forward to new and different ways sustainability may incorporate itself in my career after college, both at this new company and any other future work environment."
-Christian Frederick

Both of these guys will be dearly missed next year, but we know that their experience working in the Sustainability Office has provided them with the resources to excel beyond college. Good luck you two!

If you are interested in learning more about Green Office Certification or the work we do, check out our website or email And if you are interested in working with us, or any other sustainability org, view our job listings website.

Friday, May 3, 2013

IDEASS Feature Project: Making the Best of an Oil Grease Mess

Written by Hanna Haas, IDEASS Outreach Coordinator 

Greasy, gross, and... green? Students in the Impact Designs: Engineering and Sustainability through Student Service (IDEASS) program are working with the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf to turn leftover restaurant grease, otherwise a waste product, into fuel, an asset that will contribute to making the Santa Cruz Wharf even greener.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Ori Kedar, who has volunteered to work as a mentor with a team of three IDEASS students, Kevin Dang (Environmental Studies and Economics), Shyon Kishani (Chemistry), and Matt Claxton (Chemistry). The team meets regularly with Jon Bombaci who is the acting Supervisor for operations on the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf.  

Together they are contributing to a larger effort to help Santa Cruz demonstrate what can be done to live more sustainably by concentrating on something that most people either assume to be a waste product or simply ignore: the yellow grease leftover from restaurant fryers.

Collectively, the restaurants leasing space on the Santa Cruz Wharf produce a significant amount of yellow grease, and the team is looking at how to transform what is now treated as a waste product into an asset.  Specifically they are looking at the potential to process yellow grease on site. The yellow grease can be transformed into a fuel stock that can be combusted to run a generator, which produces electricity. Additionally, as Kedar explained, they are also looking at the potential for incarceration of organic solid waste, which would produce heat to run a steam turbine generator and produce electricity.

The students have also been looking at what infrastructure would be necessary to produce such an alternative waste disposal system and the net associated costs. To do this the team has been collecting data to prepare an economic assessment of what it is currently costing the wharf to remove the grease along with other solids in the waste stream. They will present these figures to stakeholders at the Master Plan meeting before making recommendations to invest in proposed solutions.

IDEASS is a 3-quarter service-learning course offered through Baskin Engineering in cooperation with the Environmental Studies Department but is open to qualified students from any major. This year,  IDEASS successfully launched 11 ambitious sustainable design projects – most of which directly involve off-campus organizations and professionals working to make innovative advances in creating what some have recognized as the  emerging “green economy.”

According to Kedar, IDEASS is “a great opportunity to use what you learn in the class about sustainability and apply it to the real world.” He suggests that by working in the community, “you have an opportunity to work with different ethical organizations, [and] leave a mark.” He adds, “If you find an area you are interested in, you can make a career. Many times, if a project doesn’t get completed, they may hire students to see it through.”

What an opportunity! If you would like to apply to IDEASS, please visit the IDEASS website to fill out the application online, or email the IDEASS instructors for more information at