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Thursday, May 22, 2014

June 2014: Contests and Funding

Join UCSC's Campus Sustainability Council
The role of the Campus Sustainability Council (CSC) is to provide funding to registered UCSC student organizations for programs and events that create, implement, and monitor environmentally sound practices on campus as established through the protocol outlined in the Blueprint for a Sustainable Campus. These organizations additionally facilitate greater collaboration between students, the administration, staff, faculty, and the community.

2014 Green 4 Green Video Contest
National Office Furniture is now accepting original 3-minute video submissions describing how cash would be used for an environmentally-friendly project. Deadline to submit a video is midnight on June 2nd (today)! Even if you are unable to submit a video, you can vote for your favorite videos between June 2 and July 31.

AASHE Webinar Discusses More Effective Energy and Water Reduction Competitions
Join this webinar to gain a better understanding of how to coordinate campus energy and water reduction competitions. Learn how to facilitate an effective competition on campus to inspire behavioral change and realize tangible decreased energy cost. Presenters will discuss the benefits and challenges of water and energy monitoring, how to establish baselines and ways to engage campus stakeholders. Participants will leave this webinar with the knowledge to define and initiate next steps to structure and gain support for an on campus energy and water reduction competition.

UCSC Mandatory Water Rationing

On May 1st, Chancellor George Blumenthal sent out information about UCSC's mandatory water rationing. Because our state is in a serious drought, I would like to emphasize and forward along the information in the following message.

In February, the Santa Cruz City Council called for a voluntary 20 percent reduction in water usage. However, effective May 1st — the city's water rationing program has become mandatory and the overall reduction goal has climbed to 25 percent.

Throughout the city's water service area, residents are reducing and monitoring their water use in order to comply with this mandate. Faced with a similar reduction of approximately 25 percent, the campus is doing the same. For the past several months, an on-campus working group has met regularly to implement emergency water-reduction strategies and monitor compliance through detailed reporting. Our residential staff members have distributed educational materials about the need to conserve, 5-minute shower timers, and other water-reduction aids.

Our students are at the forefront of many of these water-conservation activities. The Student Environmental Center has launched the "Drop Your Own Drip" campaign, which includes a friendly competition among colleges and residential halls to see who can save the most water.

There are a number of ways you can reduce your own consumption. To assist you, a special campus website has been created that includes water-conservation tips, information about related campus activities, and other resources. 

Longer term, Chancellor George Blumenthal has been charged a new task force with identifying water-management practices and new infrastructure that will support the campus's and UC's water sustainability goals. Members of the Water Conservation Task Force, including co-chairs Brent Haddad, professor of environmental studies and technology management, and Sarah Latham, vice chancellor for business and administrative services, will be helping to support these long-term goals.

However, that work will not address the current water emergency. Meeting that challenge requires an immediate commitment from each and every one of us. Please do your part now to reduce demand on the city's water system. Thank you very much for your help.

June 2014 Green Tip: End of the Year

Hey Slugs!
The end of the school year is finally upon us! When you are moving out of your dorm/house/wherever you lay your head don't forget to do it sustainability. We have compiled a few tips here to make sure you divest as much waste as you can from the landfill.

1. Reuse Boxes
When packing up don't go down to an office supply store and buy new boxes. Many stores will give you their leftover boxes for free! The UCSC Bookstore even puts piles of boxes up front as moving day gets closer. Reuse as much packing material as possible. Once you are back home and safely unpacked, save the boxes for moving back or give them to a friend in need!

2. Sell things you won't need any more
What are you going to do with your couch now that you're going to study abroad next year? What do you do with your microwave now that you're moving into an apartment with friends that already have one? Sell it! Or give it away. Post your items on Craigslist or even on the Free and For Sale UCSC Facebook page and move your goodies on to a new home!

3. Recycle all the school-year paper
Don't throw your pages and pages of Feminist Studies 1 notes in the garbage. Keep your BIO20C away from the landfill. And definitely don't trash all the hand outs you got in Writing 2. If you don't plan on keeping your school-year papers for future reference make sure you put them in the recycling!

UCSC NEW Sustainability Minor!

College Eight is pleased to announce the launch of a minor in Sustainability Studies starting Fall 2014! The minor will incorporate courses offered by College Eight and departments across campus, student-initiated classes through the Education for Sustainable Living Program, and an interdisciplinary capstone.

Launch your career in sustainability by enrolling in:

  • ​​EE80S ​(Required Lower Division Gateway course, offered Fall Quarters Only) 
  • CLEI 55 or CLEI 150A 

For more information about the minor, check out this website.

June 2014: Internships, Employment, & Volunteering

Work for PowerSave Campus
Are you interested in a 2-credit or paid internship at $11.00/hr? PowerSave Campus might be the perfect fit for you! PowerSave Campus is a student-driven energy efficiency education program that promotes careers in the field, generates actual energy savings, increases awareness of the importance of energy efficiency, and encourages academic infusion of sustainability concepts; the PSC team creates project to accomplish these goals every quarter. Along with working on their projects, interns will also be able to represent our PowerSave team at the many awesome campus sustainability events at UCSC. To learn more about our team and what we do, visit the PowerSave Campus website or contact Kristiahn Alvarado at kristiahn [at] gmail [dot] com.

Get Involved with the Student Environmental Center
The Student Environmental Center (SEC) is a student-led organization; their mission being to promote student involvement through research, education, and implementation of environmentally sustainable practices on campus. Interns with the SEC learn about current campus projects and policies, and have the opportunity to participate or take on leadership roles in many topics areas. Interns can work on existing campaigns and support the organization in a plethora of ways. Opportunities available in 2014-2015 include Waste Prevention Campaign Coordinator, Students for Organic Solution Campaign Coordinator, Green Building Campaign Coordinator, and Transportation Campaign Coordinator. Explore the SEC website for other internship opportunities or contact Julie Foster at jrfoster [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

Arboretum Volunteer Gardening Opportunities
Do you have an interest in plants, gardening and nature? Then the arboretum is the place for you! They have volunteer hours all throughout the week...plenty of time for you to get involved! For more information visit their website.

Enroll in IDEASS (Impact Designs: Engineering and Sustainability)
IDEASS is now accepting applications for enrollment next year! This is an upper division program at UCSC where students work in interdisciplinary teams with a professional mentor to create a sustainability project in Santa Cruz. IDEASS students do not need a background in engineering or STEM majors. If you are interested, fill out this application ASAP so project planning can begin! Let's get started and brainstorm some "IDEASS"!

Volunteer for Sea Slugs!
Sea Slugs are a UCSC student-based organization built around environmental activism and community evolvement. We have ties with many local organizations including the Save the Waves Coalition and the Surfrider Foundation. All those interested in environmental stewardship can attend our April 10th meeting. For information about the April meeting, stewardship opportunities, or any other oceanic shenanigans, contact seaslug.ucsc [at] gmail [dot] com or visit their website.

Find or Upload Projects to the 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 scasey [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

Work for AMBAG!
Are you interested in learning to provide strategic leadership to analyze, plan and implement regional policies for the benefit of cities and counties of Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz? Through the Association of Monterey Bay Governments students will learn policies, procedures and techniques for projects, perform tasks such as computation, programming and GIS data analysis, and assist with research in the GIS department. For more information visit the AMBAG website here.

Sierra Club's Search for Next Generation Leaders
Sierra Club is looking for the next generation of environmental leaders! Today, more young organizers than ever are running savvy campaigns and changing policies at the local, state and national level. This summer, hundreds will take part in our award-winning grassroots leadership training program to learn the skills they need to launch campaigns. These five week long trainings are run by, and for, young movement leaders. Does this sound like someone you know? Nominate a young leader to gain the skills and confidence they need to launch and win real campaigns for sustainability, climate, and justice. For more information contact Tim Harlan-Marks at sierra [at] sierraclub [dot] org.

ZipCar Paid Internship
ZipCar is offering a paid internship to students at UCSC. Some responsibilities will include: communicating and working with campus-wide contacts to grow awareness on campus, location management, vehicle auditing, and writing and executing a marketing plan. To apply, and for more information check out their website for more information. To discover more information about ZipCar, click here.

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 operated non-profit that is always seeking new instructors. For more information about potential volunteering opportunities check out their website.

Intern with the WaterLab Research Facility
The WaterLab Research Facility studies wastewater recycling and how to use recycled water to conserve unused water reserves. Though still in progress of becoming a full-fledged research facility, internship opportunities exist and will be expanding as the facility grows. UCSC students can learn more about WaterLab and internships by contacting Eli Weintraub at etweintr [at] ucsc [dot] edu and via the Center for Integrated Water Research website.

Looking for a summer job? Work for Ecology Action!
Ecology Action has five job jobs available for this summer, working to implement a summer water conservation campaign with local water agencies. Ecology Action is hiring a Program Outreach Specialist, Outreach Assistants, Program Specialist in Prerinse Spray Valve Installation, and Program Specialist in Water Advising. For more information about summer work with Ecology Action, visit their website.

Join the City of Cupertino's GreenBiz and Growing Greener Blocks
Cupertino offers a great opportunity for students to get hands-on energy efficiency, water conservation, and materials management experience in a progressive city, thereby bolstering their resume and enabling their application of classroom lessons learned. This unique internship position, working as a “boots on the ground” local government sustainability practitioner, will run through the summer, requiring a 10-12 week commitment of a minimum of 10-20 hours per week, though priority will be given to students that can commit to supporting our team full-time.

2014 Energy and Sustainability Summit

Learn how to employ the latest innovative technologies and practices to create lasting value and learn what you can do on a practical level to prepare for a changing landscape. The 2nd Annual Silicon Valley Energy and Sustainability Summit brings together more than 300 businesses, nonprofit, and public sector leaders to share best practices, lessons learned and practical solutions in applying advanced technologies (such as Information Communication Technologies) and practices (such as Big Data Analysis) to help achieve energy and sustainability goals.

For the agenda, directions, places to stay, and to register, go to this website.

UCSC Dining Sustainability Internship Comes to a Close

As the end of the year steadily approaches, UCSC Dining Sustainability Intern Crystal Owings is ready to end her chapter with UCSC Dining. As the Sustainability Intern, Crystal has managed a variety of projects such as organizing the first annual Healthy Mondays Meet the Chef event, regular Farm Fridays tabling at the dining halls, conducting dining food waste audits and awareness, and the Green Business certification process for College Eight Café just to name a few. UCSC Dining is happy to announce that Helen Toloza, a current third year transfer student majoring in Sociology, will be the incoming intern for the 2014-2015 academic year. Congratulations, Helen and UCSC Dining!

If you’d like to get involved with any of Dining’s sustainability projects in the next academic year, please contact Candy Berlin (Dining Programming Coordinator –cberlin [at] ucsc [dot] edu), Clint Jeffries (Dining Sustainability Manager- cjeffrie [at] ucsc [dot] edu), or Helen Toloza (htoloza [at] ucsc [dot] edu).

UCSC Awarded 3 Best Practice Awards

UCSC has won 3 Best Practice Awards (tied with UC Davis for the most awards recieved). Awards will be presented at the California Sustainability in Higher Education Conference in June. Project categories and the names of projects receiving awards are listed below.
  1. Lighting Design/Retrofit - Physical Science Building Laboratory Automated Lighting Conversion Project
  2. Student Energy Efficiency Program - College 8 Cold Water Wash Campaign 
  3. Innovative Waste Reduction - Loadman Real-Time Waste Metrics for Weight Based Recharge and Diversion

This year's California Sustainability in Higher Education Conference, the conference will be from June 16-20th at San Diego State University. If you are interested in attending you may register at this website - register soon because tickets are selling out!

For students:

There will be a student convergence at CHESC. The student convergence is a post-conference, half-day workshop, on Thursday, June 19th. It will highlight new student campaigns, upcoming projects, and skill sharing workshops. Students will also have a chance to network with other student leaders from California Community Colleges, California State University, University of California, and Private campuses throughout the state collectively as well as with students from their own systems. The convergence is free and students can attend it without attending the main conference.

If you plan on attending the California Sustainability in Higher Education Conference, or a similar sustainability-related conference, there are funds available to support the cost of travel (excluding airfare), lodging, food and registration through Measure 45 - The Sustainability Office Fee. If you are interested in receiving travel and registration cost reimbursement for this conference or a any similar conference, please contact Lacey Raak (lacey [at] ucsc [dot] edu).

Two UCSC Professors Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Biologist James Estes and seismologist Thorne Lay have had the prestigious honor of being accepted into the National Academy of Sciences. Election to the NAS is one of the top honors a U.S. scientist can receive, and Jim and Thorne join 12 UCSC colleagues as members of this prestigious group.

As a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, Estes has conducted pathbreaking research on the role of predators in ecosystems. You may be familiar with his work on the role of sea otters in coastal ecosystems.

Lay, a professor of Earth and planetary sciences, is one of the world's leading seismologists. He has made unparalleled contributions to our understanding of earthquakes and Earth's interior structure. Estes and Lay bring a spirit of bold inquiry to their work, and the lasting impact of their research is evident. Full details are available in the press release distributed today by our Public Affairs Office.

  Professor Jim Estes                Professor Thorne Lay

June 2014: Classes, Training, & Community

EcoLogic Design Lab
Are you interested in the Ecological Design process, the "barn raising" construction process, and making a pocket house? Then this awesome new College Eight class is for you! Join Thomas Rettenwender for a two-part class, during Summer Session I & Summer Session II. The class takes place on Tuesday/Thursday from 9-12:30 pm. Sign up for this class and learn all about Ecological Design & Construction! For more information visit the EcoLogic Design website.

Come Support MBEVA and MINDDRIVE
A media event regarding the innovative new project by MBEVA, or the Monterey Bay Electric Vehicle Alliance, called MINDDRIVE. The event takes place on the Santa Cruz wharf on June 4 from 9:30-10:30 am. Local dignitaries will be in attendance, to speak about the importance of the relationship between MINDDRIVE and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs. Visit MINDDRIVE's website to get more information on this incredible new program.

Grassland Bird Monitoring Study

The UC Santa Cruz Natural Reserve, UCSC students, and expert birders John Garrett and Alex Rinkert are teaming up to develop an innovative bird monitoring program to track local populations of eight grassland bird species that are experiencing local, regional and national declines. Areas of study include annual grasslands and coastal prairie within Santa Cruz, Pogonip City Park, Moore Creek Reserve, and Gray Whale and Wilder Ranch State Parks.

After an initial year for data collection and analysis, the program with develop to allow birders from the local UCSC and Santa Cruz city community to participate in data collection. To learn more, please contact the UCSC Campus Natural Reserve steward at asjones [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

Photo by Cody Perhamus

Climate Science & Policy Conference Videos Now Available!

The goal of the conference was to bring public attention the necessity of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through alternative sources of energy. Distinguished speakers, climate scientists, and policy makers spoke on three panels: regarding climate change research, climate change mitigation, and adapting to impending climate change.

Notable speakers include Professor Susan Solomon (MIT) and Professor Michael Mann (Pennsylvania State University). Discussing the ozone hole over Antarctica, and his book Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming and The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, respectively. For a full conference program, click here, and for more information regarding the conference, contact Sarah Glommen, Executive Assistant to the Dean at sglommen [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

Chancellor Blumenthal, Professor Susan Soloman, Fred Keely 

June 2014 Sustainability Profile: Sierra Ellison-Swabey

Each month, our newsletter features a person or group on campus that is working toward a more sustainable world. This month features Sierra Ellison-Swabey, who has been creating a catalog for Environmentally Preferred Products for the Procurement Services Department on campus.

Position Title: Green Purchasing Intern- Provost Sustainability Internship (PSI) Program

Favorite Green Tip: My green tip would be to start using reusable water bottles. I never really used them when I was little, but since coming to Santa Cruz, I have started using them and I love it! I like that there are so many different varieties of reusable water bottles, and now you can get one that matches your taste and personality. They are a great way to stay hydrated, save you money by not buying disposable water bottles and help the environment by using less plastic.

What does “Sustainability” mean to you? 
Sustainability is a concept that can have many different definitions. To me, sustainability is buying, using, and disposing of a product responsibly. To use a product or resource in a manner where there is minimal waste, and in a way that is least harmful to the environment is the act of being sustainable. This is just one way to look at sustainability.

How does sustainability relate to your role at UCSC?
I am a PSI intern working in the purchasing department this year, and my project was to create a favorites list of Environmentally Preferred Products (EPP) in CruzBuy. You can read more about my project here. Sustainable practices in purchasing are very important, and I encourage everyone to think carefully about products before purchasing them.

How do you practice sustainability in your daily life?
Well, I always use a reusable water bottle or tumbler; I use reusable bags; and I take public transportation or carpool as much as possible. Whenever I go to my hometown, I always carpool or take a train. I have also started walking to classes this year and have found some great short cuts that help me get to class on time.

Have you had a favorite sustainability moment at UCSC?
My favorite sustainably moment was at this year’s winter Inter-Organizational Sustainability Retreat. There were so many passionate people at this event, and some really great ideas on ways for campus to become more sustainable. It really inspired me to become a more sustainable person.

Committee on Sustainability and Stewardship (CSS) Updates

Attendees: Alex Jones, April Exner, Dan Blunk, Dean Fitch, Lacey Raak, Shauna Casey, John Barnes, CISR, Tim Galarneau, Lily Urman, Tony Grant, Natalie Tran, Lucia Calderon, Don Calerdine, Andrea Hesse, Kevin Bell, Scott Berlin, Sarah Orlick, Parker Welch, Aaron Cole

Awareness Education Engagement 
  • The Learning Living Lab map is almost completed! 
Facilities & Buildings
  • LEED GA training held April 11 (25 attendees)
  • Haybarn will be silver 
Land, Habitat, Watershed
  • Recently conducted 16 field trips with over 300 students
  • Working on grassland monitoring project; Sustainability Office funded project provides 2 student birders to develop a monitoring program to monitor 8 specific grassland bird species experiencing significant decline, expanded to nearby preserves
  • Working on Ohlone Tiger Beetle protection signage based on research by Tim Duane and grad student  
  • Provost's Sustainability Internship student completed project- environmentally preferred office supply “favorites” list
  • Creating financial affairs sustainability web page 
  • 400 students participated in first Walk to Class challenge day, which will be growing next year 
  • Compost Feasibility almost complete, looking at grants to help fund infrastructure 
  • Currently under water restrictions, Sustainability Office will be hiring Water Action Team 
Student Environmental Center
  • Drop Your Own Drip Campaign presentations/training, Student Organic Solutions Campaign, Green Building Campaign- Self-sustaining Greenhouse 
  • FSWG updating Campus Food & Garden Guide
  • Quarterly Meeting- expanded discussion of what “food” means in the Santa Cruz Community
  • President’s Food Initiative- 
    • Alice Waters initiative UC Food movement
    • UCOP/President responded with initiative
    • Dan Press is UCSC Campus Liaison for the initiative
    • Developing short and long-term goals
    • UCSC is a bastion for agro-ecology so we should be a lead in advancing agro-ecology & food justice issues across CA
    • How can we support being a lead and develop/share best practices?
    • Farm Institution emphasis
    • Unfunded mandate- unclear to what extent funding will be earmarked for this initiative

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

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!

Composting Toilets Save Precious Water

Vermont Law School has composting toilets that use a biocompatible "foam flush" that use very little water and they have toilets that don't use any water at all. The waste goes into tanks in the basement where aerobic bacteria and earthworms convert the waste into potential fertilizer year-round. UCSC should implement composting toilets in a single building then the idea could spread across campus with every building having composting toilets.

St. Olaf College opens Ole Thrift Shop

The “shop" sells items that St. Olaf students donate as they move out of the residence halls. Rather than throw away or recycle the items, students place them in Ole Thrift Shop collection boxes throughout campus. Proceeds from the sales support other environmentally sustainable projects on their campus as well as several local organizations. With move out approaching UCSC, it would be great if we had a center that takes in old items.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Paper Towel Free for a Week!

From April 10th- 17th of this year, I didn’t use a single paper towel. Surprisingly, it was the easiest routine change I’ve ever tried. Through helping promote the Chancellor’s Challenge with the Sustainability Office this year, I'd already started to use less paper towels, but going paper towel free for a week really solidified my opinion— that paper towels (specifically in restrooms) are unnecessary. I
now choose to shake my hands after washing them and then dry them on my clothes or sometimes run them through my hair when paper towels are the only option. I used to think it was rather gross to leave the restroom without completely dry hands but I realized one day that it shouldn’t matter to me. Reason being, I live with a fairly common condition known as hyperhidrosis where the sweat glands in my hands are overactive— I have to shake peoples’ hands and open doors with extremely not-dry hands all the time anyway. It’s difficult, but I’ve just come to accept it and usually (but unfortunately not always) people understand! I know not everyone can relate to this specific condition, but I know many people have had to use a sketchy public restroom before with no paper towels or air dryers, and you know what? I think we survived leaving with not-dry hands! There are of course several factors to removing paper towel dispensers campus-wide, but for now I at least encourage trying to go paper towel free for even just a couple days, because it’s a surprisingly easy habit to change and simultaneously makes a huge impact on waste at UCSC!
By Lauren Korth