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Friday, October 31, 2014

November 2014 Drought Update

During the spring, mandatory water restrictions of 25% were put into place by the City of Santa Cruz to reduce water use during this "exceptional" drought, and UC Santa Cruz has been successful at staying within these reductions since late spring. To achieve this goal, the Water Working Group requested the creation of a student-led team through the Sustainability Office, focused specifically on drought response. Thus, the Drought Response Team was born, comprised of five students: Nataly Dybens, Lindsay Edelman, Marino Hernandez, Elly Martinez, and McCall Williams.

This summer, this student team took on the projects of auditing water fixtures, educating the campus through signage, and learning about water in our county. Through their efforts and the water conservation actions of our entire campus community, we have stayed within our water restriction amounts. Congratulations—and keep it up! Throughout the summer and into the fall, the Drought Response Team has inspected 64 buildings’ water fixtures by assessing how much water was being used by sinks, showers, and toilets. Comparing these numbers with expected flow rates, the team members identify inefficient fixtures and have been passing along requests for them to be fixed or upgraded. So far 91 leaks have been repaired, and there are still 40 more buildings to be audited by the team. These simple changes in our infrastructure can save a lot of water.   

In addition to auditing, the team has put up signage in nearly all restrooms on campus with information about how to report leaks, knowing that water conservation is a team effort across campus requiring support from everyone. Perhaps you’ve seen the signs: “Help Out, We’re in a Drought!” The team has also been tabling at events throughout campus to educate our community about water use and sources of water in our county. Most of our water comes from Loch Lomond Reservoir and the San Lorenzo River, which are dependent upon local rain. 

The Drought Response Team has been tabling at events throughout campus to educate, engage, and encourage water conservation.

Despite our achievements in water reductions, the drought continues and some parts of campus are suffering from the limited amounts of water that can be used. For example, East Field wasn’t watered enough early in the summer to keep it alive, and it has had to be re-seeded and left to grow back, affecting sports clubs and teams and others who use the field. The UCSC Farm is also facing challenges in keeping enough of their fields growing to continue all of their important programs and research. Water conservation is still extremely important, and each day we are more and more in need of rain. If you’d like to know more about what the City and community leaders are doing to identify solutions to our water supply, please read this article about the recent water convention and cast your vote

These efforts by the Drought Response Team are just some of the many efforts taking place at UCSC to reduce water use, and we will continue to provide updates as the drought continues. It is important to inform your friends, family members, peers, and neighbors about the drought and what we all can do to conserve water. Take this water footprint quiz to learn how you can save more water and encourage others to do the same. If you see a leak or water waste on campus, please report it by filling out a work order online at If you notice a leak in the residential halls, please report it via a Fixit ticket at

Questions? Proposed solutions? Concerns? Please contact Elida Erickson at ekericks [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

The Future of Water

On Thursday, October 16, Santa Cruz Water Department customers had the opportunity to evaluate over 50 citizen-submitted proposals that addressed water supply needs at an event at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. This day represented a fundamental shift in approach to public policy because it attempted to engage citizens outside of a traditional meeting, and it allowed the community to vote. Each proposal was rated based upon four criteria: Effectiveness, Practicability, Environmental Benefits, and Local Economic Benefits, only a scale from 1 to 5. 

If you missed the convention, you can still engage in this process through the Civonomics website here by November 11. You can vote for or against all of the proposals, learn more, ask questions, make pro/con statements on specific ideas, and leave feedback. The civic process and the possibilities of the internet merge in this project; perhaps this is the new frontier for citizen involvement in government! 

If you would like to know more and cast your vote online, please visit the Civinomics website and vote by November 11.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Venturing Out of My Neck of The Woods

Student Perspective Piece Written by Meghan Neureither, Education and Outreach Associate

As a member of the Sustainability Office, I feel that I am no stranger to sustainability and environmental activism. However, I am a novice when it comes to tackling issues in the realm of social justice. Since I am the student lead on tabling for this year, I am beginning to recognize the importance of integrating and relating social issues into our message. After watching a Ted Talk by Van Jones, the importance of emphasizing how the physical and human aspects of the planet are so intertwined really dawned on me. 

Education and Outreach Team (L-R)
Preethi Ruvva, Meghan Neureither, Melina Meseroll,
Mitch Mastroni, Rebecca Sale, Christine Ongjoco
An example of the union between social and environmental justice is "Cancer Alley." This is an area along the Mississippi River, where many individuals of low socioeconomic status live, and are being adversely affected by the industrial plants and the toxic materials that the plants are releasing. Sadly, Cancer Alley is only one of a plethora of examples of the link between the pollution of the planet, and the poisoning of people. We do not have disposable resources, and we do not have throwaway people. Thus, it is important that our message encompasses the human aspect as well.

This year, I have committed myself and am encouraging my team members to furthering our education about both sustainable and social issues. And while the environment is the main recipient of our office's focus, it is so crucial to recognize the bridge between the two sectors. They are not separate worlds, and we would be doing a huge injustice to both people and the environment to treat them as such. This reminds me of something that John Muir once said, "when we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."  (John Muir, 1911).

Look out for the Education and Outreach team at various events both on and off campus! Come talk to us and let us know how we are doing! Feel free to teach us something too. 
While one of our focuses is educating about sustainability, 
there is always more to learn and more knowledge to be shared and we would absolutely love to hear what you have to say. Stay sustainable, slugs!

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 at [at] ucsc [dot] edu and we will help you direct your ideas toward fruition!

Students Suggest Ways to Get Peers Biking to SF State University
Northern California is home to the two most bicycle-friendly universities in the entire country, according to the League of American Bicyclists — and yet a mere 9.5 percent of students pedal to San Francisco State University, the Bay Area’s second largest campus. The university’s new Bicycle Geographies class sought to understand why so few students cycle to school, and published a report in May detailing the students’ findings and recommendations
When a team of UC Davis students packs up its house and travels to Irvine next year for the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2015 Solar Decathlon competition, its members will bring not only a desire to win, but also to make zero-net-energy homes more affordable. After submitting an entry for the first time, UC Davis was one of 20 universities selected in February to compete in the Solar Decathlon. The competition draws students and scientists from universities across the nation — from Yale and Vanderbilt to CalPoly and Sacramento State — to design and build solar-powered homes that are energy efficient and attractive. Learn more here.

Maharishi U Management Uses Rain Water for Bottles
Campus residents can now fill their bottles at a free bottle-filling station that was recently installed. This station uses water from a 10,000-gallon cistern that collects rainwater.

Coastal Carolina U Releases Fracking Brief
Students created reports that analyze federal and state laws and their impacts on various communities. A recent report looked at fracking in North Carolina in an effort to best prepare students for sustainable leadership and public service.

Students Promote Green Cleaning
Students from several institutions promote the importance of using green products such as baking soda and vinegar for cleaning as a less expensive and healthier option.

U Texas Austin Students Create BioFuel
Through a 2013 grant, students have researched, studied and created a biofuel that is intended for use in university vehicles once out of the testing stages. This particular biofuel is created from a waste product that was slated to be thrown away and will decrease the university's fuel intake.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Facing Mega-Drought, California Will Avoid Defeat

Researchers and scientists recognize that traumatic changes would occur in our great state during what is recognized as dire circumstances. But Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, an Oakland think tank says that mega-drought "doesn't mean no will mean using what we have more effectively." The Department of Water and Power is planning to build a treatment system that would cleanse industrially contaminated groundwater in the San Fernando Valley.
And if conditions continue to worsen, L.A. could ban landscape irrigation completely, using an ordinance already in place. In Los Angeles, it is high time to make the shift from extraordinarily lavish greenery everywhere, and instead embrace the new normal by installing heat and drought resistant plants, desert rocks, and a low-water drip irrigation system that is operated by a controller that measures soil moisture. We must educate ourselves about the possibilities incurred from the drought, and how to go forth and to be more sustainable individuals. Read the Los Angeles Times article for information on the subject.

Virtual Green Room to Guide Your Sustainable Living!

Are you looking to become a more sustainable and environmentally-conscious individual but are just not sure where to start? Look no further than the new, interactive page on the UC Santa Cruz Housing website. This tool is easy to access, easy to use, and has valuable information about living sustainably. By simply clicking on the green circles, explore the many ways to be more environmentally conscious. For example, by clicking on the desk lamp, you are given access to information about electricity and how to select lightbulbs that use less energy. Share with a student you know, or consider how these tips apply to your own life!

Explore the page here.

Friday, October 24, 2014

UCSC Receives Silver Bicycle Friendly University Award

The League of American Bicyclists recognized UC Santa Cruz with a Silver Bicycle Friendly University award, joining 100 visionary colleges and universities from across the country.
(Left to right) Robert Jones, a student bicycle commuter who also works with sustainability organizations on campus; Cathy Crowe, who manages transportation programs like the Bike Library, as well as permit sales for TAPS; and Melissa Ott, a recent UCSC graduate who actively supported bicycling as a student and now works in the Sustainability Office.

With the announcement of 33 new and renewing BFUs in 20 states, UC Santa Cruz joins a cutting-edge group of colleges and universities from across the United States transforming their campuses and the communities around them. There are now 100 BFUs in 37 states and Washington, D.C.

“Campus leaders are recognizing the immediate and long-term impact that a vibrant bike culture can create for their institutions,” said Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists. “We applaud this new round of colleges and universities for investing in a more sustainable future for the country and a healthier lifestyle for their staff, students and surrounding communities.”

Robert Jones rides his bike to campus nearly every day for class. He also works for UCSC's PowerSave Campus and the UCSC Sustainability Office. 

UC Santa Cruz encourages bicycling as an easy option for transportation and provides amenities such as free bike safety classes, bike maintenance clinics, bike fix-it stations, and bike licensing; a variety of bike parking options, including smart bike lockers; a bike lending library; a bike shuttle from two off-campus locations; and a zero-interest bike loan for academic and staff employees. The UCSC bike program also conducts a Bicycle Safety Campaign twice each year to educate cyclists about safe cycling techniques; helmets and bike lights are distributed free of charge to participants who don’t currently have them.

Jonny Zelaya was an intern with the Student Environmental Center's Transportation Campaign, which encourages sustainable transportation, including bicycling. He is now a Student Sustainability Advisor for College 8 and Oakes.

Students have been a driving force in the promotion of bicycles at UCSC, launching several successful programs such as the Bike Library, the Bike Co-op, the Bicycle Transit Planning Team, and a student Transportation Campaign. Melissa Ott, a recent graduate who was highly involved with bicycle advocacy efforts at UCSC, is excited about the Bicycle Friendly status. "I am so proud that the efforts of hardworking individuals and organizations at UCSC have been recognized with this award. I hope this helps inspire more students, staff, and faculty to hop on a bicycle and explore our campus on two wheels."

Ott, who now works in the UCSC Sustainability Office, acknowledges that the topography of the campus is a challenge. "It's not easy to convince people to bike up our hilly campus, but those of us who have made the trip up know that once you challenge yourself to do so, the rewarding views, endorphins, and sense of community that result are so worth the sweat!With this award, UC Santa Cruz will now have access to a variety of free tools and technical assistance from the League to become even more bicycle-friendly.

More information about UCSC’s bike program can be found online at

November 2014: Classes, Training, and Community

From Garden to Plate PICA Workshop - November 9
PICA is an experiential learning/living program meant to engage students with sustainability through practical experience and the sharing of community based knowledge. Their first workshop will be “From Garden to Plate: How to Create a Locally Sourced Feast” on Sunday, November 9 from 1AM - 2 PM at the Village in the F Quad kitchen. If you are interested in reserving a space for this workshop, please contact Kelsey Jones (kemjones [at] ucsc [dot] edu), PICA's Outreach Coordinator.
Fermentation Workshop with PICA - November 23
PICA will be offering hands on sustainable workshops this Fall Quarter. The fermentation workshop with Sally Neas will teach participants how to make sauerkraut and bread on Sunday, November 23 from 11 AM - 1:30 PM at The Village Kitchen.  The workshop is being capped at 20 people so you must RSVP to kemjones [at] ucsc [dot] edu by Thursday, November 20!

PICA Garden Workdays - Saturdays
The Program in Community and Agroecology welcomes all UCSC students to their Saturday Garden Workdays. You can learn how to grow your own food and enjoy fun and a fabulous garden fresh lunch. The PICA Garden Workdays will be held every Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM, November 8 through Dec 6. 

Join Fossil Free UCSC to Divest UC Funds from Fossil Fuel Investments
Fossil Free UC is a student-led campaign building a movement to tackle climate change and secure a just and prosperous future. Divestment is the tactic, and reinvestment is the solution. The goal is to stigmatize and restrict the extractive operations of fossil fuel companies that stand in the way of the political, societal and technological changes needed to continue living on this planet. That money will be reinvested in climate solutions. The next UC Regents' Meeting is coming up on November 19-20, and Fossil Free UC is planning campus actions to show that students, staff, and faculty will not give up and go home because the Regents say no. Interested in learning more or joining? Email Alden at aphinney [at] ucsc [dot] edu or like the Facebook page.

Lead a Class for ESLP Spring 2014 - Deadline November 12
Imagine being able to share your knowledge and passion with your peers! Guess what, you can do that! Every spring quarter, the Education for Sustainable Living Program offers a wide variety of sustainability-themed courses. In past years, they've held classes on food system, fossil fuel divestment, indigeneity, personal sustainability, bee keeping, and activism. Here's the awesome part: all of these classes were CREATED and LEAD by students like you! Visit the website ( for the facilitator application. Applications due November 12!  
Students for Organic Solutions 
Check out the Student Environmental Center's newly updated Students for Organic Solutions website showing all the ways you can get involved in your local food systems, environment, and sustainability movements. This is inclusive of ALL of our wonderful campus resources from college garden work days to Arboretum workshops and faculty lectures. Take care of the land that takes care of you and have fun!

Maui Wowi: Food Systems, Agriculture, and Outdoor Adventure 
Though this is fall quarter, registration is open (and will fill) for the annual experiential learning and food system engagement spring break trip. Join the Food Systems Working Group & Rec Department on Maui to explore traditional food and farming sites, explore different aspects of culture, and adventure into bamboo forests, ranch lands, and marine sanctuaries to explore the ecological aspects of the island. This trip will also include a 2 unit ENVS internship in winter quarter to prepare the group for different concepts and frameworks of food system engagement they will explore in March.  Sign up on the OPERS Recreation website this quarter to reserve your spot! 
Climate Crisis Featuring Fossil Free UC - November 19 
Are you interested in discussing the Climate Crisis with your community members? The Student Environmental Center presents the General Gathering Series with Fossil Free UCSC on Wednesday, November 19 from 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM at the College 8 Red Room. Enjoy a free, delicious vegetarian meal while getting involved with Climate Change Movement! 

Provost Sustainability Internship
The Provost's Sustainability Internship (PSI) program is in full swing! Students and staff mentors are hard at work doing outreach and planning their projects. PSI is currently partnered with the Climate Action Team, Take Back the Tap, Common Ground Center, PICA, Purchasing, and the Site Stewardship Program. Please contact Lori at llnixon [at] ucsc [dot] edu if you have suggestions for additional departments to partner with PSI next year!

Free Climate Change and Sustainable Development Classes 
Not busy enough? Consider taking FREE classes on Climate Change and Sustainable Development online. Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), is a free online education platform created to advance the field of sustainable development in all regions of the world. Questions? Email edu [at] unsdsn [dot] org or visit their website.

Are you a student who is an advocate for climate change, divestment or sustainability? Then this is the program for you! The Expedition Education Institute in partnership with Marlboro College is offering one-semester off-campus programs for students passionate about the environment, the earth, and also to learn to become stronger leaders. The Spring 2015 Semester in Ecological Leadership will investigate Energy Issues and Climate Justice in the Southwest, traveling from Texas to Arizona. There may not be a set classroom location, but this doesn't mean that you won't learn a ton of interesting and crucial information! Please apply before the deadline of November 15th. For more information contact Larkspur Morton at larkspur [dot] morton [at] expeditioneducation [dot] org.

The Ray Collett Rare & Extraordinary Plants Lecture Series featuring Greg King on Sunday November 9th, 2014 at 4:00 PM. King's Lecture is about protecting the wild and scenic Smith River. It will be hosted at the Arboretum's Horticulture II Building. Please RSVP online.  Arboretum members $5, non-members $10 and UCSC students are free. Learn more by visiting their website.

On Saturday November 15th from 2-4:00 PM at the Arboretum, this workshop will teach volunteers to monitor and gather data on when native plants leaf out, flower, form fruit and other seasonal changes through hands-on training. No experience necessary! Please RSVP online! More information can be found at at their website.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sustainability Office Fall Retreat

On October 4, UC Santa Cruz Sustainability Office students and staff, as well as interns in the Provost's Sustainability Internship Program, gathered for a day packed with knowledge, bonding and planning for the coming year! The morning started with a delicious breakfast and mingling, followed by some get-to-know-you games, and an introduction to sustainability at UCSC. Other topics covered throughout the morning included climate action and the Carbon Fund and how to manage work, plan projects, and have effective meetings. These trainings were led by some of our fantastic staff: Lacey Raak, Elida Erickson, Chrissy Thomure, and Melissa Ott. In addition to sustainability and professional development trainings, this year's retreat included diversity, inclusion, and communication as one of its major topics.

One activity in particular was called "We See From Behind Our Eyes," where one partner described a picture to the other (who could not see the picture), and the parter who could not see the projected picture, had to draw the picture as it was described from their teammate. Laughter, confusion, and silly-looking drawings ensued, but a poignant lesson was learned about the importance of and challenges with clear communication while working with others. In our own heads, we "see" things in a particular way, but when trying to explain concepts or ideas to others, we have to make sure we are considering how they might be "seeing" our explanation. Even when we're all speaking the same language, there is a certain level of translation that occurs--being clear and understanding can minimize how much is lost in this translation. 

Other activities in this session included writing "I Am From" poems, exploring how to build lasting relationships with other organizations and individuals, and brainstorming our Office Principles of Community based on the UCSC Principles of Community (read them here).

One of the last activities we did at the retreat was a fun waste relay led by the Zero Waste Team, where students put their recycling/waste/compost sorting knowledge to the test in the form of a fast-paced relay race. Everyone won in the form of enhanced knowledge about our different waste streams on campus. We wrapped up the day-long retreat with a small trek to a gorgeous wooded area on campus, where everyone shared one word summing up their experience that day (inspiring, motivated, learning, new friends, just to name a few!). After a team cheer and photos, we said our goodbyes, rejuvenated and excited for the coming year. What a great way to kick start the new school year! Thank you to all who made the retreat possible!

Climate Action: Why It Matters and How to Help

Fossil Free UC (FFUC) is a campaign made up of a coalition of students, faculty, staff, and alumni from the entire UC system, with additional support from partner organizations like the California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC) and  The campaign strives to: a) raise awareness on and off campus of the dangers of fossil fuels, b) pressure the UC Regents to vote for a full divestment of the General Endowment Pool, and c) to aid the administration in developing a reinvestment plan that is both adjusted for climate risk and socially responsible, thereby upholding the mission of the university. Visit their website or email to get involved.

The UCSC Carbon Fund committee strives for a sustainable future by working to mitigate Climate Change through funding and participating in projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conduct relevant research, or carry out education and behavioral change programs.  The Committee’s commitment is foremost to the campus and its students, but also to the wider community as Climate Change is a threat without boundaries. Visit their website or email for more information.

PowerSave Campus is a student-driven energy efficiency education program that promotes careers inthe field, generates actual energy savings, increases awareness of the importance of energy efficiency and encourages academic infusion of sustainability concepts. Visit their website or email to learn more.

UCSC Green Labs includes a committee, a certification program and an education & outreach element that implements energy efficiency, waste reduction, and purchasing programs in campus labs through behavior change, physical improvements, and education. Visit their website or email to get involved.

To help out on a more personal level, check out this Carbon Footprint Calculator to keep track of your greenhouse gas emissions!

T-shirts, Get Your UCSC Sustainability T-shirts!

UCSC Sustainability t-shirts are available for purchase! They feature a gorgeous graphic design of a redwood tree printed onto soft cream colored cotton. The words making up the tree's shape are all of the UCSC Sustainability Orgs! Get yours today to celebrate your involvement in the sustainability movement.

 The size range is small to large. If you are interested in purchasing a Sustainability t-shirt for the new price of $15, email Melissa at mott [at] ucsc [dot] edu with your size preference. First come, first serve on sizes!

474 Students Visit the Natural Reserve Classroom

Week Two of Fall Quarter 2014 was a big one for getting students out into our grand Campus Natural Reserve outdoor classroom here at UCSC. All of the following classes had on-campus field trips where students were able to explore living examples of their course content:

  • General Ecology (ENVS 24; 198 students in 10 sections) 
  • Development and Physiology (BIOE 20B; 98 students in 6 optional hikes)
  • Collaborative Learning (KRSG 72/172; 120 students in a one big group!)
  • Jack Mazza's Senior Project, the Natural History of UCSC Field Group (15 students)

In addition, 3 stewardship interns, 13 Forest Ecology Research Plot interns, 2 plant photo library interns, education/art/outreach intern, and 24 College 8 freshman during the C8 Sustainability Project worked on projects on the Campus Natural Reserve. Indeed a big week--474 students in total! Thanks to all for participating, and we hope to see you out there. Contact Alex Jones at for information on internships, class field trips, and volunteer opportunities.

The Dining Halls are Working Towards our Zero Waste Goal!

The dining halls are back tackling the big issue of food waste and helping to educate our new crop of UCSC Slugs! A new style of service was introduced this fall in an attempt to help minimize uneaten food scraps being sent to the compost facility--think zero waste! Many of the hot food service lines were converted from "self service" to "staff served" plates. 

It appears to be working after the first plate-waste food audit at Porter/Kresge dining hall during lunch on October 16. The amount of uneaten food was reduced from a previous 2.4 oz per plate to 1.7 oz per plate! 

This might not seem like a big deal, but the dining halls are serving 25,000 meals a day! Yes, UCSC's dining halls are all-you-care-to-enjoy, however we are still delivering the consistent message: "take what you like, but eat what you take!" Congratulations to our dining halls and thank you for supporting our campus-wide goal of moving towards zero waste!

Humanities Green Team Gets Down and Dirty with Nessie

During the summer, Humanities Green team members worked on the UCSC recycling sort line, affectionately nicknamed "Nessie." The staff members separated recyclables (plastic bottles, glass bottles and cans), helping the university redeem valuable materials such as CRV (California Refund Value) as well as promoting and supporting the campus' zero waste goals. The Humanities Green Team is a group of staff, faculty, and students committed to reducing waste, improving sustainable practices, and helping UCSC reach zero waste by 2020. To contact the Humanities Green Team, direct your inquiries to HGT [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

Congratulations, Jessica Fiske Bailey!

Jessica Fiske Bailey, Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at UC Santa Cruz, has been named the Executive Director of the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum. Ms. Bailey has extensive experience in nonprofit administration, organizational development, and fundraising. She has worked at UCSC for nine years, with five years as Assistant Vice Provost of Undergraduate.

In her new role, Ms. Bailey will be focusing on the sustainability of the collections, fundraising and financial stability, and enhancing the visitor experience. A primary goal is to raise awareness in the community of the Arboretum's outstanding collections and important contributions to plant conservation and endangered species management. Congratulations!

November 2014: Internships, Employment, & Volunteering

The Food Systems Working Group has an exciting new cadre of student leaders working across their partnerships with Dining, the Farm, and Garden efforts. Are YOU looking for an internship to join them? Email ucscfswg [at] gmail [dot] com if you'd like to find out more!

Want to Teach a Class in Sustainability?
The Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP) is looking for outgoing, organized and intelligent students who want to create, innovate and teach their own class in sustainability in Winter Training Seminar in 2015. Students will create their own syllabus, lesson plans, learn to lead and facilitate a class, and prepare to teach their own class in Spring 2015. Interested students can email ESLP [at] ucsc [dot] edu or visit their website.

Santa Cruz Sierra Club Seeking Interns & Volunteers
The mission of the Sierra Club is to explore, enjoy, and protect natural places. It is one of the oldest and largest environmental organization in the country, founded by John Muir in the late 1800s. In Santa Cruz, the Sierra Club focuses on issues such as forestry protection, water quality at our local beaches, sustainable transportation, and other topics that affect our air, water, local habitats, and community. They are seeking interns and volunteers to support outreach efforts, plan events, and conduct research. If you are interested in learning how environmental activism works at the local level, planning fun events and hikes to engage people with our local environment, and supporting the local environment please email [at] sierraclub [dot] org. Visit the website, Facebook, and MeetUp page for more information.

myActions on Campus is Seeking Smart, Savvy Student Leaders
myActions on Campus has recognized UC Santa Cruz's commitment to develop next generation leaders and wants to invite our students to for two paid internships! Last year 75 campuses across the nation participated, driving over 100,000 sustainable projects and actions in a plethora of communities. These internship roles include Sustainability Campus Intern and Community Service Campus Intern. Don't wait, create change now. For more information visit myActions on Campus page.

Not Busy Enough? Learn with SDSN!
22 units and 3 organizations aren't enough for you? Consider taking FREE classes on Climate Change and Sustainable Development online. Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), is a free online education platform created to advance the field of sustainable development in all regions of the world. Questions? Email edu [at] unsdsn [dot] org or visit their website.

Seeking an Administrative Assistant! - Deadline November 7
The Santa Cruz Country Regional Transportation Commission (RTC), headquartered in downtown Santa Cruz, is seeking an Administrative Assistant responsible for providing advanced office support to planners, managers and the Executive Director; the administrative assistant performs independent, responsible, confidential, and complex administrative, technical and clerical work, independent information gathering, information preparation, and other related work as required. Application packet must be received by Friday, November 7, 2014. For more information, visit the RTC's website here.

Now Hiring! Project Bike Trip Director and Bike Tech Program Director
Project Bike Trip is hiring! Interested in working for Project Bike Trip? This is an excellent opportunity to practice sustainability, by engaging in a program that offers environmentally friendly and fun means of alternative transportation! In order to manage the growing demand for our Bike Tech Program, we're looking for two professional, self-motivated, highly organized, enthusiastic, innovative, energetic, hard-working individuals to join our team. The Bike Tech Program Director will be responsible for the day-to-day operations for the Bike Tech at School Program. Responsibilities include: coordinating with Bike Tech instructors, working with CTE (Career Technical Education) agencies, curriculum development, networking with sponsoring bike shops and manufacturers, developing an apprenticeship program, collaborating on promotional opportunities, etc. For complete job descriptions and information on how to apply, click here.

California Certified Organic Farmers is an organic certifier, trade association and educational foundation supporting the growth of organic food and agriculture. It seeks to certify, educate, advocate and promote organic food. The Program Assistant (PA) supports the CCOF Policy Department and the CCOF Foundation. For the Policy Director, the PA provides administrative support and coordinates communications and grassroots advocacy support. The PA reports to the Policy Director (20 hours a week) and Foundation Development Manager (20 hours a week). Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Applicants should submit the following: Cover letter summarizing interest in CCOF and the position, qualifications and compensation requirements, current resume, list of three professional references, and a writing sample (800 word maximum). 

Global Student Embassy (GSE) is seeking International Trip Leaders to help facilitate service-learning exchange programs in Ecuador. GSE conducts action education programs to cultivate growth in young leaders in California, Ecuador and Nicaragua. International Trip Leaders will facilitate groups of university and high school students, while strengthening partnerships with GSE staff, partner schools, local organizations and surrounding communities. Build your resume and further develop your skills in managing international exchange programs. Applicants must be proficient in Spanish (you will be working at a high level in Spanish and English on a daily basis - part of the interview process will be conducted in conversational Spanish). Exchange programs run December 2014 – June 2015 (3-7 month commitment). During this entire period you will be located in Bahía de Caráquez, Ecuador. Qualified applicants should email a cover letter, resume, and list of 3 current references to (Annah Young at For more information, click here

Sprout Up provides free, youth-led environmental education programs to 1st and 2nd grade classrooms in Santa Cruz. Their college student-instructors teach children vital concepts in environmental science and sustainability during the earliest stages of their educational development, cultivating the next generation of passionate caretakers of the earth. Through activities, experiments, and discussions, they get kids thinking in new ways about the world that surrounds them, inspiring them to bring the message of environmental stewardship home to their families and friends. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact them at directorsc [at] sprout up [dot] org, and feel free to visit their website at

Get Involved with Integrated Climate & Energy Study
Interested in climate and energy sustainability? Want to get hands-on experience exploring these topics in relation to our campus? Chrissy Thomure, Climate Action Manager in the Sustainability Office, is coordinating an Integrated Climate & Energy Study with key stakeholders and a consultant. The study launches this year, and students are encouraged to participate! Email Chrissy at cthomure [at] ucsc [dot] edu to find out more.

Want to get your hands dirty and enjoy this sunny weather? Volunteer for the first PICA garden workday of the quarter on Saturday, October 18 from 10 AM - 2 PM. Everyone is invited and a free garden grown lunch will be served. They will be planting veggie starts, digging garden beds, making compost and harvesting from the garden. Come learn about where your food comes from! Meet at the entrance to the A-quad by the Village at UCSC. Check out this website for more information.

Arboretum Volunteer Gardening Opportunities
The Arboretum also has volunteer gardening hours throughout the week! Visit their website for details.

Volunteer for Sea Slugs!

Sea Slugs is a UCSC student-based organization built around environmental activism and community evolvement. The organization has ties with many local organizations including the Save the Waves Coalition and the Surfrider Foundation. For information about meeting times or any other oceanic shenanigans, contact Sea Slugs at seaslug.ucsc [at] gmail [dot] com or visit their website.

Want to join Green Ways to School as a volunteer for local middle school Bike Club rides? They are seeking dedicated interns who are available Wednesdays from 1 - 3 PM. Below are some of their upcoming activities:
  • Mountain Bike at DeLaveaga or Emma McCrary trails
  • Visit HUB/Bike Church
  • Cyclocross Ride
  • Intro to Bike Polo
  • and more to be determined!
If you're interested in volunteering, please email Tawn at cyclerevolution [at] gmail [dot] com.

Come by the beautiful Stevenson Garden from 1-2 PM on Fridays to help plant seeds, harvest, and have fun in the sun!

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 scasey [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

November 2014: Contests & Funding

Apply for the Carbon Fund by November 14
Have an idea for a project that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions at UCSC? The Carbon Fund provides grants to UCSC greenhouse gas-reducing projects! Abstract applications are due on November 14, 2014 by 11:59 PM. Visit the website for more information about how to apply!

Campus Conservation Nationals Registration Deadline - November 7
Registration is now open for Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN), the world’s largest energy and water reduction competition for colleges and universities. Now in its fifth year, CCN is hosted by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, Lucid, National Wildlife Federation, and the Alliance to Save Energy. It’s an unparalleled opportunity to foster a culture of conservation on your campus; save energy and water; enable students to develop leadership, community organizing, and career development skills; and become part of the CCN legacy (during CCN 2014, 109 schools saved enough electricity to take 201 homes off the grid for a year!) The CCN team will support you all the way with training webinars, how-to guides, and templates. Your school will also get its very own Building Dashboard website to communicate competition standings to your community. Register for CCN today or find out more information at Questions? E-mail ccn [at] comptetoreduce [dot] org. Registration closes November 7th, so don’t delay!
Call For Submissions: Sustainability Teaching Activities - Deadline January 20
Submissions are now being accepted for the peer-reviewed and edited book Learner-Centered Teaching Activities for Environmental and Sustainability Studies. Instructors are invited to submit descriptions of novel, easy to implement and engaging in-class activities. To be considered for publication, contributions must be submitted by January 20, 2015. For more information check out the following website:

Got a Big Idea? Receive Funding and Support - Deadline November 13
The 2014-2015 Big Ideas@Berkeley contest has launched with new categories and expanded eligibility to include graduate and undergraduate students across the entire UC system. This year there are four Big Ideas categories open to matriculated students from all 10 UC campuses: Food System Innovations, Global Health, Mobiles For Reading, IT for Society. Big Ideas is an annual student innovation contest aimed at providing funding, support, and encouragement to interdisciplinary teams of students who have creative solutions to important social challenges. Since its founding in 2006, Big Ideas has inspired innovative and high-impact student-led projects aimed at solving problems that matter to this generation. Up to $300,000 in prizes available to students with innovative ideas to improve society... So put on your thinking caps, break out your big ideas and do not miss this opportunity to have the support you need to get started!

Real Food Media Contest - Deadline January 5
Multimedia video submissions are now being accepted for the Real Food Media Contest. These videos should be between 30 seconds and 4 minutes, showcasing sustainable food and farming. The vides should feature underreported issues, innovative sustainability strategies, and compelling stories of food producers and workers. Make your submission by January 5, 2015. For more information, please visit the website.

Apply for the Campus Safety Health and Environmental Management Scholarship
CSHEMA is sponsoring the Scholarship Award Program to encourage the study of environmental and occupational health and safety. Currently, one $2,000 scholarship is awarded anually along with paid registration to attend the annual CSHEMA Conference. To be considered for the award, students must meet the following requirements: 1) submit an official transcript, 2) complete application form, 3) write and submit an essay. These items must be delivered in a sealed envelope with university seal and mailed by March 31, 2014. For more information contact April Anstey.

Call for Student Sustainability Leaders: C2C Fellows Network Training (December 5-7)
C2C workshops are for current students and recent graduates who want high-impact careers that can change the future through NGO's and government, and in sustainable business. Join C2C to learn the leadership skills necessary to succeed: how to develop a vision; know what you’re good at; tell your story; raise money; and build your network. The cost of the weekend trainings, including food and lodging, is $30. Graduates of these workshops are eligible for scholarships to become funded graduate students at Bard's Center for Environmental Policy and Bard's new MBA in Sustainability. Read more about the benefits of joining the growing national network of over 500 C2C Fellows here. Students aspiring to sustainability leadership in policy, politics and business should apply now to join student leaders from across the country. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and only 60 participants will be accepted into each workshop.

Women's Bike Mechanic Scholarship - Deadline November 15
SRAM, Liv, QBP, United Bicycle Institute (UBI), Pedro’s and Park Tool have joined together to offer ten scholarships for women bike mechanics to attend UBI. This scholarship is dedicated to getting more women on bikes and supporting the development of female mechanics. This opportunity is open to aspiring or experienced bike mechanics and women that would like to increase their technical knowledge to further their career in the bike industry. This scholarship will cover the 2-week Professional Shop Repair and Operations class. Additional support is provided by Nuu-Muu and the Outdoor Industries Women's Coalition (OIWC). This open call for applications began October 20 and will close November 15. Scholarship winners will be notified via email by December 19. Apply for this scholarship!

Call for Papers - Special Issue: Campus Sustainability & Social Sciences Universities and colleges have been among the leading places where sustainability is promoted on campus and beyond. The social sciences can offer a variety of valuable insights into how to enhance a broad range of these efforts at higher education institutions: from supporting recycling, waste reduction, water and energy conservation, renewable energy and alternative transportation use, sustainable food procurement, and green building construction to fostering a sustainability culture. This special issue aims to present contemporary, state-of-the-art applications of how social science theories, models, and findings can help overcome campus sustainability challenges – and – to illustrate the diversity of social science campus sustainability research conducted across the world. Papers are sought from a range of social sciences including but not limited to anthropology, communication, economics, education, geography, psychology, political science, and sociology. Interdisciplinary social science contributions are welcome as well.
Information and Instructions for submissions:
Prospective authors should submit an abstract of around 500 words, outlining the proposed manuscript, directly to the guest editor (zintmich[at]umich[dot]edu) by 15th November 2014. Registration and access is available at: Author guidelines must be followed and can be found on the journal web site at:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

November 2014 Green Tip: Sustainable Fall

Holiday season is creeping up quickly and here are some tips to make your holidays more sustainable!

Are you ready for Thanksgiving?

Invest in certified humane turkey, visit your local farmers market for organic cranberries, sweet potatoes and other fresh veggies.
While preparing your delicious meals collect food scraps before and after and start a compost at your home.

Do you know how you are getting home?  
Ride-sharing is a great way to get home without using a personal car, saving you money and reducing your pollution. Zimride is a website that posts rides for UCSC students, and all you have to do is pitch in for gas! If you have a car you can post your ride and Zimride can help you get people to pitch in for gas. It's a great way for travelers to reduce their carbon footprint. Zimride is available throughout the year so it can be helpful when going home for a weekend.

Are you trying to get to Los Angeles/Orange County? The UCSC Recreation Department is offering an LA Turkey Express bus for Thanksgiving that leaves Wednesday, November 26 at noon and returns Sunday, November, 30th. There is also an LA Polar Express that leaves on Thursday, December 18 at noon and returns Sunday, January 4.

Another great resource for heading up to San Jose (where there's a train station and airport that can take you elsewhere) is the 17 Express. This bus leaves from the local metro station in Santa Cruz. For only 5 dollars you can ride to San Jose.

Supporting Carbon Neutrality By 2025!

I’m Ariel Lee, and I’m a 4th year Environmental Studies major. Near the end of my 2nd year at UCSC, I realized that I hadn’t taken advantage of the opportunities on campus to get involved. I knew I wanted to make a difference, but I couldn’t pinpoint just one specific environmental issue that I was passionate about. I joined the Student Environmental Center, a student-run sustainability organization where learned more outreach and leadership skills than I knew what to do with! This year, I am the Carbon Fund outreach coordinator at the Sustainability Office. I became inspired to dabble in outreach when I began to notice that some of my closest friends weren’t wary of local and global environmental issues. I wanted to spread awareness. My family requested a smaller trash can from the city (Sacramento) years ago. We’ve always recycled. We reuse. We have a bin in the kitchen sink that catches extra water and use it to water plants. My dad even makes sure our water heater is on low to keep our hot showers short. I’m out of there ASAP! I don’t remember a time in my life when my family didn’t instill these simple habits in the house. With that said, I’m enjoying my time with the Carbon Fund, and I can’t wait to see all the greenhouse gas-reducing projects that we fund this year!

If you’re interesting in applying for a grant, come to our info session in the College Eight Red Room from 4-6 pm on Thursday, October 23. Here’s to an inspiring year! 

View our website here.