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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

March 2015 Green Tip: Go Green For Your Spring Clean

It's just about time to open your windows and let in the fresh spring air. These green spring cleaning tips will help you shoo off cobwebs and sweep up dust bunnies without the guilt of using harsh chemicals contributing to the landfill.

Green Cleaning Products: According to the EPA, the air inside of a home is two to five times more polluted than the air outside, mainly because of household cleaners and pesticides. Many common cleaning products can be made from nontoxic ingredients that you already have in your home and work just as well. Making your own cleaning solutions will also help reduce the amount of plastic packaging you buy. Check out this nontoxic solutions site for ideas and recipes.

Trash to treasure: When going through your old notes, don't just toss them in the closest trash bin, save the unused paper and use them for scratch paper and recycle the others.

If you have unwanted and slightly worn clothes, you can donate or sell them. Santa Cruz GOODWILL and the Homeless Service Center are always accepting donations. Also, UCSC has several Facebook groups where you can sell your unwanted items. Check out and join the Free & For Sell and Clothing and Accessories Exchange Facebook groups.

End the Cycle: You can save water and energy by washing full loads of laundry with cold water.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

First Annual Campus Clean Up Day

The Student Union Assembly and the Sustainability Office's Zero Waste Team have teamed up to coordinate the First Annual Campus Clean-Up Day on April 25! The vision for this event is to bring students and campus users together to clean up our beautiful campus and shed light on littering issues and improper cigarette butt disposal. We hope to create an event that motivates campus users to properly dispose of waste and encourages campus stewardship.

To make this a event a huge success, we would like to collaborate with as many student organizations as possible! If you are interested in being part of the planning sub-committees, helping with outreach, or simply want more details about the event please attend our Campus Cleanup Stakeholders Forum on Monday March 2nd in the SUA Office.

The sub-committees will be broken down as follows:
Food: Determines and acquires food/snacks that will be distributed throughout the event.
Entertainment/Activities: Develops and plans for activities/entertainment that will be held during the event.
Mapping & Facilitation: Creates and designates clean up zones and assists with recruiting clean-up facilitators for each college/region.
Supplies: Assists with acquiring, distributing and tracking clean-up supplies to all colleges.
Outreach: Focuses on promoting event and encouraging student, staff and faculty participation.
Waste Education: Works with the Zero Waste Team on waste education trainings for college clean-up facilitators.

Again, if you are interested in getting involved in the sub-committees or just want more details about the event come to our meeting on Monday March 2nd in the SUA Office overlooking Quarry Plaza. Pizza will be provided.

Lets make this event a success and clean-up our beautiful campus!  Please contact Sammy Astrachan at sastrach [at] ucsc [dot] edu to get involved.

Monday, February 23, 2015

"Phantom trips" Hamper Low-Carbon Communities

UCSC's Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Adam Millard-Ball's latest article examines how standard practices in urban planning and traffic engineering cater to phantom trips that never materialize, and hamper efforts to create walkable, low-carbon communities. See the video below and read the coverage of the article at The Atlantic's CityLab.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Global Food Initiative and UCSC FSWG

The University of California is harnessing its resources to address one of the critical issues of our time: how to sustainably and nutritiously feed a world population expected to reach 8 billion by 2025. Announced by President Napolitano in 2014, all UCs are contributing to the Global Food Initiative goals of:
  • Working together across the UC system to create solutions that improve food security, health, and sustainability throughout California, the U.S., and the world 
  • Identifying best practices to address food needs and create toolkits to share locally and globally 
  • Using the latest UC research to help communities access healthy, sustainable food 
  • Applying UC expertise to shape and drive food policy discussions 
Here at UCSC, we are the leading university in sustainable food -- so much so that we doubled our 2020 challenge of real food, from 20% to 40% after reaching the systemwide goal in 2012. To gain a better understanding of where the food movement on campus is headed, Alyssa Billys, a Global Food Initiative Fellow from the Food Systems Working Group (FSWG) sat down to give us an update, including ways to get involved, what she's been involved with, and what’s up with the Global Food Initiative. 

FSWG is a food justice organization on campus that works directly with the Farm and Dining. One way to get involved is participating with the Food System Learning Journeys offered four times a quarter through the Recreational Department. Just last week, one of the journeys visited a vineyard started by an alum from the Apprentice Program at the CASFS Farm where all workers are given sustainable wages of $15 an hour. The learning journeys also offer workshops with organizations like Program in Community & Agroecology (PICA) and the Demeter Library to connect the community with a hands-on understanding of our food systems. The main goal of these Food System Learning Journeys is to facilitate conversation around food while eating food to gain an awareness and understanding of what you are eating.

The Farm to Dining project aims to connect all the Dining Hall needs with the Farm so that the Farm can grow the exact poundage that Dining needs. This is the main purpose of the new Quarry plot field at CASFS. Alyssa has been the liaison to connect the Farm and Dining with Daryl Wong, the Farm Site and Research Lands Manager.

Additionally, an impressive $800,000 from UC Office of the President has also been distributed to all UCs to revamp and re-establish the Food Pantries, which are places for low-income students and students who rely on financial aid to purchase fresh food, canned food, and pick up food stamps. Our Food Pantry at UCSC is found at Family Student Housing.

“I think some people almost feel ashamed to purchase food from the Food Pantry but it’s not something that should be like that, where all university students are paying an astronomical amount of money to go to school here and over 50% of students skip a meal to save money. So how do we make it so our students aren’t hungry? So they have access to food and it’s healthy?”
 -- Alyssa Billys

To promote these opportunities, Alyssa, Damian Parr, CASFS Research and Education Coordinator, Jim Clark, CASFS videographer, and Brandon Blackburn, CASFS photographer, are currently working on experiential learning videos about internships and classes on the Farm as well as the Apprenticeship Program. To make these films possible, UCSC received a portion of $150,000 from UCOP; the money is split between all UCs for the production experiential learning videos. They are now filming!

An Agroecological Catalog is also being made to combine the knowledge of agriculture across all UCs to provide an accessible way to obtain research, project plans, and ideas systemwide about our food systems. Right now, Alyssa and Katie Monsen are working on the parameters of what the catalog should cover.

“For the Global Food Initiative, we should be looking out for how to get more students involved. This is an on-going process for the next 5-7 years. What other students want to get involved? It's a chance to be a part of the money transactions, be able to monitor how things are being used--it's not just faculty doing it but students empowering other students.” 
-- Alyssa Billys

The best way to connect with FSWG and the work they’re doing is to email ucscfswg [at] gmail [dot] com and express interest in wanting engage in the conversation and play a role in the Global Food Initiative.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Environmental Justice Undergraduate Field Experiences in the Amazon

Chris Kane is an undergraduate student at UCSC and Team Coordinator for the Zero Waste Team in the Sustainability Office. Over the summer, he participated in a field study abroad with Dr. Flora Lu, a professor of Environmental Studies and Provost of Colleges 9 & 10 at UCSC. Her research focuses on "social, political, and environmental effects of extractive industries on communities of the Ecuadorian Amazon and on the lives of its residents." Chris went to Ecuador last summer to join Dr. Lu in the field conducting research.

Click on this link to read about Chris' experiences with the Waorani tribes in Ecuador, who no longer have access to clean water and whose culture has been disappearing due to the ever-expanding oil industrial facilities.

Oakes Provost's House Retrofit

The following report is by Robert Jones, a member of the PowerSave Campus team as well as the Carbon Fund Student Facilitator within the Sustainability Office. The PowerSave Team retrofitted the Oakes Provost's House by replacing old, inefficient lightbulbs with new LED lights. 

"My team and I finished up the LED retrofit at the Oakes Provost house last week, and I, for one, am very happy with the results! The process of the retrofit didn’t go without a small hiccup, as expected with any project, but was nonetheless completed in only a couple of hours. Lesson learned; playing with light fixtures can cause faulty wires to trip the circuit breaker. If you’re going to work with lamps and electronics, make sure to be safe!

We ended up replacing a mixture of 17 fluorescents and incandescents with more efficient LEDs. The total expected savings over the LED’s lifetime is about 4,700 kWh. This is equivalent to saving about 1 ton of CO2 from going into the atmosphere. I highly recommend taking advantage of the simplicity and practicality of an LED retrofit. Minimal planning, installation time, and experience required to accomplish a LED retrofit make it one of the most effective ways to reduce energy consumption in a residential building.

As I look back on my experience working with Regina at her residence, the Oakes Provost house, I realize I have learned a lot. I will use what I’ve learned for future retrofits at other Provost residence homes, I hope! I now know what exactly to tell the Provosts what to expect in terms of timing, logistics, and how the actual retrofit will work. I’m looking forward to speaking with other UCSC Provosts that have homes on campus to see if they will be interested in having our team complete a retrofit at their home!"

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

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

U Saskatchewan Student Helps Deal With Costly Research Byproduct 
A Sustainability Living Lab project, a biological engineering student is investigating a system to process manure from the campus' Dairy Research and Teaching Farm into a product that can be kept on campus or one that is cheaper to have discarded. Currently the university spends $65,000 annually for the manure to be hauled away. Here at UCSC, we have many places on campus that serve to create a living laboratory where students can become involved in hands-on work like this.

Colorado Mountain College Holds Art Exhibit
In an effort to raise awareness for sustainability, an inaugural college-wide art exhibit at Colorado Mountain College showcased work that was either created with sustainable materials or with content reflecting the theme of sustainability. How can the UCSC Art and Environmental Studies Departments collaborate on projects like this here?

Southern Oregon U Partners to Reduce Student Mileage
Part of a statewide "Drive Less. Save More." campaign, the university is working with the Oregon Department of Transportation and a district authority to reduce the number of miles driven by university students by providing information to students about the benefits of traveling by foot, bike, skateboard, bus and shared car. The program's goals are to to reduce traffic, increase parking availability on campus, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Wesleyan U Students to Build Living Wall 
The university’s Wild Walls student group recently announced its plans to build a vertical plant wall on campus this semester focusing on redesigning conventional campus landscaping while promoting self-sustaining ecosystems.

Stanford Recycle-Mania Tournament
Students at Stanford University created a parody video of All About the Bass called All About No Waste as part of a nationwide Recycle Mania Tournament. It's catchy and educational about zero waste efforts!

March 2015 Sustainability Profile: Caitlin Jetter

Each month, our newsletter features a person or group on campus that is working toward a more sustainable world. This month features Caitlin Jetter, UCSC alumna and former Zero Waste Team member in the Sustainability Office, who now works at the Watershed Stewards Program.

I attended UCSC all four years, I was associated with Stevenson College, I majored in Environmental Studies and minored in Politics, and I graduated in June 2014.

How were you involved with sustainability at UCSC?

I was directly involved with sustainability at UCSC in my work with the Zero Waste and Green Labs teams. Two of the larger projects I helped coordinate were the Campus Waste Assessment/Report and the Kimberly-Clark Glove Recycling Program. I was also involved with the Stevenson Student Council, which could lend a hand in supporting student-lead sustainability projects or events.

Did you have a favorite sustainability moment at UCSC?
A favorite moment was the first time I checked one of my Kimberly-Clark Recycling boxes and found a bunch of correctly disposed gloves! That may sound lame but it really meant a lot after all the time putting the program in place. Also, all the moments I got to spend with my zero waste teammates could be labeled my favorite. You can't sort trash without these fantastic individuals!

What are you doing now?
Right now I'm working for the Watershed Stewards Program. The program's goal is to conserve, restore, and enhance anadromous watersheds by linking education with scientific field practices. I'm stationed in Fresno where I have been working with the local Conservation Trust and Dept. of Fish and Wildlife to improve the habitat and study the Chinook salmon which used to run the full extent of the San Joaquin River. The position has been a great experience and I've already learned so much!

Did your sustainability experiences at UCSC prepare you for life after college?
Definitely! Being part of the Sustainability Office was one of the best experiences that prepared me for work after college. I learned so much about outreach, education, project management, and coordination. And I must say the zero waste team offered a special set of skills, in that I've never been so prepared to get dirty and handle the smelly (which happens more often than not in my current position!) Overall, I will always remember the amazing people and time spent with sustainability at UCSC.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

March 2015: Internships, Employment & Volunteering


Are you interested in working to make our campus operations, infrastructure, and physical environment more environmentally and socially sustainable? The PSI program is a great way to get involved! We pair students with staff mentors to plan and implement a year-long campus sustainability project. Students receive internship credit for the fall, winter, and spring quarters and a $1500 scholarship upon completion of the program. Environmental Studies Senior Exit can be fulfilled with this program. Student applications are due April 28th. Mentor applications for departments to host an intern are due April 10. Share this opportunity on Facebook here.

Want to help plan and implement the second Annual Transportation & Social Justice Festival this spring? Interested in promoting sustainable and active transportation at UCSC? The Student Environmental Center Transportation Campaign is seeking 2- and 5-units interns for spring. Contact Jordan Le at jsle [at] ucsc [dot] edu for more information. Learn more about the Campaign on the SEC website.

Get internship credit to promote sustainable, active, community-building, awesome parties--Santa Cruz Bike Party! Held on the second Friday of each month, Bike Party creates a safe and cooperative roadway environment for all road users. Riding together builds strong community! If you're interested in getting Environmental Studies internship credit to support this community event, please email Tawn at tawn.kennedy [at] gmail [dot] com. Visit the website here.

UC Santa Cruz Bike Library Seeking Intern 
Did you know we have a bike library at UCSC? Are you looking to earn 2-units through a hands-on, biketastic internship? Look no further than the UCSC Bike Library. Contact bikelibrary [at] ucsc [dot] edu to apply and for more information. 

The Environmental Studies has many different internship opportunities available for spring. These 2 and 5-unit internships are open to all majors. Review some of the internships and learn how to apply on the Environmental Studies website here. Contact Chris Krohn for more information and additional internship listings at ckrohn [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

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!

Student Seeking Successor to Carry On Renewable Energy Project
Interested in increasing student awareness about renewable energy and looking to complete a graduation requirement? A UCSC student is graduating and looking for a motivated, responsible, and environmentally engaged individual to take over her project, which consists of grant writing for various projects, including a recharging solar station on the UCSC campus. The project continues through 2016. Please contact Jazmin Orozco, at jorozco3 [at] uscsc [dot] edu for more information.

Santa Cruz Fruit Tree Project Seeking Interns
Santa Cruz Fruit Tree Project are seeking interns to help plan community harvest events, as well as organizing other aspects of operations. For more information, visit Fruit Tree Projects website here and contact Steve at steve [at] santacruzhub [dot] org.

Internship Interviewing Farmers about Climate Change
Interested in the impact that climate change is having on crops and other aspects of our local community? Contact Roland Saher if you're interested in obtaining internship credit to explore this topic by emailing rolandsaher [at] gmail [dot] com.

Writers & Social Media Interns Wanted for Hilltromper
Hilltromper, the one-stop outdoor recreation web resource for Santa Cruz County, is looking for an intern to help run the calendar, write about recreation and the environment and contribute to social media. Tromping strongly encouraged! If interested, please email Traci [at] hilltromper [dot] com.

Become a Santa Cruz Sierra Club Intern
Want to be informed about issues and decisions about Santa Cruz county? Want to explore, enjoy and protect the environment- all for academic credit? The Santa Cruz Sierra Club is seeking interns for spring 2015 through the Environmental Studies department. Positions are open to all majors. Email Melissa Ott at [at] sierraclub [dot] org, or visit the websiteFacebook, and MeetUp page for more information.

PowerSave Campus Seeking Interns
UCSC PowerSave Campus is hiring for-credit interns! Looking for two units and an opportunity to learn energy efficiency awesomeness through hands-on work? Need a course that covers the PR general education requirement? If so, this internship is for you! Send a resume to powersave [at] googlegroups [dot] com with you interest. Space is limited, so apply now!

Green Drinks Seeking Coordination Support
Green Drinks is an informal networking event where environmentally-minded people meet over drunks. Green Drinks are seeking coordination support and aims to better serve the Santa Cruz community. Contact hannahjoyhodgson [at] gmail [dot] if you are interested. For more information, visit the Green Drinks website.

Coastal Watershed Council Internships Available
The Coastal Watershed Council (CWC) has many great internship opportunities to learn about local watersheds, build your resume, and contribute to cleaner, healthier watersheds in Santa Cruz. They're looking for motivated college and high school students. For more information, call (831) 464-9200 and view a full list of internship opportunities here.

The Offset Project, located in Monterey, California, works to implement sound waste policies and environmental stewardship, is seeking a Sustainability Program Intern. The intern would start immediately and must commit to a minimum of 6 months and 5-10 hours per work for credit (unpaid). If you are interested, please e-mail a resume and cover letter to Kristin: kristin [at] the offsetproject [dot] org

CSSC Field Organizer Program Internships Available
The California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC) Field Organizer Program is a series of paid, unpaid volunteer, and unpaid course credit positions that allow students and recent alumni to get real, on-the-ground organizing experience in the climate justice movement. For more information and to apply, visit the website.

myActions on Campus has recognized UC Santa Cruz's commitment to develop next generation leaders and is inviting 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.


Transportation & Parking Services is currently looking for two marketing interns to help promote this year’s Walk To Class Challenge, taking place on April 28! The Walk to Class Challenge is a student-led, campus-wide movement to lessen our dependency on fossil fuels through the most primal form of human-powered transportation--walking! Marketing interns will support the event coordinator in managing social media outlets, tabling, outreach, and helping the day of the event. Position is from March-early May, 3-5 hours/week, with a stipend of $250. Contact Laura Gracia at lgracia [at] ucsc [dot] edu to apply. Applications (available here) will be accepted through March 6.

California Student Sustainability Coalition is seeking someone to support and provide guidance to divestment campaigns on campuses across the state of California, help cultivate new student leaders, engage with coalition partners, and support CSSC’s internal functions and development. This position is hired at 32 hours/week. The Campaign Director’s position may work remotely (within the state of California), requires ability and willingness to travel for work, maintain active communication via conference calls and emails, and have a strong aptitude for time management and self-discipline. If interested, please view the job description for more information on the position. Applicants should email (1) a résumé, (2) a cover letter expressing interest, and (3) 2-3 references to the CSSC Board of Directors Chair, Lauren Jabusch at lauren[at]sustainabilitycoalition[dot]org. Questions regarding the position and application may also be submitted to Lauren. Materials must be received by Friday, March 27th by 5PM.


Call for Students! Conduct Free Local Business Energy Audits
Interested in greening offices and energy conservation? The Green Impact Campaign is a national student-powered movement working to raise awareness of energy consumption. Become part of the movement today and join Green Impact Campaign, here.

Volunteer or lead a workshop at the SEC's 14th annual Campus Earth Summit Event on Friday, April 24th in the College 9/10 Multipurpose room. There will be fresh local food, tabling, keynote speakers, student art, entertainment and much more. To lead a workshop or contribute to the art gallery, contact Tatiane gefter at tgefter [at] ucsc [dot] edu. To table or volunteer, contact Lucia Calderon at lecalder [at] ucsc [dot] edu. Visit the Facebook event here.

Sprout Up Environmental Education Opportunity 
Sprout Up Santa Cruz is seeking college student-instructors instructors to deliver free environmental education to 1st and 2nd graders in the Santa Cruz community, cultivating the next generation of passionate caretakers of the earth. Commitment is maximum 3 hours/week for 8 weeks, by UCSC academic quarter. For more information, please contact directorsc[at]sproutup[dot]org, and visit their website at Drop in info session will be held Tuesday 3/3 12pm-3pm at the Thimann Greenhouses (top floor of Thimann Labs)!

The Bike Church Community Repair Shop Seeking Volunteers
Have a knack for cycling, biking and learning to maintain bikes? Interested in learning to divert bike parts from the waste stream? Then this is the opportunity for you! Click here for more information. 

Green Building Student Alliance
Have you ever wondered what goes into making a building energy, water, and waste efficient? How can UCSC support sustainability in building designs and retrofits? Tatiana Gefter (Green Building Campaign Coordinator for the Student Environmental Center), Grant Waldron (Provost's Sustainability Intern for Climate Action), and other students are collaborating to create a Green Building Student Alliance. This group will serve as a student advising resource to campus architects and project managers with a goal of increasing student participation in campus infrastructure design to keep the environment in mind. Email Tatiana at tgefter[at]ucsc[dot]edu for more information and to join!

Support Campus Clean-Up Day April 25
The Student Union Assembly and the Sustainability Office's Zero Waste Team are teaming up to coordinate the First Annual Campus Clean-Up Day on April 25th! They hope to create an event that motivates campus users to properly dispose of waste and encourages campus stewardship. Contact Christian at cmonzon [at] ucsc [dot] edu for more information.

Help Plan a 50th Anniversary Sustainability Film Festival
Do you have a love for organization and planning? Interested in sustainability and have a passion for cinema? Then this is the opportunity for you! Join the Sustainability Office in planning a Sustainability themed Film Festival in celebration of UCSC's 50th Anniversary! To partake or for more information, email Meghan Neureither at mneureit [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

Join Central Zone Waste Reduction Team for Conservation Carnival 
The Central Zone Waste Reduction team is planning an on-campus event with games, crafts, music and prizes all focused around water conservation and sustainable living practices and are searching for volunteers to help with the event. The event will take place on Saturday, April 18th time TBA. If you are interested stay tuned for more information or contact Madeline Halluin at mhalluin [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

College 8 Earth Week Facilitation Opportunity
Interested in facilitating an event? College Eight Earth Week planners are looking to collaborate with various organizations for Earth Week 2015, the week of April 22. This year's theme is "Your Plate: The effect your food choices have on you and the world around you." Contact Derek Dean at drdean [at] ucsc [dot] edu for more information.

Global Student Embassy Seeking Garden Leader
Global Student Embassy (GSE) Santa Cruz initiates and runs several high school garden projects here in Santa Cruz county. Would you or someone you know be interested in engaging in GSE projects as a core team member? A commitment would involve some combination of meeting one to two times/month, planning for community workdays, leading after school workdays, and facilitating discussion-based workshops. Contact Wyeth Wunderlich at wyeth [at] globalstudent embassy [dot] org to participate in this awesome program.

The UC Global Food Initiative aims to address global issues in the food system. All 10 UCs are working collectively towards this effort to support sustainable agriculture, healthy eating, and food security. UCSC is playing a critical role in this effort with the support of the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. Join a subcommittee and get involved by contacting ucscfswg [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

Become a Student Blogger for CSSC
Interested in sharing your campus' work with a broad statewide coalition? CSSC is currently seeking new student bloggers! Email info [at] sustainabilitycoalition [dot] org for more details. Learn more about CSSC on the blog here.

Community Engagement with San Lorenzo River Alliance
Help the San Lorenzo River Alliance have more positive attention on and more positive engagement with the San Lorenzo River by signing up to be a community engagement volunteer. To learn more or volunteer, email Laurie Egan at legan [at] coastal-watershed [dot] org. Learn more here.

Teach K-12 Watershed Conservation Lessons
Council Watershed Council presents lessons to K-12 grade students at public schools throughout the county. Volunteer to present lessons on the link between watersheds and our water supply, recycling and composting, water pollution prevention, how to pack a trash free lunch, wise energy use, and many other topics related to climate change and wise resource use. To learn more and sign up, email Stew Jenkins at sjenkins [at] coastal-watershed [dot] org or call him at (831) 464-9200. Learn more here.

Carneros Creek Winter Monitoring
Want to gain field experience in beautiful wetland areas? Volunteer with the Carneros Creek Water Quality Monitoring Program to help monitor seasonal Carneros Creek, a primary freshwater tributary to Elkhorn Slough. You'll be professionally trained to test for field measurements and flow, including how to collect water samples that will be analyzed at a certified lab for bacteria, nutrients, total suspended solids, and pesticides. Contact Debie Chirco-Macdonald at djchirco [at] coastal-watershed [dot] org or (831) 464-9200 to get involved. Learn more here.

Volunteers Sought for March for Climate Leadership: February 7
On February 7, thousands of Californians are gathering in Governor Jerry Brown’s longtime home of Oakland to say that we need real climate leadership in the face of the drought. Across the state wells are drying up, more than a dozen cities are in real danger of running out of water, and there’s no question it’s being made worse by climate change. Volunteers are needed to make the march happen, so volunteer online here. Find out more about the March and how you can participate here.

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

Sea Slugs is an ocean-minded campus organization dedicated to environmental stewardship. It is an excellent opportunity for students (both undergrad and grad) to engage in the greater community through public service while making a positive impact on the local environment. For information about meeting times and opportunities, contact Sea Slugs at seaslug.ucsc [at] gmail [dot] com or visit their website.

Join Banana Slugs for Animals
Banana Slugs for Animals welcomes all to their weekly meetings. During the meetings they discuss Animal rights and plan events! They will be having a film screening of "Earthlings" (Date and time TBD). If you would like to know more please email slugsforanimals [at] gmail [dot] com. 
Want to get your hands dirty and nurture the plants in our campus gardens? Visit the calendar to find out when garden work days are happening here.

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 information.

March 2015: Contests & Funding

Contribute your art to Everybody's Ocean: Deadline April 26
Right now, there are 158 pieces of art in the 2nd Floor Solari Gallery. Every piece is about the ocean. They're from all kinds of people around Santa Cruz. And we want more of it. You’re invited to submit work that depicts the ocean or represents whatever it means to you. This exhibition explores our relationship with the sea. There will be a diverse set of work by local artists, regional artists, and you. Email curator[at]santacruzmah[dot]org to have your art in the show. Click here for details about how to submit.

International Film Festival: Deadline May 4
The International Film Festival for Environment, Health and Culture is accepting submissions for films pertaining to environment, health and culture issues. There are five submission categories: international feature film, international short film, documentary feature, documentary short and newcomer. The film festival will be held on May 27.

Call for Applications: Awards in Solar Energy Research: Deadline May 7
The U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Postdoctoral Research Awards support EERE's mission in energy efficiency and renewable energy by offering recent Ph.D. recipients the opportunity to conduct applied research at universities. The objective of the awards is to support scientific research in energy efficiency and renewable energy by attracting the best scientists and engineers to pursue breakthrough technologies in a highly prestigious postdoctoral research program. Deadline to apply is May 7.

Biomimicry Global Design Challenge: Deadline August 3
The Biomimicry Institute and the Ray C. Anderson Foundation announced the opening of the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge. Students are invited to submit commercially viable, nature-inspired solutions to global food system challenges. All participants get access to the Design Challenge Toolbox and supporting resources, including sessions with mentors and biomimicry professionals. The grand prize, to be awarded in 2016, is $100,000. The deadline for submissions is August 3rd.

Energy Dept $2.5M for Collegiate Clean Energy Tech: Deadline June 7
The newly announced $2.5 million in funding for the Cleantech University Prize (Cleantech UP) aims to support the commercialization of promising technologies for sectors such as solar and wind that reduce carbon pollution and grow the clean energy economy. The Cleantech UP Collegiate Competitions will provide prizes for eight individual university-focused competitions that will equip students with business skills to move clean energy technologies from the discovery phase to the marketplace.

March 2015: Classes, Training, and Community

College 8 Garden Hours
College Eight provides a 1-unit class at the garden every quarter, in which student learn about soil, composting, food systems, and much more. The garden promotes sustainable agriculture and student involvement with the community. Situated by the College Eight dining hall, the garden provides a beautiful space for learning. Anyone is welcome to help with the garden during working hours! Please email the campaign coordinators Lisa Hall, lirhall [at] ucsc [dot] edu or Katrina Carr, kocarr [at] ucsc [dot] edu with any questions.

Earth Summit - Table or Lead a Workshop: April 24
The 14th annual Earth Summit will be an all day event celebrating sustainability on campus and in our community. Throughout the day there will be fresh local foods, informative and fun workshops, tabling, keynote speakers, student art, entertainment, and much more!  If you are interested in leading a workshop, contact Tatiana Gefter at tgefter [at] ucsc [dot] edu.  If you are interested in tabling, contact Lucia Calderon at lecalder [at] ucsc [dot] edu.


CA Farm to School Conference: May 4-6
Are you interest in the food that is in your dining halls and who it is provided by? Conference Theme: Connecting. Growing. Leading. "The California Farm to School Conference will offer a series of workshops, panels and discussions that will be of significant educational and networking value to attendees who will represent all facets of the farm to school movement, including farmers, distributors, government representatives, procurement officers, educators, and food program administrators." It will be taking place at Asilomar in Pacific Grove, CA from May 4th - 6th. If you want any further information on this conference please click here to access the website.

Education for Sustainable Living Program Spring Classes
Are you interested in social justice, food systems, renewable energy or any other Blueprint for a Sustainable Campus topics? Take the ESLP class for 2 or 5 units next quarter! Designed and led by undergraduate students. Go to to learn more about class offerings and how to enroll.

Agroecology, A Global Movement: Tracing Our Roots and Looking Forward
The 16th Annual Agroecology Shortcourse will explore the roots of agroecology as a global movement as well as a science and a practice from July 12-25, 2015. Santa Cruz offers the ideal context to examine historical and current issues of social and environmental equity and sustainability that agroecology movements confront all over the world. The course aims to introduce agroecology and strategically connect the diverse and powerful agroecology experiences and movements active worldwide and create a collective overarching view of the current global situation. The course will end with a vision of how to better facilitate cross-fertilization across agroecology movements and overcome obstacles to convergence. For more information, contact can.shortcourse [at] gmail [dot] com or visit the website.

This is heating up fast.

I'm not talking about climate change (directly). I’m talking about the debate around divestment from fossil fuels at universities and institutions around the world. Friday (2/13) was the first ever Global Divestment Day, calling on “climate leaders” to dump fossil fuels from their investments. I can’t sum up why divestment matters better than this Mean Girls-themed BuzzFeed article, or this prescient quote from the Australian coal lobby:


And the industry is noticing. Last week alone, there have been studies and articles and videos “debunking” divestment (funded by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, along with other pressure groups), while completely missing the real point of divestment: we aren’t trying to affect the stock price of BP, but divestment does go a long way towards delegitimizing and revoking the fossil fuel industry’s social license to operate. Just listen to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a leader in the Anti-Apartheid movement who knows a thing or two about making change:

At the University of California Santa Cruz, Fossil Free UC has been campaigning for years to get the university to ditch $3 billion dollars worth of fossil fuel investments and put the money into climate solutions. Chancellor Blumenthal wrote this blog post on our efforts to coincide with the GDD festivities!

And in celebration of the corrupt corporate relationships of our time, the University of California renewed their vows to the fossil fuel industry at a mock wedding in the College 8 Plaza. Video to come!

Monday, February 9, 2015

#POCsustainability's First Round Table Discussion

#POCsustainability is an awareness campaign through UCSC's Ethnic Resource Center that aims to showcase the contributions that people of color have made to the environmental movement. 

The #POCsustainability campaign will be hosting it's first world cafe style discussion on Wednesday, March 4th from 4-5:45pm in the Amah Mustun Conference Room. They are inviting students to join to discuss sustainability practices of their cultures and to have a critical dialogue about the current state of the campus environmental movement.

This is a great opportunity to learn how social and environmental justice are truly related through first-hand experiences.  It is also a place to share your personal experiences in a collaborative space.

Disappearance of Pikas Due to Climate Change

If you've been hiking around California's mountains, you might have noticed these furry little, bunny-like critters scurrying around.  Joseph Stewart, a graduate student at UCSC, says populations of pikas were most likely to go locally extinct at sites with high summer temperatures and low habitat area.  About 15% of researchers surveyed 67 locations with historical records of pikas and found that the animals have disappeared from ten of them.

These little animals are well-adapted to cold temperatures and high-elevations but these adaptions make them even more vulnerable to global warming.  Pikas play a big ecological role because they are prey to many species, such as owls and stoats, and they alter vegetation and soil composition through their foraging activities. 

University News reports, "If only modest action is taken to reign in greenhouse gas emissions, the model predicts that pikas will disappear from about 75 percent of sites by 2070 (51 to 88 percent, depending on the global climate model used). With aggressive action to reduce greenhouse gases, the model predicts that only about 51 percent of sites will suffer local extinction (39 to 79 percent, depending on the global climate model)." 

The disappearance of pikas is just another reflection of the reality of climate change and the ecological consequences of their extinction can easily alter other species and habitats.  As Banksy, a political graffiti artist, has said in one of his Twitter posts: "It's not just one tree that falls".  Every little part of our ecosystem affects the whole environment.

UCSC's Economics Department, Social Justice and Sustainability

University News reports, "Rob Fairlie, chair of the Economics Department at UC Santa Cruz, has been commended by the state legislature for service to California through his work to reduce poverty and inequality, improve education and human capital, and increase job opportunities and entrepreneurship."

Rob Fairlie has been contributing to the socio-economic movement through his involvement with projects on entrepreneurship and small business training, and providing access to technology for students in middle school through community college.

He has also been involved with research studies that look at whether providing improved access to computers could help low-income students on financial aid perform better and whether underrepresented minority students perform better when taught by underrepresented minority instructors.

You might be wondering how social justice is related to sustainability, but the fact of the matter is that both thrives off of each other.  If we want to see a world that is environmentally sustainable, we need a society that is economically and socially sustainable.  This means that to fight any type of environmental injustice, social change is also necessary so that we can all move forward together and fight the social injustices that prevent our solidarity.  This idea is represented in an article relating the #BlackLivesMatter and climate change campagins:

"Thinly veiled notions of racial superiority have informed every aspect of the non-response to climate change so far. Racism is what has made it possible to systematically look away from the climate threat for more than two decades. It is also what has allowed the worst health impacts of digging up, processing and burning fossil fuels—from cancer clusters to asthma—to be systematically dumped on indigenous communities and on the neighborhoods where people of colour live, work and play."

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Green Labs Program Presents Energy-Efficient Equipment Funding!

Greetings from the Green Labs Team, and happy 2015!! At UCSC, labs contribute over 50% of energy consumption, and produce over 12% waste to landfills. Here at Green Labs, we seek to improve energy efficiency, increase green purchasing and reduce waste through behavior change, physical improvements, and education. This year, the Green Labs student committee has made great progress towards a more sustainable UCSC!

We are excited to announce the implementation of a “Green Labs Equipment Fund”, made possible through a Carbon Fund macro-grant. This will be available to all labs on campus that have been certified through the Green Labs program, and will be a source for energy-efficient equipment retrofits of common lab equipment like freezers, centrifuges, and incubators. Aside from energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions, this project will contribute energy use data for labs, and other institutions will be able to reference this data in weighing the costs and energy savings of implementing retrofits in their own labs.

In the coming months, the team will be outreaching around campus, certifying labs, and compiling a list of recommended energy-efficient equipment. With increased involvement from the lab community, UC Santa Cruz will be one step closer to reaching the UCOP goal of carbon neutrality by 2025.

If you have any questions or inquiries,
please contact greenlabs-group[at]ucsc[dot]edu,
and visit our website to learn more about the program.

  -- Lily Urmann and the Green Labs Team

Chrissy Thomure (Climate Action Manager), Lily Urmann (Green Labs Facilitator), Robert Jones (Carbon Fund Student Facilitator), Jaric Sawatdee (Green Labs Outreach Coordinator), Ariel Lee (Carbon Fund Outreach Coordinator), Alden Phinney (Climate Action CUIP)

Spelling out "CLIMATE" at the Sustainability Office Retreat