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Thursday, April 30, 2015

New Adventures for Lacey Raak in Monterey

Lacey Raak, UCSC's Sustainability Director, has recently accepted the Sustainability Director position at Cal State Monterey Bay where she will be creating and implementing a culture of sustainability. Though we are all sad she is leaving, we are also very excited to hear of her soon to be many accomplishments at CSMB.

Before her departure, we asked her a couple questions about her time at UCSC.

When did you become sustainability director, and what were some of the things you did before coming to UCSC? 
My first "real-world" job after completing my undergrad degree was an intern at the US State Department in DC. I worked in the Office of Environmental and Scientific Affairs and reported to the UN Special Representative for Sustainable Development. When I went back to MN I worked at a marketing firm that specialized in organic and natural food products and worked closely with the music industry. I moved to CA for graduate school and went to the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey where I received a masters in International Environmental Policy. While in graduate school I worked at the City of Monterey, where I helped develop their first Climate Action Plan and the Bicycle Transportation Plan. After graduation I received a Fulbright Scholarship to study the National Sustainable Development Strategy in Indonesia, I worked at the City again after my return and before coming to UC Santa Cruz. That is a timeline of my work history, but from a more philosophical perspective - before coming to UCSC, I learned, I traveled, I explored. I met people, learned from them and carry what they taught me, with me even though I know I will likely never see them again. I treated the whole world like a classroom, and teachers are everywhere.

What has been your favorite moment working at UCSC in the sustainability office? 
I have so many images pop into my mind for this one - doing qi gong with students at the inter-org retreat, sitting around a table with staff putting together a program or thinking about how to better train and support students, working with people outside our office to integrate sustainability into procurement or to find ways to build more sustainable buildings, exploring a cave, having lunch at PICA with Annie Leonard, every time students would pop into my office to share some news or just say hi, having the Chancellor tell me I was doing a good job.  All the close encounters with animals...seeing a bobcat by the library, seeing a mountain lion early in the morning, having a fox cross the road in from of me, the owl that almost pooped on my head.  I have so many cherished memories to carry with me!

What have you learned here that you would like to take to your next position at CSUMB? 
Not to be cliche, but I will question authority, I will ask questions that challenge the norm. I will let students take the lead and just guide where needed. I will appreciate and value not just getting the job done but connecting with people and will help connect them to the larger picture of sustainability. Those are some of the softer things I will take with me but there are also many lessons related to the progressive projects and actions taken on campus in the field of sustainability that I will take with me and emulate where possible at CSUMB. We are all still on the same team, I'll just be playing on a different field.

What's been your favorite part of being sustainability director at UCSC? 
Supporting something larger than myself and doing so with such great people.

Lacey, you will be missed by your colleagues and sustainabilibuddies at UCSC, and we look forward to hearing about the great things you'll be doing in Monterey County!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Want to Help Prioritize Energy Conservation on Campus?

Attention UCSC undergrads living in an on-campus residential housing unit! PowerSave Campus would like your input on energy use in your housing unit. Please take the short 3 minute survey here and be sure to include your UCSC email address to be entered into a raffle for one $100 and 4 $50 bookstore gift certificates! The information collected in this survey will be used to help prioritize investment in energy conservation projects and programs. The deadline to participate is May 27th at midnight.

May 2015: Classes, Community and Training

The Homeslice CSA: Registration Now Open
The Pie Ranch in Pescadero is expanding their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) to include Santa Cruz and Davenport. As a CSA member, you will receive a weekly delivery of organically grown produce. You can either sign up for half a season for $312 or a full season for $600. The boxes come with vegetables, leafy greens, herbs, wheat flour or berries, dry beans, seasonal fruit and eggs available on request. Register to be a CSA here.

2nd Annual Transportation Festival: May 8
The Student Environmental Center's Transportation Campaign is hosting the 2nd Annual Transportation Festival on May 8th from 1 to 4 P.M. at the College Eight Upper Lawn. There will be activities, an open mic, a panel, and a drawing at this event! This is a great opportunity for students to learn more about sustainable transportation on and off campus.

PICA Garden Workdays: All Spring Quarter
Every Saturday from 10 A.M. - 2 P.M. the Program in Community and Agroecology (PICA) hosts garden workdays. Free vegetarian lunch will be served. Meet in the A-quad of the village.

Student Garden Market Cart: May 11
The next Student Garden Market Cart will be held Friday, May 15 from 12-1:30 P.M. in front of Science & Engineering library. PICA and other campus gardens will be handing out free produce from their gardens.

IDEASS at the Crepe Place
Three IDEASS teams—rainwater catchment, graphene synthesis, and the use of graphene filters for desalination—will be participating in the WISE meeting for Science On Tap, which happens monthly at the Crepe Place. Stop by on May 27th to hear their presentations and learn about the future of green technology! Check out the event page here.

Want to Live at PICA next year?
At the Program in Community and Agroecology, students grow organic food, share in community meals and learn sustainable living skills. Through PICA, students from a variety of majors have the opportunity to study agroecology and apply their knowledge to everyday activities within their community. If you are interested in a sustainability-themed housing for the 2015-2016 school year, sign up for the Village and mark "strongly prefer" for involvement in PICA.

Upcoming Common Ground Events
The mission of the Kresge Common Ground Center is to create cultural change for social justice, environmental regeneration, and economic viability. They act as a catalyst and facilitator of systemic change through undergraduate action-education, research, advocacy, and civic engagement. Common Ground is hosting a speaker series this quarter through their Collaborative Learning class and other events this spring. To find out more about the events, click here.

Free Pizza Coupon for Sustainable Move-Out Program Participation

For students living off campus there is barely enough time at the end of the academic year to let out a sigh of relief from finals before tackling your summer living situation. Many of us will be moving out of our current residence, and the less there is to pack-up and move, the better. So it seems like a win-win situation to lighten your load by discarding that old couch or creaky mattress on the curbside for someone else to deal with, right?

Besides the illegality of curbside dumping - for which tenants can be heavily fined by the city - the unfortunate reality is that many abandoned items end up in the surrounding forest and waterways, degrading the natural habitat of Santa Cruz. Fortunately, University Relations in partnership with the Sustainability Office is preventing forest litter by offering a stress-free summer move out services and FREE pizza!

The Move-Out program assists student households to collaborate with one another in holding multi-household garage sales over the weekend of May 30th-31st. This is in effort to divert usable household items from the landfill and surrounding natural habitat areas. Plus, each household to participate in the program will receive a coupon for a FREE large Woodstock’s pizza!

For furniture and other bulky household items that are at the end of their life cycle, and cannot otherwise be sold or donated for future use, the program will be offering a pickup day on June 27th in which items will be transferred for FREE to the city landfill, courtesy of Santa Cruz Resource Management services. Participants must register the items they would like to have picked up online at the city’s website. Examples of bulky items can include old mattresses, couches, desks, office chairs, coffee tables, all of which are at the end of their life cycle of use. Students participating in the bulky-item pick up day are also eligible for a Woodstock’s pizza coupon.

So let us assist you in your moving shenanigans while avoiding unwanted dumping fines, diverting waste from the landfill, and enjoying some FREE pizza! To participate in the multi-household garage sale visit the city website. Details on how to register for the bulky item pick-up can be found on the Move-Out Facebook page. If you have any further questions, you can contact Chris Kane, Sustainability Office Zero Waste Programs Manager, at chkane [at] ucsc [dot] edu or Christine West, University Relations Good Neighbor Intern, at cvwest [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

*Information and story contributed by Chris Kane, Sustainability Office's Zero Waste Team Coordinator 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Multicultural Urban Agroecology Research Exchange in Chiapas, Mexico

During Spring Break, ENVS faculty, staff, and students traveled south for an intense and rewarding experience in urban garden agroecological research and multicultural interaction in the colonial, highland town of San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas.

Associate Professor Stacy Philpott and Research Specialist Peter Bichier traveled to Chiapas, Mexico with two ENVS grad students (Hamutahl Cohen and Monika Egerer) and two ENVS undergraduate students (Montse Plascencia and Jen Schneiderman) for a short research trip to learn about urban agroecology.

The project, funded by UC-Mexus and led by Philpott and Co-PI Helda Morales from El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR) aims to a) determine the importance of local management characteristics and landscape surroundings for enhancing conservation biological control of crop pests in urban gardens and b) to increase cross-cultural understanding between researchers in the US and Mexico.

Read the full article here.

UCSC Academic Senate to Discuss Divestment from Fossil Fuels

The UCSC Academic Senate is slated to discuss divestment from fossil fuels at their May 29th meeting. The Environmental Studies faculty is submitting a resolution urging the Regents to divest the UC's investment portfolio from the top 200 fossil fuel companies ranked by carbon reserves exploitable.

Fossil Free UC has compiled a short document outlining rationale for divestment. They invite your comments and questions on the document here. If you are an interested party wishing to discuss the divestment initiative with The Fossil Free UC campaign, please contact ffuc-santa-cruz-group [at] ucsc [dot] edu to set up a meeting time.

To sign the petition addressing the UC Regents and President Janet Napolitano, please click here.

*Story and information provided by Alden Phinney, Chancellor Undergraduate Intern for Climate Action and contact for FFUC UCSC

May 2015: Internships, Employment & Volunteering


Climate & Energy Analyst (Sustainability Office)
This paid student position supports the implementation of energy efficient projects through auditing, diagnostic software and data logging equipment. The position remains open until filled. Position works 20-40 hours, from Monday through Friday at flexible times. For more information and to apply, visit the UCSC ER System, and use ER #7695.

Water Action Drought Response Team Member (Sustainability Office)
The Water Action Drought Response Team is looking to add one more member to the team for a summer position! This summer the team is looking to collaborate with Conference Services, the Arboretum, research labs, and Physical Planning to promote the importance of water conservation and to create projects to reduce our water usage. They plan to assist all these groups through education, training, outreach, auditing, and learning about the recently installed beacon system meters. More information about these new beacon meters can be found here. Apply on the ER system using #7324 and contact Lindsay for more information at lnedelma [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

Climate Action Analyst (Sustainability Office)
This paid student position collects, compiles and analyzes data pertaining to projects in development, implements educational programs, conducts research, coordinates and collaborates with other Climate Action Interns, and edits documents, schedules meetings, etc. For more information and to apply, visit the UCSC ER System and use ER #7696.

Carbon Fund Outreach Coordinator (Sustainability Office)
This paid student position provides outreach for the Carbon Fund through classwraps, tabling, and the use of social media. This student must intimately understand funded Carbon Fund projects and track their individual accomplishments. The position also requires extensive reporting, documentation and administrative duties. For more information and to apply, visit the UCSC ER System and use ER #6161.

Carbon Fund Student Facilitator (Sustainability Office)
The Carbon Fund student facilitator coordinates Carbon Fund committee meetings, works with applicants who are applying for Carbon Fund grants, tracks budgets and expenses for projects, and is the main point of contact for the Carbon Fund. For more information and to apply, visit the UCSC ER System and use ER code #7314.

Zero Waste Program Associate (Sustainability Office)
The Zero Waste Program associate will develop and implement waste reduction educational efforts campus-wide. They will work with staff, faculty and fellow students to communication and collaborate on waste efforts on campus and in the community. To apply, visit the UCSC ER System and use ER code #6236.

Student Sustainability Advisors
SSAs are needed for the 2015-2016 school year, and applications are now open. SSAs work with Residential Life and students in on-campus housing to support sustainability efforts, behaviors, and events. SSAs must live on campus during the school year and be able to commit to arriving early in September for training. Compensation includes a quarterly stipend of $1,500 and meals during early move-in. To apply, visit the UCSC ER System and use ER code #7056.

UC Riverside Hiring Energy & Sustainability Manager
This is a full-time position located in Riverside, CA. The Energy & Sustainability Manager works to decrease energy cost, examines mechanical, electrical, water and gas systems to make sure they are functioning at the highest level possible. For more information about position requirements, and to apply, click here.

Bike Santa Cruz is Seeking Part-time Bookkeeper/Membership Coordinator
Bike Santa Cruz is looking for an awesome, enthusiastic individual to work 5 hours/week tracking Bike Santa Cruz finances, handling member correspondence, and maintaining their membership database. Please read posting for more information.

The Hub for Sustainable Living Seeking Bookkeeper and Director: Deadline May 8th
Positions may be applied for together, average about 10 hours/week. Deadline for application is May 8th. Please read posting for more information.

Hidden Villa Seeking Workers for Variety of Positions for Sustainability Summer Camp
Hidden Villa is seeking Residential Counselors, Maintenance Assistants, Kitchen Assistants, and Cooks. On average, individuals applying must be available from May 29th-August 15th. For more information, please click the individual position titles, or visit the general page here.

Seeking Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center Program Assistant 
This individual will open and close the center, troubleshoot computer equipment, greet and receive visitors, assist in tours, assist Volunteer Coordinator, data entry and management, and much more. Please send a cover letter, resume and three professional references to explorationcenter [at] noaa [dot] gov and indicate SEC Program Assistant Job in subject line.

Alliance to Save Energy Seeking Programs Associate
The Alliance to Save Energy is seeking a full-time Program Associate to assist with implementing PowerSave Campus. Applicant must have a Bachelor's degree in environmental studies, energy, education and 1-2 years of work experience is preferred. For more information, click here.

University of Utah Hiring Sustainability Communication and Outreach Coordinator
The Sustainability Office at U of Utah is seeking a Communication and Outreach Coordinator. This individual will support the campus mission by acting as a resource to faculty and staff within the Sustainability Office and coordinating internal and external communications with other public outreach efforts. For more information and to apply, click here.

Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Seeking Web Application Development 
The purpose of the Web Application Developer position is to build high-quality, innovative web-based software that furthers AASHE’s organizational goals and creates lasting impact on the higher-education sustainability movement. For more information about experience, knowledge and skills required, click here.

Fair Trade USA Seeking National Organizer for Fair Trades Colleges and Universities 
The National Organizer works with students, faculty, food service providers and stakeholders to  adopt Fair Trade and create positive impact to farmers, workers and artisans. To see more information about requirements, click here.


The PSI program matches students with staff & faculty 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 now being accepted until May 8th. All interested interns must attend the mandatory info session on May 5th from 4:30-6pm in the Cervantes & Velasquez Conference Room in the Bay Tree Center. For more information, check out the Facebook event page. To apply, fill out this application.

Impact Designs Engineering and Sustainability through Student Service is a 9-month upper division service-learning class that fulfills the ENVS (and other majors) senior exit/thesis requirement by allowing entrepreneurial students to work on experimental sustainable designs and keep on the cusp of innovation. The potential projects span a cornucopia of topics, including: energy, water, food, transportation, and waste. IDEASS encourages students of all disciplines to apply. Applications are now being accepted for the 2015-2016 year. To apply, visit the application page here

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.

Summer Bike Advocacy Internships Available
Bike Santa Cruz County is looking for summer interns to help with bicycle advocacy, event planning, and outreach. Bike Santa Cruz County advocates for better bicycling around the county, plans fun bike events, and participates in local planning for bike projects and policies. For more information, contact Amelia Conlen at director [at] bikesantacruzcounty [dot] org.

Panamanian Sustainability Internships for Students 
Students from all over the world are welcomed to the Kalu Yala Research Institute in Panama. Participate in research projects, learn and teach sustainability and live in a gorgeous country. This is a fantastic opportunity you do not want to miss. For more information, click here.

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.

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.


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.

Do you love bikes? Do you love people? Then volunteer for Bike to Work Day! Volunteers are absolutely vital to this program, and opportunities range from supply/food packaging for the 50+ sites on May 6th, helping check in participants, and so much more. Contact Emily Glanville at (831-515-1328) for more information and to get involved.

Bike to Work Food Packing Day Needs Your Help!
Join in and help pack amazing food to be distribued to over 60 free breakfast sites and local schools and businesses across the country for Bike to Work day, on Wednesday, May 6th, from 11am-2pm at Ecology Action. Lunch is provided. Please RSVP to Elise, at eehrheart [at] ecoact [dot] org. 

First Friday "Bike Night" at Museum of Art & History
On Friday May 1st from 4:30-9pm, Ecology Acton, Bike Santa Cruz County and the MAH are collaborating to put on an amazing event at the museum. However, they cannot do it alone! The organizations are looking for volunteers to help with the event. Please contact Elise at eehrheart [at] ecoact [dot] org to volunteer.  

Bike to Work Day, Thursday May 7th
From 6-10 am on May 7th, Ecology Action is seeking volunteers to help at the Bike to Work Day free breakfast sites. Volunteers are provided with free breakfast. Contact Elise at eeherheart [at] ecoact [dot] org to sign up or for more information. 

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.

Join the Slugs to Sludge Wastewater on May 23rd. The event is a walk that follows the path of wastewater from UCSC to the Wastewater Treatment Plant at Neary Lagoon. The event needs the help of volunteers to help with all aspects. For more information, please contact Zoe Manoguerra at zmanogue [at] ucsc [dot] edu. 

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!

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.

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. 

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.

Gaia Magazine Seeking Newsletter Submissions 
Do you love mother nature and have a passion for writing? Then submit your writing to the Gaia newsletter and see your beautiful writing immortalized in print. Please direct submissions to gaiamagazineucsc [at] gmail [dot] com. 

Volunteer at the Homeless Garden Project Downtown Store
Volunteer in the store, on the register, for merchandising, and providing customer service. New volunteers receive orientation during their first shift. Click here to see the schedule, then contact Jes at jesw [at] homelessgardenproject [dot] org to sign-up. 

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.

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. GSE is seeking a Garden Leader who will commit to meeting one to two times/month, plan community workdays, lead after school workdays, and facilitate discussion-based workshops. Contact Wyeth Wunderlich at wyeth [at] globalstudent embassy [dot] org to participate in this awesome program.

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

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. 

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.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Recognizes UCSC

The Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) works to create a culture of sustainability by providing opportunities to advance sustainability in high education. AASHE just released their annual analysis of sustainability in higher education establishments for 2014. According to their findings, there was a significant increase in sustainability planning and drought response.

UC Santa Cruz was named one of the highlighted institutions, specifically for the UC-system wide goal to reduce water use by 20 percent in 2014, (page 11). In order to meet this goal, the UCSC Sustainability Office created the Drought Response Team. At the time of the article, the team had audited water fixtures in 64 of 104 campus buildings, which resulted in 91 repaired leaks. The team also works to create didactic signage to help educate the campus about the importance of water conservation.

Congratulations to all campuses recognized for their excellent work in sustainability. To read the entire publication, click here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

UC Santa Cruz Accepts the Challenge of Governor Brown's Mandatory Water Restrictions With New Metering System

California’s First Ever Mandatory Water Restrictions

On the first of April, Governor Jerry Brown took an unprecedented step and announced the first ever statewide mandatory water restrictions alongside a series of other conservation measures. California is currently experiencing its fourth year of a drought with the most recent winter months experiencing the lowest snowpack in recorded history.  As the dry summer months are approaching, it is critical that California water users conserve and use water wisely.

Drought by Richard Vogel.jpg
Richard Vogel/AP

To address the need to conserve, Brown’s executive order requires a 25% reduction in water use by towns and cities, new pricing structures by local water agencies to encourage conservation, the replacement of 50 million square feet of lawns through a rebate program, rebates for water-efficient appliances, and new reporting guidelines for agricultural water users.
What does this mean for UCSC?

With all of these policies and measures that have just been created to lower our water usage, what does this mean for UC Santa Cruz? Fortunately, UC Santa Cruz has been adjusting its water usage through implementing the city of Santa Cruz’s 25% water reduction measure. UC Santa Cruz has addressed water conservation on multifaceted levels including cutting back irrigation 40-60%, installing recycled water autoclaves in labs, retrofitting old water fixtures, as well as having student-led teams conduct water audits of university buildings and educate the community about our current water situation. These changes were not easy, however the university was able to meet this goal for 2014.

                                                                  Dan Coyro/Santa Cruz Sentinel

In order to continue this goal on a more long term scale, UC Santa Cruz has a new project to dig deeper into water conservation by addressing a bigger, more abstract issue that deals with how we obtain information about our water usage. In the past, the University has had a team of individuals monitor and check 400+ meters once a month to calculate its usage. However there are limitation with this method due to monthly and human error in analyzing data . As stated by Patrick Testoni, the campus energy manager, “you can’t manage, what you can’t measure”. UC Santa Cruz hopes to improve this limitation through the installment of a new water metering system. The benefit of these new meters is that they alert users through live data about water usage and leaks by the hour, which can bring faster responses to problems and provide better information to water users. By summertime, UC Santa Cruz will have 400 meters installed and a team of individuals trained and ready to meet this new long term challenge of water conservation.

Interested in what you can do to save water?

Does your home or a family’s home have a lawn that could benefit from being converted to a more drought tolerant landscape?  Click here to find out if you are eligible for the turf rebate program and here to estimate your rebate total. Rebates start at $2 per square foot of turf removal and certain local water agencies are providing supplementary rebates as well.  These products are also applicable for rebates.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Campus Cleanup Day

The towering redwood trees, walkways lined with a carpet of ferns and blackberry bush, and of course the family of deer nonchallantly staring at passerbys - all token components that set the scene of UCSC. It is because of my appreciation for the beautiful space that our campus inhabits that I'm too often flabbergasted to come across candy wrappers and chip bags, food scraps and paper coffee cups, littered throughout the grounds.

If you share a similar sentiment - often finding yourself stopping to pickup litter and dispose of it in the closest proper receptacle, unconcerned with the idea that it is someone else's trash - you will be stoked for our upcoming Campus Cleanup Day! Hosted by the Student Union Assembly in collaboration with the Sustainability Office's Zero Waste Team, the event aims to raise awareness of waste on campus, and sustain the physical environment that UCSC calls home for the wellbeing of ourselves and the organisms we share it with! Come out to the Quarry on Sunday, April 26th where we will break off into teams to pcikup trash from 11am - 2pm, with a celebratory event to follow to enjoy food, games, and tabling! Check out the Facebook page for more info!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Earth Week Events

Earth Week 2015 at UCSC is taking place April 19-25, with the theme Your Plate, Your Food, Your Impact. College Eight’s Earth Week 2015 strives to build environmental awareness by exploring the power of individual choice in our food systems. By understanding our impact, Earth Week aims to educate our community and encourage collaboration on how to make sustainable food choices.

A couple of events happening during Earth Week include:

April 18: Earth Day Santa Cruz at San Lorenzo Park
Earth Day Santa Cruz is an exciting community event offering educational information, activities for kids including an arts and crafts tent, live music and a focus on green businesses. Come and enjoy this fun environmental celebration for the whole family on April 18th, 11 am – 4 pm in San Lorenzo Park! The Sustainability Office will be tabling there, so come say hello!

April 21st: Food Fight-Forum
The Food Fight event highlights the power of choice by examining different perspectives on April 24 from 6 pm - 7:30 pm. Students across campus are invited to participate in a space that aims to discuss various topics of sustainability in regards to food. The topic is “What Does It Mean to Eat?” Addressing the social and environmental impacts of the food systems. With the guidance of speakers who have expertise in the field, this event intends to spark questions about our relation to food and understand ways of improvement.

April 22: Local & Organic Tasting Fair
Join UCSC Dining in their 5th annual Local and Organic Tasting Fair. On Wednesday, April 22nd from 11:30 am - 2:30 pm at the College 9 & 10 Multipurpose Room, there will be local vendors and free samples of food and beverages! The event is free and open to all of campus.

April 23: Jon Young - Understanding Bird Language to Bring More Presence to All That You Do
Join the Common Ground Center's Collaborative Learning Class for their speaker series! On April 23rd at the Porter Meadow from 2 - 3:45 pm, nature mentor Jon Young will speak about how bird language can be added to our everyday lives. Jon has been mentoring folks in the nearly lost art of understanding bird and animal language. Just as science is beginning to see the credibility in this ancient skill, Jon has been leading communities world-wide to get these skills back through lectures, workshops, media.

April 24: Earth Summit
On Friday, April 24th, the Student Environmental Center will be hosting the 14th Annual Campus Earth Summit from 11 am to 4:30 pm at the College Nine & Ten Multipurpose Room. The Earth Summit is a space for students, staff, faculty, administrators, and community members to come together and celebrate the history and current actions in campus sustainability, reflect on the 2014-2015 Student Forum events, plan for future sustainability projects, and strengthen overall involvement. The theme of this year’s event is a fusion of activism and art, with a focus on increasing communication and community problem-solving through the avenue of art and personal expression. Learn more about the Earth Summit event and ways you can get involved at their website!

April 24: UCSC Greenhouse Tour
Enjoy a tour of UCSC's Science Hill, including rooftop visits to the  instructional plant collection, restoration project plants, and current research projects. Director Jim Velzy will give an overview of the various aspects related to these rooftop facilities and light refreshments will be served. For more information visit this website.

April 24: Sustainability Alumni Reunion
Join the Sustainability Office for a mixer with alumni and current students involved with UC Santa Cruz environmental sustainability and conservation efforts. This is an opportunity to catch up with old friends and create networks with new ones in honor of UCSC's 50th Anniversary. Students, staff, and alumni from UCSC sustainability organizations will be gathering informally at Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing and nearby West End Tap on Friday, April 24th from 5-8 p.m. You don't have to be 21+ to attend! Please invite others who may be interested in attending. To RSVP or ask questions, please email Melissa at mott [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

April 24: M. Sanjayan - A New Wild: Saving Nature in a Human-Dominated World
Sanjayan’s talk will draw on his 2015 PBS television series EARTH: A New Wild to reveal how, through human ingenuity, technology and sometimes ecological tragedy, people are becoming a positive part of the ecological systems we depend on for our well-being. The result is a new framework that reinvents environmentalism by making saving nature about saving ourselves. This presentation is part of the True Originals Notable Alumni Speakers Series. For more information, check out this website.

April 25: Sustainability Office at Pan-DANM-onium Faire
UCSC’s Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) MFA Program invites the community to a day-long festival celebrating DANM’s first decade, on April 25, 2015. The Sustainability Office will be hosting a table at this innovative event; come learn how to recycle properly and learn how much energy your appliances really use! This free event includes outdoor exhibits and interactive demos, the annual DANM MFA art exhibition, alumni slideshows, research lab open houses, and a masquerade ball. It’s a day of DIY making, projection mapping, repurposed military vehicles, free food, fine art, vacuform masks, kids crafts and more – it’s pan-DANM-onium! Learn more about the day-long event here.

April 25: Arboretum Tour
The Arboretum is offering alumni a guided tour of the world-renown UC Santa Cruz Arboretum during alumni weekend. On the tour you will learn about the collections of rare and endangered plants from around the world and the importance of them to the university and community. They have sizable collections of mostly drought-tolerant native Californian, Australian, New Zealand, and South African plants, including cacti and succulents. For more information, check out this website.

April 25: Farm Tour
Enjoy a guided tour of the gardens, fields and orchards at UCSC's 30-acre organic Farm. Founded in 1971, the 30-acre Farm includes handworked gardens of annual and perennial food and ornamental crops, mechanically cultivated row crops, orchards, and research plots. Learn about the education, research, and public service activities taking place through the work of the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS). Please wear comfortable walking shoes for this event. For more information, check out this website.

April 25: UCSC Campus Natural Reserve Hike
Join a hike on the UC Santa Cruz Campus Natural Reserve, which serves as an outdoor classroom and living laboratory that provides a vital link between ideas discussed within traditional classrooms and hands-on learning in the natural world. The campus reserve features steep redwood ravines, flowering azaleas along forested springs, sweeping ocean views, northern maritime chaparral, and more. Meet at the Firehouse parking lot. Gage Dayton, Administrative Director for physical and biological sciences, and Alex Jones, UCSC Campus Natural Reserve Steward, will begin with a brief overview of the reserve, followed by a steward-led hike along the interpretative loop trail. This event is family friendly. For more information, check out the following website.

April 25: Kenneth Norris Center Dedication
The Kenneth S. Norris Center for Natural History Dedication is an opportunity to celebrate natural history training accomplishments over the past 50 years and articulate a vision for the new Norris Center to the campus community, alumni, and other potential donors. For more information, check out this website.

April 25th: Sustainable Food Choice Fair, 2015 5pm-7pm 
On April 25 from 5-7pm, the Sustainable Food Choice Fair will act as the finale to College 8 Earth Week activities and will continue to highlight the idea of food choices and their impact on the environment. Through interactive stations, the event will highlight the themes mentioned earlier in these stations where students can participate in activities that relate to real life issues and decisions. The goal is to create an environment that is engaging and allows students to discover new ideas about their food choices. At the same time, organizers will serve food that models sustainable choices in order to provide an example that shows students it is possible to make sustainable choices.

April 26: 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. The goal of this event is to motivate campus users to properly dispose of waste and encourage campus stewardship.

April 26: We Are Wiser Together World Cafe
Live music, free food, and meaningful intergenerational conversations. Connect with student leaders, community partners, and alumni during a series of World Cafe conversations about how we can be wiser together through collaboration across generations. How can we work and play together as we turn 50? What becomes possible when we - one generation alive and awake together at this unique moment in history - form partnerships in business, politics, education, and civil society? Farm fresh lunch prepared by students from the Kresge Common Ground Center and Kresge Garden Coop included with pre-registration. For more information check out this website.

April 28: Walk to Class Challenge
UCSC's 2nd Annual Walk to Class Challenge Day will take place on April 28, 2015! Registration is open until April 27th, and the first 60 students to register will receive a free event t-shirt. The challenge is a student-led effort to promote walking as a viable and sustainable transportation mode for cross-campus travel, reduce UCSC’s carbon footprint, and help students make more sustainable choices for themselves and the environment. Register for free at and then fill out a survey after the event for a chance to win a $50 Visa gift card! Join the Facebook page, Instagram, and visit the website for more information.

Below are the College Eight Earth Week Events:

"Every year on April 22nd marks the anniversary of what many consider the beginning of the modern environmental movement.  In 1970, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. Although mainstream America remained oblivious to environmental concerns, the stage had been set for change by the publication of Rachel Carson's New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962. The book represented a watershed moment for the modern environmental movement, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries and, up until that moment, more than any other person, Ms. Carson raised public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and public health. Earth Day 1970 capitalized on the emerging consciousness, channeling the energy of the anti-war protest movement and putting environmental concerns front and center."


For more information, visit the College 8 Earth Week event site for upcoming updates or contact Derek Dean at drdean [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

50th Anniversary Sustainability Film Festival Contest

Calling all filmmakers and artists! Are you interested in having your short film or artwork displayed at a film festival series this fall? The Sustainability Office invites you to create a sustainability-related short film or poster. The winner(s) of the competition will have their films and posters shown at the Sustainability Film Festival to celebrate the campus’s 50th Anniversary!

If you are interested, listed below are the submission requirements.

Film criteria: 

  • The film must be accessible through the web (Vimeo or YouTube, for example)
  • The film must incorporate at least one of the following sustainability topics: Environmental awareness, education, and engagement; Sustainable design; Energy and climate; Just & ecologically sustainable food systems; Land, habitat and watershed; Sustainable procurement; Sustainable transportation; Waste reduction; Waste conservation, access and quality; Environmental justice
  • The film must be no longer than 10* minutes. 
Note: If you have already created a film that is longer than 10 minutes and would like to submit it, please contact Melissa Ott at to discuss possible exceptions and/or how you might shorten the film.

Poster criteria: 

  • The poster must be at least 8.5 x 11" and no larger than 11 x 17"
  • The poster must feature the concept "Water" but may also include other sustainability topics, such as Environmental awareness, education, and engagement; Sustainable design; Energy and climate; Just & ecologically sustainable food systems; Land, habitat and watershed; Sustainable procurement; Sustainable transportation; Waste reduction; Waste conservation, access and quality; Environmental justice

Early Bird deadline: June 1st, 2015
Final deadline: July 13th, 2015

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In celebration of our campus, we want to highlight our achievements and culture we have created toward sustainability these past 50 years.  Art and film are beautiful mediums to showcase UCSC's anniversary through and we want as many students, campus organizations and community members to be involved.  If you are an organization or community member interested in hosting a film, please contact Melissa Ott at mott [at] ucsc [dot] edu.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Cultivating a Daily Revolution: Film Series


Hello everyone,  I am Adriana Murguia , I am part of the FoCAN leadership team and this quarter I will be leading the “Cultivating a Daily Revolution” gatherings. I look forward to sharing my interests and familiarity with you all for the next ten weeks! 

This spring,  Friends of the Community Agroecology Network (FoCAN) will be re-establish its weekly gatherings and will be bringing a weekly film series. This quarter, our Cultivating a Daily Revolution (CDR) will consist of a series of movies and documentaries relating to themes and topics of: agroecology, food security, sustainability and globalization. The films will be in no particular order and will depend on what people are interested in learning about.  The gatherings will consist of free dinner and discussion. 

We will be meeting: Wednesday Nights 7-9pm at the Ethnic Resource Center  (ERC) Lounge above the Baytree bookstore. Stairs and elevators are located to the right of the express store. Our first meeting will be April 15th.  

List of Films:
MST: Brazil's Landless Worker Movement. Understanding the formation of international, agricultural social movements and how they incorporate Agroecology.
Tambien la Lluvia( Even the Rain)- Water Wars:  Hasta la lluvia is a film that  about water privatization in Peru. Learn about multilateral development agencies and what alternatives grassroots movements have provided in the face of liberalism. Water Wars is a documentary on water issues in India reflecting on the monopolization of water and the erosion of communities.
Our land, Our future: Documentary made by Three Americas,a Santa Cruz based solidarity organization with the people of Latin America. This documentary underlines indigenous land rights and environmental issues in Nicaragua. Let’s have a discussion about the Nicaraguan Canal.
When the Mountains Tremble: Film on the war between the Guatemalan military and indigenous communities.
Cocalero- Mary full of Grace: Understanding global commodities and will then implement its framework in understanding the commodification of cocaine in Latin America.
Seeds of Freedom: Explore diverse farming systems around the word and how seeds have become monopolized by the global food system.
A film about Coffee- Hot Coffee: follow the production of coffee from farm to consumption. The film opens a door to understanding specialty coffee.

Sponsored by: El Centro Chicano Resource center  

Friday, April 3, 2015

April 2015: Sustainability profile

Each month, our newsletter features a person or group on campus that is working toward a more sustainable world. This month features Jennifer (Juniper) Harrower.

  • Ph.D. Student (2013-Current): UC Santa Cruz, Environmental Studies
  • CA Science Teaching Credential (2007): Alliant International University, San Francisco
  • Bachelor of Science with honors (2006): UC Berkeley, Plant Biology and Genetics
  • Oakland Teaching Fellows Summer Institute (2006)
  • CEICA Pre Advanced Intensive Spanish program, Peru (2010)
  • Education Abroad (2005): Tropical Biology and Research, Monteverde, Costa Rica

What's your favorite green tip? Zimride through UCSC is an excellent way to link people for commuting and reduce single passenger vehicles on the road!

What does "sustainability" mean to you? For me, sustainability means a daily awareness of how my actions are affecting the world from the local to global scale.

How do you practice sustainability in your daily life? I ride my bicycle whenever possible, live cooperatively with 6 others, use consumer awareness and try to buy things with minimal packaging (bulk) and from good organizations. I try to buy local produce and support local farmers, and raise chickens. At my house we recycle and compost, and have water usage awareness. Additionally, I teach environmental classes, and do environmental outreach with the public in a variety of ways.

How does sustainability relate to your role at UCSC? People need to act sustainably if we want to continue living on this planet. This is why I study human impacts on biodiversity, do research in Joshua Tree National Park, and work with students in ENVS.

Have you had a favorite sustainability moment at UCSC? Working with art students to create environmental awareness was a pretty great one!

Can you tell us about the project you are working on? "Seeking Symbiosis" is a collaborative project between myself and Geoffrey Thomas - a lecturer and post doc in the art department. I teach the students about the impacts of human driven global change on ecosystems and the resulting biodiversity loss. My work focuses on the impacts of climate change on Joshua trees (who are greatly impacted by climate change) and their symbiotic fungi. The students worked with Joshua trees at the UCSC greenhouses to create imagery about Joshua tree loss to engage with the scientific and cultural discourses surrounding climate change and environmentalism.

What has been your favorite part about collaborating with the UCSC Art Department?  Our campus is really separated, and there is little physical crossover between the art and science departments - students rarely spend time in both worlds. I have really enjoyed having art students come over to the ENVS department to work with the Joshua trees and then to see their art hung in our halls. And, I have gotten great feedback from the ENVS department regarding the beautiful art work that students have created. It feels like a true inter-disciplinary project! Considering the impacts humans are having on our planet we need all disciplines engaging with the ideas of what it means to live sustainably and how to manage our natural resources. One of my future projects in collaboration with OpenLab (art/science research studio on campus) is to develop an educational computer app that incorporates findings from my Joshua tree climate change research in a fun game that students can play to engage with these issues. The app will work with real data, so future ecological scenarios predicted from playing this game could potentially be used to inform real world management decisions.