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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

November 2018 Sustainability Profile: Ellen Vaughan

Each month, our newsletter features a person 
or group on campus that is working toward a more sustainable world. This month we were excited to interview and welcome Ellen Vaughan, Water & Climate Action Manager, to the Sustainability Office.

In her new role, she will be working on water and climate action-related projects, as well as supporting the Carbon Neutrality Initiative Fellows and Green Labs Team in the office.

What does sustainability mean to you?
Ellen: Sustainability to me is about intergenerational equity. It’s about not being a bully. Not taking advantage of the resources we have now, knowing that it is causing hardship to folks we don’t know or future generations.
Favorite green tips?
Ellen: We need to slash our consumption, think up experiences instead of trinkets when gift giving.
 What is your role at the Sustainability Office?

Ellen: I look forward to working with the campus and community to advance innovative solutions to get UCSC to climate neutrality! I’m excited to be a part of the Climate Neutrality Initiative team and to work with the Green Lab program.
Tell us about your background and how you became part of UCSC?

Ellen: I studied business and forestry at Virginia Tech before receiving my Masters in Environmental Policy at SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry. I have worked as a Global Warming Field Organizer for Greenpeace in Washington, DC, the Director of Sustainability for the Syracuse Center of Excellence, and Project Coordinator for the Public Counsel of the Rockies in Aspen, CO. I was most recently living and working in Flagstaff, AZ where I spent the last five years as Sustainability Manager for Northern Arizona University.
 What are your thoughts on environmental justice?
Ellen: I’m so impressed with UCSC’s focus on environmental justice. It’s great to see how many diverse groups are engaged across campus and I can’t wait to work with everyone.
We are so excited for Ellen to join our Office! If you know someone on campus who should be profiled in a future Sustainability Newsletter, please email

Monday, October 29, 2018

November 2018: Contests & Funding

Due November 8: Norris Center Student Awards
Each academic quarter, the Norris Center funds a select number of undergraduate student projects. Any undergraduate conducting a project relating to natural history can apply for an award of up to $1,000. Learn more and apply here.

Due November 15: Terence Freitas Award in Environmental Studies
In memory of Terence Freitas, an award of up to $500 will be given to an undergraduate UCSC Environmental Studies major. This award will be given to a student with financial need whose scholastic record demonstrates initiative and commitment to the natural environment or the improvement of environmental quality. Preference will be given to students with an interest in and commitment to the livelihood and culture of indigenous peoples in developing countries, or to those whose studies are related to conservation, or rainforest preservation. Learn more and apply here.

Due November 15: Webster Foundation Awards
This award of up to $3000 is being offered due to a generous gift from the Helen and Will Webster Foundation. The award is for registered UCSC undergraduate students who are currently doing or planning to do a senior internship or thesis (minimum two-quarter project) that promotes collaborations between the Norris Center for Natural History at UCSC and the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. Learn more and apply here.

Due November 15: Griswold Fellows Program
This award of up to $3000* is being offered due support from the Olga T. Griswold Chair Funds. The award is for registered UCSC undergraduate students majoring in Environmental Studies who are currently doing or planning to do a senior internship or thesis that informs and promotes land conservation and/or restoration in California. Students must be working with both a faculty sponsor and an agency sponsor to ensure that the results are linked to actual conservation and restoration efforts. Learn more and apply here.

Due November 29: Apply for a UCSC Carbon Fund Grant
The Carbon Fund awards funds from a student fee measure to projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conduct relevant research, or carry out education and behavioral change programs at UCSC or in the local community. Learn more and apply on the website.

Quarterly UCSC Environmental Studies Awards
The Environmental Studies Department offer awards and scholarships throughout the academic year. Visit the website for more information about upcoming application deadlines.

Due March 1: Scholarships through National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) & the American Academy of Sanitarians (AAS)
Undergraduate and graduate students who are enrolled in an accredited college or university with a dedicated and recognized curriculum in environmental health (EH) sciences, are eligible to apply for the NEHA/AAS Scholarship. The undergraduate scholarship is to be used toward the tuition and fees associated with either the junior or senior year of college studies. The graduate scholarship is to be used toward tuition and fees associated with graduate studies. All applicants must have at least one semester of coursework remaining to be eligible for this scholarship. Visit the website to learn more and apply.

Friday, October 26, 2018

November 2018: Trip to Cultural Conservancy

By: Carol Garcia, People of Color Sustainability Collective Coordinator

On Saturday October 6th, Interns from the American Indian Resource Center (AIRC) and the People of Color Sustainability Collective (PoCSC) attended The Cultural Conservancy’s Fall Harvest event in Novato, CA.

Lian Utsumi, Valeria Paredes, Margarita Vargas, Ashley Carrillo 
The Cultural Conservancy (TCC) is a Native-led organization based in San Francisco, CA that collaborates with communities, organizations and individuals to restore and protect native-foodways and support the wellbeing of Native communities in the Bay Area, Northern California and beyond.
Ashley Carrillo
On the day of the Fall Harvest student interns enjoyed a tour of the farm and talks by the TCC team and native community members on the different crops being grown in the garden. Students enjoyed listening to the crackling of Iroquois white maize as they walked through the stalks and looked for the beans and squash growing intertwined with the maize, a planting technique known as the “Three Sisters.”
Stephanie Hernandez, Lian Utsumi
AIRC and PoCSC Interns were also put to work to harvest chilies, a Hopi variety of black sunflowers and tepary beans. Each of these crops were introduced with a story of their cultural history and resilience. Students learned, for example, about the “Cherokee Trail of Tears” bean being grown with the maize, a bean that the Cherokee carried with them when they were forced off of their land east of the Mississippi River and walked to present-day Oklahoma.

Students also learned that tepary beans, native to the southwestern United States and Mexico, are more drought-resistant than other beans and resist monocrop agriculture as their pods require an intricate movement to break open.
Ashley Carrillo, Lian Utsumi, Stephanie Hernandez, Valeria Paredes, Margarita Vargas  
Through these stories that provided cultural, historical, political and ecological context, students left feeling inspired and humbled by the ecological knowledge found within Native communities.

To learn more about the People of Color Sustainability Collective, please visit their website.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

November 2018: Internships, Employment, and Volunteering

Due 11/8: Residential & Community Life Coordinator at the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems
The Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) is hiring a Coordinator of Residential and Community Life. This position will work with students and staff of the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture at the UCSC Farm & Garden. This six-month, residential training program offers hands-on and classroom training in organic farming and gardening, and food systems concepts. For more information, please visit:

Volunteer on the Sustainability Inter-Organizational Retreat Planning Committee
The Inter-Organizational Sustainability & Social Justice Retreat gives students and staff the opportunity to learn about social justice and environmental sustainability within the campus. Organizations meet, discuss project and goals, and find opportunities for collaboration during the event. The retreat is currently planned for January 25-27 of 2019. Staff, alumni, and faculty will spend the weekend sharing meals, learning leadership skills, and participating in visioning activities around the past, present, and future of UCSC sustainability. The next planning committee meeting is November 13th from 10-11am at Kerr Hall, Room 118. If you would like to join or have any questions please contact or

Volunteer with Fossil Free UCSC
Fossil Free UC is a student-run organization across the University of California that demands for the UC to divest its $2.6 billion dollars out of the fossil fuel industry and into renewable energy. The organization focuses on the intersection of social justice and environmental justice, and holds human lives at the center of the fight against climate change. To discover more & attend weekly meetings, visit Fossil Free UCSC on Facebook at

Volunteer in the Rachel Carson College Garden
Spend some of your free time in the garden, engaging in various activities and helping transform this little oasis located in Rachel Carson College. For more information, contact the garden coordinators at Learn more on Facebook and Instagram.

Intern with the Education for Sustainable Living Program
ESLP is a collaborative and interdisciplinary effort to reshape the way we learn, effectively mentor students, and engage in projects that support the sustainable development of the University of California at Santa Cruz community. Please check out for more information, and reach out to with any questions or to set up an interview for the position.

Due 11/15: Summer Research Opportunity with the Global Sustainability Scholars Program
The GSS program is affiliated with the University of Colorado at Boulder, targeted to underrepresented students who are interested in building careers in sustainability fields. GSS offers students a three-year summer experience. During the three summers students will travel abroad, learn about sustainability issues, conduct research, and will build their professional network. GSS will cover airfare, lodging, and a stipend for students ($550 per week in the first year). The first cohort of GSS students will join the Program in June 24 - August 2 2019 and will focus on the links between water, energy, and food in urban areas. The online application can be found at

Preschool Storytime Intern at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center
The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center is looking for a weekly intern who will assist in the coordination and delivery of the Preschool Storytime program. Duties will include assisting in the coordination of a weekly preschool activity time at the Sanctuary Exploration Center, helping set up and leading weekly crafts and show-and-tell demonstrations, and assisting in program advertising. For more information, please contact Chelsea Prindle at

Intern or Volunteer at the California Native Garden Foundation
CNGF is a non-profit organization that focuses on Regenerative Organic Agriculture, (ROA) using native plants to create healthy, productive and highly efficient agroecosystems. They have a variety of projects and programs, but are now especially focused on Build 25, which will consist of building 25 regenerative organic agriculture farms in Silicon Valley (for more information, please visit their website).

Environment California Clean Energy Advocate
The Clean Energy Advocate is responsible for developing our strategy, approach and local message to win campaigns. The advocate will meet with local decision-makers and opinion leaders and represent our organization to allies and the media. Advocates also help to build and foster membership, grassroots and online base of support. Finally, the advocate will help recruit staff and volunteers, fundraise for programs, and maintain good systems for tracking and building on the work that the organization does. Please apply online at Environment California is part of the Public Interest Network. Visit to learn more.

Volunteer with the Sierra Club of Santa Cruz County
Interested in being involved in protecting the local environment? The Sierra Club of Santa Cruz County has openings on their leadership board. The time commitment starts at about 3 hours per month, including attending a 2 hour meeting from 6:30-8:30pm on the second Wednesday of the month. For more information, please visit:

November 2018: 12 Tips for a More Sustainable Holiday Season

1. Unlearn the myth of Thanksgiving: For many indigenous people, Thanksgiving is a painful time, not a cause for celebration. The articles No Thanks: How Thanksgiving Narratives Erase the Genocide of Native Peoples and Native Americans explain why "Thanksgiving" Holiday is a Celebration of Genocide can provide a perspective that your textbook failed to share.

2. Attend Indigethanx: An Alternative Thanksgiving Celebration, hosted by the American Indian Resource Center, on November 16 from 5:00-7:00pm at the Women's Center (Cardiff House). Indigethanx provides an opportunity to rethink the Thanksgiving holiday and help educate the UCSC community about traditional Native foods. 
Image may contain: food

3. Use public transportation or carpool. If you are planning to travel this holiday season, use public transportation or carpool to reduce carbon emissions (and skip out on the crazy holiday traffic!)

4. Use reusable dishes and cloth napkins instead of disposable plates and plastic utensils. Soiled paper plates and napkins are usually not recyclable and create a ton of waste. If reusable isn’t an option, try to choose disposable plates and utensils made from 100% post consumer waste recycled paper.
White Tableware

5. Decorate with nature. Instead of decorating the table with plastic and synthetic decoration, collect pinecones, acorns, and colorful leaves to use as natural festive decor.
Two Pumpkins

6. Shop for local and in season foods. Take a trip to the local farmer’s market to purchase local and in season foods to limit the carbon emissions from the journey food takes before it makes its way to the table.
Vegetables Stall

7. Take reusable bags with you to the grocery store. When buying groceries to prepare for holiday dinners, use reusable bags instead of single-use plastic or paper bags to reduce waste generation.

8. Reduce energy use. If you are making several dishes that need to be cooked in the oven at the same temperature, put them in at the same time to reduce energy use and prep time. Further reduce your energy use by turning down the thermostat and the lights when not in use.

9. Cook only what you need. Americans throw an estimated 40% of food away each year. That’s a lot! Avoid excess food waste by preparing a smaller portions and skip some of the less popular dishes.

10. Turn your scraps into soup. To further reduce food waste, turn your vegetable scraps into soup — just rinse your veggies and throw the trimmings into a big pot of water and boil.

11. Store leftovers in reusable containers. Instead of using single-use plastic bags, aluminum foil, or plastic wrap, store food in reusable containers to help reduce waste generation.

12. Skip Black Friday shopping. Instead of dealing with the huge crowd of shoppers and driving all over town, skip the stressful shopping fest and make homemade gifts this year or buy gifts from local shops.