Learning & Culture
The Learning and Culture committee will identify strategies to connect social justice and environmental sustainability to the University’s research, teaching and public service mission and into the culture at UC Santa Cruz. The committee will explore mechanisms for engaging students, staff, faculty and the Santa Cruz community in sustainability through research, curricular and co-curricular efforts, outreach, education and collaboration; identify opportunities for integrating prosperity, equity, and fairness into our campus’ business and operations; and encourage the use of the campus as a living laboratory for academic research on sustainability and justice issues.
Materials Management & Food Systems
The Materials Management and Food Systems topic encompasses the purchase, use, and disposal or recycling of goods on campus, as well as growing, consuming, and composting of food at UCSC. These areas have been brought together because of their interdependence: the campus waste stream is largely composed of materials and food that were procured or grown by the campus. In addition to sustainability challenges related to the procurement of materials or food and how it is disposed of or repurposed, each of these topics also have social justice implications, such as the distribution of university spend to local and diverse vendors; the labor conditions for people who grow the food our campus eats; and the environmental degradation that can occur in communities where products are recycled or sent to landfill. Within the Materials Management and Food Systems topic committee, we will be able to examine the interdependence of both social and operational impacts.
Natural Environment & Infrastructure
The planning topic “Natural Environment & Infrastructure” was developed to acknowledge the interrelatedness of the campus’ distinctive and varied natural environment with its physical infrastructure. Campus growth, development of facilities, transportation, and parking all have unique impacts on natural ecological habitats that house a variety of plant and animal life, including the threatened red-legged frog. The campus’ karst topography and Mediterranean Climate have created numerous academic research opportunities through the Campus Natural Reserves system, including the exploration of climate impacts and drought on ecological systems. Several natural watersheds flow through the campus, which interact with physical infrastructure and impact stormwater movement. Potable water resources are provided to the campus by Santa Cruz Municipal Utilities, and the campus has recently started to explore pilot rainwater catchment systems and options for other sustainable, non-potable water sources.
During the CSP planning process, the Natural Environment & Infrastructure committee will develop strategies and actions related to operational topics of Transportation, Land & Habitat, Watershed & Stormwater, and Water Conservation. Coordination with the Energy & Climate committee will also be pertinent, particularly in regards to issues related to Transportation.
Energy & Climate
The Energy and Climate topic was developed to address two primary considerations; 1) The Carbon Neutrality Initiative, which is a system wide initiative issued by President Napolitano for all campuses to achieve carbon neutrality for their onsite sources of emissions and purchased electricity by 2025, and 2) Cap and Trade Regulation, state legislation that sets a firm cap on statewide greenhouse gas emissions and requires large emitters (UCSC) to purchase compliance instruments based on our yearly emissions. The committee members will develop strategies and actions to address these climate and energy considerations.
The scope of the topic area is broad and includes consideration of all sources of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions associated with campus facilities and fleet. The campus recently completed an eighteen-month planning process to develop a climate action strategy that resulted in a report called the Climate and Energy Strategy (CES). The process was heavily focused on campus facilities and operations, so it will be important for the Energy and Climate committee to take into consideration the CES report and its recommendations in the development of its strategies and actions, but also consider climate and energy planning more broadly across all areas of campus. Topic areas include, but are not limited to; energy use and emissions associated with labs, administrative buildings, housing, campus-owned fleet, commuter vehicles and air travel, impacts of IT, engaging academic divisions, the potential energy savings that could be achieved through behavior change (i.e. energy conservation), social and environmental justice issues, how to plan for climate change adaptation and resiliency, and how to fund implementation of the recommended strategies and actions.
For more information, questions, or comments about the Campus Sustainability Plan planning process, please sign up for updates on this form.
Looking for a specific sustainability topic area within the Campus Sustainability Plan? Interested in getting involved? Learn more about the Campus Sustainability Plan Topics and Working Groups here.