Campus Sustainability Plan 2017-22

Thank you for participating in the campus comment period April 17-30! The comment period is now closed. All comments are currently under review by planning committee leadership, and will be thoroughly considered for incorporation into the plan. The final plan will be published online and rolled out by the start of Fall quarter 2017.

Click HERE TO VIEW draft goals, strategies, and actions.


In partnership with the EVC’s Office, the Sustainability Office is excited to share the results of the planning process for the updated Campus Sustainability Plan 2017-22. CSP planning committees have been hard at work this academic year, with representation across campus divisions including staff, faculty, and students. While the campus made significant progress in the sustainability of its operations in the previous plan 2013-16, the CSP 2017-22 planning committees have expanded to the next level. The plan focuses on four areas: Learning & Culture, Materials Management & Food Systems, Natural Environment & Infrastructure, and Climate & Energy. Goals, strategies, and actions were developed within these four topics that acknowledge the intersectional nature of environmental and social issues, build on the strength of existing policies and programs, enhance ties between operations academics, and connect social justice issues on campus and in our local community.

Campus Sustainability Plan Topic Areas


Learning & Culture (Academic & Co-curricular Engagement, Social Justice & Inclusion, Campus & Community Engagement)

The Learning and Culture committee identified 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 explored mechanisms for engaging students, staff, faculty and the Santa Cruz community in sustainability through research, curricular and co-curricular efforts, outreach, education and collaboration; identified opportunities for integrating prosperity, equity, and fairness into our campus’ business and operations; and strategies to encourage the use of the campus as a living laboratory for academic research on sustainability and justice issues.

Materials Management & Food Systems (Zero Waste & Resource Recovery, Procurement, Food Systems)

The Materials Management and Food Systems topic encompass 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. The Materials Management and Food Systems committee members developed goals, strategies, and actions to address each of these areas

Natural Environment & Infrastructure (Transportation, Land & Habitat Stewardship, Watershed & Stormwater, Water Conservation)

The planning topic “Natural Environment & Infrastructure” acknowledges 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 create 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 interacts with physical infrastructure and impacts 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 has developed goals, strategies and actions related to operational topics of Transportation, Land & Habitat Stewardship, Watershed & Stormwater, and Water Conservation. Coordination with the Climate & Energy committee will also be pertinent, particularly in regards to issues related to Transportation.

Climate & Energy (Carbon Neutral Operations, Energy Efficiency in New & Existing Buildings, Renewable Energy, Energy Conservation, Campus Fleet) 

The Climate & Energy topic primarily encompasses efforts to 1) Address the Carbon Neutrality Initiative, a systemwide 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) Address 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 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 extensive planning process to develop a climate action strategy that resulted in a report called the Climate and Energy Strategy (CES).  The CES focused on campus facilities and operations, so it was important for the 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.  The Committee attempted to address topics including; energy use and emissions associated with labs, administrative buildings, housing, campus-owned vehicle fleet, campus as a living lab, the potential energy savings that could be achieved through behavior change (i.e. energy conservation), and climate justice issues. 

April 18: Student Feedback Workshop

Students: Please join us for this student-centered workshop, a hands-on opportunity to engage with other students on the campus sustainability issues that are most important to you and provide direct feedback on the proposed goals and strategies for the next 5-year Campus Sustainability Plan. The workshop will take place Tuesday, April 18 from 6-8pm at the Porter Hitchcock Lounge, across the foyer from the Dining Hall. Vegan and vegetarian pizza will be served! RSVP on the Facebook event page.

November 3: Campus Sustainability Plan Visioning Session

We hosted a Visioning Workshop on November 3 to kick off the planning process. View the presentation slides and agendas from this event here. Photos from the CSP Visioning Workshop is available below. If you aren't able to view the album, the photos are also available online here. (Note: the album below loads best when viewed in Firefox or Safari).


Campus Sustainability Plan 2013-16

Campus Sustainability Plan 2010-13