Cool Campus Challenge 2023

UC Santa Cruz Relaunches Cool Campus Challenge Competition!

January 08, 2023

By Julia McLeod, Carbon Neutrality Initiative Fellow 


The University of California Santa Cruz now has the opportunity to participate in the Cool Campus Challenge - all winter quarter!

The Cool Campus Challenge is a fun, online platform designed to motivate campus individuals, departments, clubs, classes, teams, (everyone!) to
engage in a culture of sustainability and environment-friendlyhands light practices. All of the UCSC campus community can contribute to this effort by registering at, and taking actions to reduce their environmental impact. Participants earn points for each step they take to educate themselves or implement tangible resource reducing actions. 

In 2019, the UC utilized the platform as a multi-week competition across the system with great success: UCSC participants saved 1,759,542  lbs of CO2e! “It’s really exciting to bring the Cool Campus Challenge back as a conservation resource for the whole campus community.” Explains Elida Erickson, UCSC’s Sustainability Director. “In the 2019 competition we had the highest percentage of points per participant in the UC system - wow! Now that we have the opportunity to get even more banana slugs involved, I look forward to seeing what our community can accomplish together.”

The challenge has dozens of actions participants can take to reduce resource use and combat climate change, such as shutting off computer monitors that are not in use, completing meat free or waste free days, or choosing more sustainable transportation options.

Both individuals and teams can compete to win, and multiple prizes will be awarded. In addition to earning points for taking suggested actions, participants can earn even more points by coming up with their own creative ideas for reducing their carbon footprint.

Ways you can help:

  • Create or join a team - team members earned 4xs the points as non-team members in 2019! 
  • If you’re a faculty member, department head, club leader, coach, etc. figure out how you can be an influencer and increase participation. For example, giving extra credit to students for participating was the most successful way to get student involvement in 2019.