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Celebrating BIG solar!

November 20th, 2015 @ 6:43 pm by Camille Kirk

What a beautiful, sunny day to celebrate and dedicate our South Campus Large Solar Power Plant! The 16.3 MW solar array is producing renewable energy and helping reduce our carbon footprint, as a result of a great partnership with SunPower.

California Energy Commissioner Andrew McAllister, SunPower Commercial Director Robert Redlinger, Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, VC-CFO Dave Lawlor, and Carbon Neutrality Student Fellow Naftali Moed each offered remarks that pointed out UC Davis’s leadership in sustainability and motivated the audience to work even harder to achieve carbon neutrality across the UC. It was especially wonderful to hear the student voice from Naftali; he offered us a powerful reminder that we are all working towards a desired future.

SunPower staff also showed off the cool robotic panel washer that was originally developed here in Davis. The washer uses much less water than conventional ways of cleaning panels, and keeping the panels clean increases production of the “green” electricity we want.

 

Thank you again to everyone who helped make this project a reality and this celebration so meaningful!

UC Davis Carbon Neutrality Student Fellow Naftali Moed finishes his remarks as Chancellor Katehi and VC-CFO Lawlor applaud.

Carbon Neutrality Student Fellow Naftali Moed finishes his remarks as Chancellor Katehi and VC-CFO Lawlor applaud.

SunPower technician explains how the robotic washer works to attendees.

SunPower technician explains how the robotic washer works to attendees.

 

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Taking the Cool Campus Challenge up a notch; and prizes!

November 4th, 2015 @ 12:22 pm by Camille Kirk

Cool Campus Challenge StampIt’s week 5 of the 10-week Cool Campus Challenge, a competition for staff, faculty and students to reduce our carbon footprint and create a #UCool culture, and UC Davis has slipped to third place (!) behind UCLA and UC Irvine. Looking at the data, UC Davis has almost the lowest points earned per person (10th, just in front of UC Irvine and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab). And UC Irvine and UCLA both have many more people signed up. Help get us back in the lead!

Log in and keep earning points – verify your pledges with a short explanation (“story”) of what you do, add actions, nominate eco-heroes, attend sustainability events, invite your colleagues to participate, and add photos of your pledges in action. You say you’ve taken all the pledges you can and you have nothing left to do in the Cool Campus Challenge ? We say, hold up, we have some new UC Davis-specific pledges for you this week. Try these:

  • Action: Check out the Campus Energy Education Dashboard (CEED) and write up what you’ve learned about the campus’s energy usage.

Example pledge “story” language: Buildings are the biggest energy consumers on campus and also present the biggest opportunity we have to save energy and support the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative. I saw how different types of buildings use energy on the Campus Energy Education Dashboard! See for yourself at ceed.ucdavis.edu!

Example pledge “story” language: I invited a friend to join me to go see sustainability spots at UC Davis; we used the Explore Sustainability map, which we found at tinyurl.com/ExploreSustainability (PDF). We were amazed at all of the different ways our campus is working on meeting big sustainability goals.

  •  Action: Learn about sustainability as a goal of the Long Range Development Plan for the future of our campus.

 Example pledge “story” language: The campus is beginning to plan our next ten years, with a campus Long Range Development Plan, and I learned how sustainability is one of three goals for our future at campustomorrow.ucdavis.edu.

  •  Action: Attend an environment/sustainability-related event; find one in the campus event calendar by selecting the Environment and Sustainability category.

Example pledge “story” language: I attended a department talk on “Life-Cycle Perspectives to Help Us Build, Move and Eat Within Our Environmental Means” and learned about life-cycle modeling to estimate greenhouse gas emissions. I found this event at http://ucdavis.edu/calendar/ and am going to look for more sustainability talks to attend!

We’ll post some more ideas next week. Look for others before then and add your ideas and actions below in the comments.

Camille Kirk, from the Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability office, awards solar charger prize to Cool Campus Challenge winner Jessica Galvan. Next prize drawing on Monday, November 9.

Camille Kirk, from the Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability office, awards solar charger prize to Cool Campus Challenge winner Jessica Galvan. Next prize drawing on Monday, November 9.

On Monday, Nov. 9, we’ll announce the next two prize-winners from a random selection of UC Davis participants who have at least 5,000 points. Our first two winners (October 26) of the biweekly prize drawing were Jessica Galvan, with the Facilities Management Energy Conservation Office and Pheng Vongkhamchang, with the Library. We’ll give out prizes every other week until the competition ends, and we’ll recognize our campus teams.

On December 11, the campus with the most points for reducing carbon will hold the title of the Coolest UC. Let’s make UC Davis the Coolest UC! Join us at coolcampuschallenge.org.

 

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UC Davis 2015 Sustainability Report Released

October 14th, 2015 @ 2:09 pm by Camille Kirk

UC Davis releases the 2015 Sustainability Report, documenting the university's progress towards key sustainability performance goals.

UC Davis releases the 2015 Sustainability Report, documenting the university’s progress towards key sustainability performance goals.

We’ve released the UC Davis 2015 annual sustainability report – check out our university’s progress toward meeting some of higher education’s most aggressive sustainability goals. There’s good reason why we are considered one of Sierra Club’s “Cool Schools” – with 17 LEED certified buildings on campus, $15.5 million saved from energy efficiency upgrades and more than 180 courses per year with emphasis on sustainability. These are just a few of the ways that UC Davis is leading sustainability standards that advance best practices in higher education and beyond. Join us in celebrating our achievements and building a more sustainable UC Davis!

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“It’s Wrong to Wreck the World”

March 2nd, 2015 @ 5:01 pm by Camille Kirk

The following guest post comes from Lynne Nittler, a founding member of Cool Davis, and a passionate advocate for climate change action. She wrote to say:

Kathleen Dean Moore is an environmental advocate and nature writer.

Kathleen Dean Moore is an environmental advocate and nature writer.

Kathleen Dean Moore, Philosophy Professor Emerita of Oregon State University, will speak in Davis this weekend. She’s my all-time favorite climate change speaker. Here’s a sample of her speeches in a 16-minute presentation for “What Does Earth Ask of Us?  Questions for a Resilient Future

There are two events, one on Friday and one on Saturday, with Kathleen Dean Moore as the featured speaker, where she will be giving different talks and the programs will differ. Cool Davis has full details of the events and is hosting on-line registration. Both events request a donation, but waive that request for students. Details also follow at the end of this post.

On Friday, March 6th, the evening begins at 6:30 with a reception with live music, climate-friendly refreshments, Cool Homes sign-ups, and meeting the speaker. In the Theater we’ll hear CA Energy Commissioner Andrew McAllister before Moore delivers her talk and answers audience questions.

Then, on Saturday, March 7th, at 9:30 AM, Moore opens the 3rd Annual Interfaith Climate Conference at University Covenant Church in Davis. The conference is open to the public. The morning continues with a panel on Effective Climate Actions. After a climate-friendly lunch participants may choose from many climate solution workshops.

We are excited to bring Kathleen Moore to Davis and look forward to active participation and thoughtful questions from the campus community — students, faculty and staff!

Event Information:

Cool Davis invites the public to hear Kathleen Dean Moore on “The Moral Urgency of Climate Action…Because It’s Wrong to Wreck the World.”

In a flood of extinctions and on-rushing global warming, what can one person do to change the course of the river?  Why should anyone try? In a talk that is equal parts anger and love, Writer/philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore speaks about the nature of change and calls us to radical truth-telling and courageous citizenship.

Friday, March 6, 2015
Reception – 6:30 pm, Program – 7:15 pm
Veterans Memorial Theater
(203 E. 14th St. in Davis)
Suggested donation of $5-10 includes reception
For full details of the evening and to register go to www.cooldavis.org/events

 

Yolo Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice invites people of faith and the public to attend the 3rd Annual Interfaith Climate Conference with
Kathleen Dean Moore, “Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril”, an Intergenerational Panel and Workshops on Effective Climate Action.

Standing at the cliff edge of climate chaos, our work is to find a new path toward a radically re-imagined understanding of who we are in the world and how we ought to live. What new narratives point the way? What blocks the path? Where do we find the courage and the hope? How will we make ourselves worthy of the dreams of our descendants?   

Saturday, March 7th
9:30 a.m.–3:15 p.m.
University Covenant Church (310 Mace Blvd. in Davis)
Suggested donation of $10 includes lunch
For more Conference details and to register, go to www.cooldavis.org/events

 

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Carbon Neutrality Initiative Engagement Fellowships

February 13th, 2015 @ 1:29 pm by Camille Kirk

Please share the two following award opportunities for students (undergraduate and graduate) widely and as quickly as possible. Deadlines are very short: All applications are due next Friday, February 20, by 1:00pm, to sustainability@ucdavis.edu. Specific requirements for each type of fellowship are given in the linked files:

Carbon Neutrality Student Fellowship Program Application (PDF)

Carbon Neutrality Graduate Student Teaching Application (MS Word .docx file)

The UC Office of the President has made some money available for non-need based student awards to support the Carbon Neutrality Initiative, which aims to make UC the first major research university to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions from its activities, buildings and UC-controlled vehicle fleets by 2025. In specific, the monies are to be used to support student engagement and communication efforts for the Carbon Neutrality Initiative.

Learn more about the Carbon Neutrality Initiative, and the President’s Global Climate Leadership Council which advises on the achievement of the goal.

 

 

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Data and Sustainability

February 6th, 2015 @ 5:12 pm by Camille Kirk

This guest post comes from David Trombly, Data Management Engineer with the UC Davis Division of Utilities.

Building better campus data systems empowers users, operators, engineers, and sustainability professionals to do what they do best – save! Nearly all efforts to make the campus more sustainable rely on a foundation of accurate information about campus energy, water, waste, and chemical use. Developing more granular data streams opens the door to identify behaviors and processes that can be improved with reinforcing feedback loops. Managing these large data sets is a challenge. If we are to have a sustainable campus, we also need sustainable business processes for our data. Data must be properly collected, managed over time, run through quality checks, and periodically audited to keep it accurate and relevant.

In Utilities, we have been focusing on building more sustainable data management systems. Our metering and controls team has installed many new meters that measure campus buildings, wells, wastewater flow and treatment, and energy production and distribution. We are also working with Facilities Management to implement meter commissioning and calibration programs. Most of the real time meter data is now being automatically sent to a recently upgraded computer system which will allow operators, managers, researchers, students, and sustainability professionals to access the data from workstations and mobile devices as well as dashboards like the water dashboard and the Campus Energy Education Dashboard.

We are also building and automating database systems that track “meta data” – data around campus assets that provides context for real time data – such as process flow diagrams to help describe what exactly each meter is measuring. Much of this data will be combined with the real time data into one system and also displayed visually in collaboration with our GIS team, as seen here, where campus exterior lights are visualized for a section of main campus.

Here, campus exterior lights are visualized for a section of main campus.

Here, campus exterior lights are visualized for a section of main campus.

This data will ultimately be combined into efficiency metrics and analytics which will more quickly reveal inefficiencies and trigger notifications of problems.

There are many cool things that can be done with big data for the small city that we call UC Davis. We are currently working on automating the recognition of building occupant behavior at South Entry Parking Structure. This relies on the fact that each device at a building has a unique electricity use signature. In the example below, the tall thin spikes are the elevator and the tall spikes following by slow ramp downs are car chargers. Once the algorithm is completed, we hope that it will help save energy, track occupant behavior, and automate building maintenance work orders based on changes to the signal.

South Entry Parking Structure, electrical power demand graph

South Entry Parking Structure, electrical power demand graph

 

 

 

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Sustainable Travel Options for the Holidays

November 5th, 2014 @ 5:28 pm by Carol Shu

UPDATE: College students can now save 20% off select routes (includes Capital Corridor),  until June 16, 2015. For more details, visit  Amtrak California: http://www.amtrakcalifornia.com/deals/students-save-20.

This guest post comes from Leslie Mancebo, Transportation Demand and Marketing Coordinator for UC Davis Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS). Leslie manages the goClub, the campus’ alternative transportation program. Here are her tips for getting home for the holidays: 

Each day, I talk to students and employees at UC Davis about traveling to campus car-free but now that November is here, it is time to start thinking about holiday travel. Many members of the UC Davis community do not have regular access to a vehicle so TAPS has put together a car-free travel guide that can be found here. Some popular options include:

Thumbnail of guide

Transportation & Parking Services’ guide to using sustainable transportation to get home for the holidays.

TRAIN
With comfortable seating, food and beverage service and free wi-fi on many routes, the train is a popular option for both students and employees. Amtrak California serves cities throughout the state and the Davis Amtrak Station is located in Downtown Davis at 840 2nd Street. The station is easily accessible using the Unitrans Line A that runs from the Silo Bus Terminal on campus. Unitrans will run special schedules around the holidays to accommodate students using Amtrak. Unitrans Schedule can be found at http://unitrans.ucdavis.edu and Amtrak ticket information can be found at http://amtrak.com.

BERKELEY BUS
The Berkeley Bus travels between the UC Davis and UC Berkeley campuses twice per day, Monday-Friday. Reservations are required and can be made online, up to two weeks in advance at http://fleet.ucdavis.edu. Spaces on the bus fill up fast.

GETTING TO THE AIRPORT
The Sacramento Airport is easily accessible by Yolobus route 42A which provides service between the UC Davis Memorial Union bus terminal and the airport. Around the holidays, Unitrans and Yolobus provide additional airport shuttle service. Rides on both Yolobus and Unitrans are free for undergraduate students with a student ID. More information can be found at http://unitrans.ucdavis.edu and http://yolobus.com.

The Oakland Airport can be reached by Amtrak and the San Francisco Airport can be reached using a combination of Amtrak and the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART). More information can be found at http://amtrak.com and http://bart.gov.

CARPOOL
Zimride is our online network for carpool matching exclusively for UC Davis students and employees to help you link up with other students traveling to the same hometown. Drivers can sell their empty seats and passengers can find an inexpensive ride out of town. You can post or look for a ride at http://zimride.ucdavis.edu. It is free to join!

If you need help navigating your transportation options, please give me a call at 530-752-6453 or send an email to goclub@ucdavis.edu.

Leslie Mancebo, Transportation Demand and Marketing Coordinator
Transportation and Parking Services
p: 530-752-6453 / e: goclub@ucdavis.edu

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UC Regents: Listen to Your Community. Be True Climate Leaders.

September 10th, 2014 @ 1:11 pm by Camille Kirk

The Regents of the University of California are being asked to consider divestment from fossil fuels at the upcoming September meeting. In advance of that meeting, the Sustainable 2nd Century blog is hosting two guest posts this week about the fossil fuel divestment effort. This post is an excerpt of a longer essay about the Fossil Free UC movement written by UC Davis student Emili Abdel-Ghany, a Community and Regional Development senior, California Student Sustainability Coalition Field Organizer for the Fossil Freedom Solidarity Organizing Program and former Senior Field Organizer for the Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign.

Fossil Free UC rally at the May 2014 University of California Regents meeting in Sacramento, California. Photo credit: Becca Rast.

Fossil Free UC rally at the May 2014 University of California Regents meeting in Sacramento, California. Photo credit: Becca Rast.

Over the past three years I have seen communities rise up together across UC Davis, the entire UC, and reaching out into California and beyond, even reaching the front page of the Wall Street Journal’s Money and Investing segment. The campaign to divest our communities from the fossil fuel industry is one that resonates with folks from every part of society. I have had the opportunity to help shape the campaign on the local (Davis) level and statewide, coordinating multiple actions at the Sacramento UC Regents meetings and others. I have personally dedicated a majority of my undergraduate career to this campaign and to the education of the broader campus and California community (UC Davis and beyond). Faith communities, those fighting for racial or gender equity, scientific communities, campus departments, educators and countless students have thanked the campaign leaders for enlightening them about what UC investments are doing. I have seen how galvanizing the issue of unsustainable investments can be for students, faculty, staff, and the community. Almost every time I’ve told someone about this campaign their reaction is the same: They did not know that the UC invests donations in fossil fuel industries which constitutes a lack of transparency from the UC, and they do not want the UC to be investing in or even using fossil fuels. Further, they want to have a say in the process given that UC is a public institution of research and higher education, and are strongly opposed to the direction the UC is going in its relationship to the industry fueling climate change. Although the UC has just made significant strides to advance solar, it is a moral contradiction to invest in the companies driving the climate crisis while investing in those attempting to halt it.

Our movement for climate justice is reaching a tipping point this September, and here in California we must act to hold our flagship public institution accountable for financing climate chaos.  UC Regents on the Committee on Investments will be voting on fossil fuel divestment at their meeting September 17th meeting at the UCSF Mission Bay campus. We need as many voices from community, students, faculty, administration present. The Chief Investment Officer (CIO) recently altered his original recommendation to the Committee on Investments (COI), which would have advocated for a loose ESG (Environmental and Social Governance) framework for investing and explicitly stated recommending a “No” vote on divestment. In my opinion, this recommendation would completely disregard and even misconstrue the meaning of the work of students and the community, since it does not take immediate action to halt all new investments in the top 200 fossil fuel companies, drop the current holdings, and begin to reinvest in our communities. However, because of student and community pressure (by countless phone calls to the CIO) the Task Force recommended that the decision on Fossil Fuel Divestment be assigned to the COI, ending the Task Force. This minor concession is thanks to the people power generated by Fossil Free UC.

Any recommendation that the CIO makes to the Task Force will be taken very seriously by the Committee on Investments and voted on at their Friday September 12th meeting happening via teleconference in Oakland, LA, and Santa Barbara. If you would like to be involved in the momentum around this please email CSSC Field Organizer Jake Soiffer or Madeline Oliver. Most Regents will likely defend his position. We need to keep up the public pressure on decision makers. The Regents will likely still vote yes on whatever the CIO recommends to the COI. It will be incredibly important to have as many people at this meeting supporting our campaign as possible. If you are faculty we have a template letter that we would love for you sign onto/adapt and send you may contact CSSC Campaign Director, Emily Williams for this letter. Otherwise (for non-faculty), you can send your input to the UC Regents via email  regentsoffice@ucop.edu, mail: Office of the Secretary and Chief of Staff to the Regents 1111 Franklin St.,12th floor Oakland, CA 94607 with attention to the Committee on Investments. The regent who chairs this committee is Paul Wachter, it would be good to address concerns to him since the decision is in the hands of the COI as of now. If you will be sending a letter after Friday please email it to CSSC Field Organizer Alyssa Lee and she will circulate it appropriately.

The UC has to lead. We have to act now. The Regents have the opportunity of a lifetime to listen to the outcry of the people and divest NOW!

For more information follow:
www.fossilfreeuc.org
www.facebook.com/FossilFreeUC
www.sustainabilitycoalition.org
www.twitter.com/FossilFreeUC
To be added to list serves email Alyssa Lee.

Read Emili’s essay, from which this post was excerpted, to learn more about what has compelled her to become active in divestment efforts.

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It’s Time to Divest from Fossil Fuels

September 8th, 2014 @ 4:19 pm by Camille Kirk

The Regents of the University of California are being asked to consider divestment from fossil fuels at the upcoming September meeting. In advance of that meeting, the Sustainable 2nd Century blog is hosting two guest posts this week about the fossil fuel divestment effort. This post is written by Stephen M. Wheeler, Associate Professor, Department of Human Ecology.

Fossil fuel companies play a major role in promoting carbon-intensive societies. Should UC be investing in them? Photo and caption by Stephen M. Wheeler.

Photo of Valero refinery in Benicia, California. Fossil fuel companies play a major role in promoting carbon-intensive societies. Should UC be investing in them? Photo and caption by Stephen M. Wheeler.

At universities across the country the subject of fossil fuel divestment is in the news. Students, alumni, faculty, and staff are pressing trustees to drop schools’ investments in corporations threatening our future through global warming emissions. Already last spring Stanford gained a lead on the University of California by agreeing not to invest in coal stocks. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for UC to regain the moral lead by divesting from fossil fuels across the board?

Global warming is the largest sustainability challenge of our time. UC plays a positive role through research into climate change and renewable energy technologies, and through efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from UC campuses. However, an issue of this sort calls for moral leadership as well. California as a state has already adopted strong policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By divesting from fossil fuel stocks UC can take a stand as well, and further build its reputation as a worldwide leader on sustainability topics.

As a student I was active in the late-1970s and 1980s movement to get colleges to divest from corporations doing business in South Africa, at a time when South Africa rigidly separated blacks and whites and Nelson Mandela was in prison. The University of California took a lead in countering racism back then by divesting some $3 billion in South-African-related stocks. Mandela later credited UC’s action with significantly helping to abolish apartheid.

Please do whatever you can—as a student, faculty member, staff person, or alumni—to encourage the UC Regents to vote for divestiture during 2014-15. Regents will first take up the issue on September 17, but additional consideration is likely throughout the year.

Information about how to contact the Regents is at http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/contact/index.html. The best form of contact may be a written comment sent by email on “Divestment from fossil fuels” prior to any Regents meeting at which this topic is on the agenda. You can review agendas at http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/meetings/index.html.

Let’s see our University on the cutting edge of social change once more.

 

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Celebrate Eco-Heroes and Climate Solutions Awards on Sunday, April 27

April 25th, 2014 @ 12:38 pm by Camille Kirk

This guest post comes from Lynne Nittler, a member of Cool Davis, a citizen group working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the city of Davis. We would like to add that two of the honorees are UC Davis folks: Andy Frank, often called the “father of the plug-in hybrid,” with Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Kristin Heinemeier, with the Western Cooling Efficiency Center. Come help celebrate and honor them and the other awardees!

Call of the Wolf performer, in costume

Call of the Wolf performer, in costume

Cool Davis celebrates Earth Day on April 27 at the Veterans Memorial Theater from 2:30-4:00 with the presentation of Eco-Hero and Climate Solution Awards and several performances entitled “Call of the Wolf.”

Cool Davis gives out Eco-Hero Awards to individuals and Climate Solution Awards to businesses and groups who are showing the way to living more sustainably.  This year’s awards go to:

  • Eco-Heroes — Kristin Heinemeier, Andy Frank, Carla Peterson, Ivy Zhou & Marissa Wong
  • Climate Solutions Awards — Hallmark Properties (Reed Youmans), Davis Bicycles! Schools Committee ( Christal Waters & Trish Price), United Methodist Church of Davis

After the awards presentations, enter a wolf’s world.  “Call of the Wolf” features professional story-teller Tom Wade presenting “Stories from the Wolf’s Den” followed by  “Journey:  Dance, Music and Poetry.” The striking dance piece with musical accompaniment, performed by Ecokinesis Dance Company and Crane Culture Theater, tells the remarkable story of the lone California wolf who visited northern California the last three winters and has just returned again this February.  The narrated dance captures the experience of the wolf with all the grace, cunning, exuberance, weariness, loneliness and triumph of a solitary creature making his way in the wild.  Appropriate for ages 9 and up.

Guests who walk, bike or ride the bus earn a chance to win a cool prize!  Suggested donations at the door  are $10 for adults and $5 for children.  A reception follows.

Thanks to our Sponsors: City of Davis, Dos Coyotes, Rec Solar, Yolo Federal Credit Union, and Mars, Inc.

For more information visit www.cooldavis.org/news or contact info@cooldavis.org.

Share on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cooldaviscity or
Follow us on twitter! @cooldaviscity

 

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