UC Davis logo

Sustainable 2nd Century

Sustainable 2nd Century

Join our networks

Blog

Archive for the 'Community' Category

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.

 

  • Logo: Digg
  • Logo: Google
  • Logo: Mixx
  • Logo: Newstrust
  • Logo: Newsvine
  • Logo: Reddit
  • Logo: Stumbleupon
  • Logo: Windows Live
  • Logo: Yahoo Bookmarks

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.

 

  • Logo: Digg
  • Logo: Google
  • Logo: Mixx
  • Logo: Newstrust
  • Logo: Newsvine
  • Logo: Reddit
  • Logo: Stumbleupon
  • Logo: Windows Live
  • Logo: Yahoo Bookmarks

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!

  • Logo: Digg
  • Logo: Google
  • Logo: Mixx
  • Logo: Newstrust
  • Logo: Newsvine
  • Logo: Reddit
  • Logo: Stumbleupon
  • Logo: Windows Live
  • Logo: Yahoo Bookmarks

“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

 

  • Logo: Digg
  • Logo: Google
  • Logo: Mixx
  • Logo: Newstrust
  • Logo: Newsvine
  • Logo: Reddit
  • Logo: Stumbleupon
  • Logo: Windows Live
  • Logo: Yahoo Bookmarks

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.

 

 

  • Logo: Digg
  • Logo: Google
  • Logo: Mixx
  • Logo: Newstrust
  • Logo: Newsvine
  • Logo: Reddit
  • Logo: Stumbleupon
  • Logo: Windows Live
  • Logo: Yahoo Bookmarks

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

 

 

 

  • Logo: Digg
  • Logo: Google
  • Logo: Mixx
  • Logo: Newstrust
  • Logo: Newsvine
  • Logo: Reddit
  • Logo: Stumbleupon
  • Logo: Windows Live
  • Logo: Yahoo Bookmarks

Accreditation for landscape management, operations

December 10th, 2014 @ 10:13 am by Carol Shu

The following article was written by Dave Jones, for UC Davis Dateline.

Photo of the Grounds and Landscape Services staff

Group photo of the Grounds and Landscape Services team

Every institution of higher education knows the importance of accreditation, like UC Davis’ recent 10-year renewal from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Now we have another accreditation to be proud of — for landscape management and operations on the Davis campus. The best-in-the-nation accreditation is from the Professional Grounds Management Society, which evaluated UC Davis Grounds and Landscape Services’ principles and practices for “attractive, healthy, sustainable and high quality” grounds.

The accreditation program is new this year: Only three campuses made the cut in the first round, with UC Davis the only one in California and the only one to get the top rating of four stars.

Carey Avery, Nelson Randolph, and Tyson Mantor (center three) accepting the accreditation award at a ceremony in Louisville, Kentucky.

Carey Avery, Nelson Randolph, and Tyson Mantor (center three) accepting the accreditation award at a ceremony in Louisville, Kentucky.

“I could not be more proud of our team,” said Cary Avery, an associate director in Campus Planning and Community Resources. He leads Grounds and Landscape Services and has his own accreditation from the Professional Grounds Management Society, as a certified grounds manager.

“The group of employees that we have working to maintain the health and safety of our campus environment is a top-notch group of people,” Avery said. “They care about each other, this place and the environment.”

The accreditation team had good things to say about Avery: “After talking and listening to Cary’s direct reports and representatives from the work force, it is clear that his leadership style and focus on relationship building are key factors to a harmonious, caring and dedicated workplace environment. “

Which brings us to the work itself: “Many people think that we are just a ‘mow-and-blow’ operation,” Avery said. “They’d be wrong. We have a hand in everything that happens outside.”

Here is a partial list, beyond the mowing and the blowing and raking:

  • Tree care.
  • Cleanup after storms.
  • Irrigation.
  • Sports turf maintenance (including the application of chalk lines).
  • Assist students in their use of landscape installations for school projects, and help faculty members with tree care demonstrations for students.
  • Manage everyday trash and recyclable collection, as well as event cleanup and zero-waste operations.

And, because they’re out and about all day, groundskeepers also give directions to lost visitors, Avery said.

“We have even been contacted by the Raptor Center to rescue an injured bird from a tree top! If this team can help, they will be there. They are incredible people.”

From Green Star to 4 stars

In 2006, the campus earned the highest rating of Grand Star in the Professional Grounds Management Society’s Green Star Awards program, which, according to Avery, was more about aesthetics. “The Grand Star wasn’t about our management practices, how we treat our customers or employees,” he said. “There’s no team that visits to make sure you are doing what you say you are doing.”

The new accreditation program, including site visits, focuses on environmental stewardship, economic performance and social responsibility.

“Collectively, the landscape management team projected a wealth of knowledge on contemporary grounds management strategies as well as a good familiarity with emerging management ideologies and innovations,” the accreditation team wrote. “Cary’s knowledge and effective use of sound grounds management strategies is evident from observing the results of site appropriate work processes and procedures and the delivery of an appreciable grounds product.”

Year-to-year water savings: 20 percent

UC Davis’ sustainability score reflected water savings of about 80 million gallons since Jan. 1, a reduction of more than 20 percent from the year before. Amid the state’s three-year drought, Gov. Jerry Brown has asked all institutions of higher learning to reduce water use by at least that much by the year 2020.

“We’ve done it already, and we hope to do even better next year,” Avery said.

He said the campus has 10 years of experience with “smart” control irrigation, and this allowed for an immediate cut of 20 percent or more in turf watering except on fields that are used for athletics or that have heavy use.

Continued analysis will allow for irrigation cuts of up to 50 percent in certain areas, depending on tree irrigation needs.

“New technologies now also allow our team to further refine irrigation settings with more site-specific information, including plant and soil type, and sun exposure,” Avery said.

“Landscapes where this technology has been implemented only receive water application when the soil and plant material reach a certain allowable depletion level.”

Also, the grounds crew has shut off all fountains and fixes irrigation leaks and overspray problems as quickly as possible after learning of them. To report leaks or overspray, call Facilities Management, (530) 752-1655.

Unique features

In its executive summary, the evaluation team observed: “The University of California, Davis, has a very attractive campus with a visual appearance that can quickly and effectively generate interpretive discussions.

“There are a variety of landscaped areas and features that do not typically appear with as much regularity in the traditional campus setting” — the diversity of drought-tolerant and adaptive plantings (including those in several landscape conversions), the ground cover materials, bio swales and rain gardens, living walls and fences, and naturalized areas strategically interwoven throughout the campus.

“Clearly the integration of these types of sustainability elements with older or existing landscaped areas is a great challenge, and required strategies from a different maintenance and management paradigm,” the review team stated. “The University of California, Davis, campus displays a keen responsiveness to this reality.”

The accreditation report concluded: “The Grounds and Landscape Services unit (of the Arboretum and Public Garden) is playing a vital role in the university’s aspiration to provide an extraordinary experience as a visitor-centered destination, particularly at a time when the campus is in the midst of a historic and severe drought.”

 

Read the original article in Dateline.

  • Logo: Digg
  • Logo: Google
  • Logo: Mixx
  • Logo: Newstrust
  • Logo: Newsvine
  • Logo: Reddit
  • Logo: Stumbleupon
  • Logo: Windows Live
  • Logo: Yahoo Bookmarks

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

  • Logo: Digg
  • Logo: Google
  • Logo: Mixx
  • Logo: Newstrust
  • Logo: Newsvine
  • Logo: Reddit
  • Logo: Stumbleupon
  • Logo: Windows Live
  • Logo: Yahoo Bookmarks

UC Davis Rises to the Challenge Once Again

October 30th, 2014 @ 1:56 pm by Carol Shu

This post is written by Jean Kim, Waste Reduction and Recycling Staff Assistant.

Photo of Aggie Stadium

Aggie Stadium aims to be a zero waste stadium.
Photo credit: Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability

GameDay Challenge is an annual competition between colleges and universities to reduce or eliminate waste produced at football games. Schools track and report the amount of waste that is produced and how much is diverted from the landfill. Participants are then ranked to show which schools were the most successful.

UC Davis will rise up to the GameDay Challenge again this year! In previous years we were recognized for our sustainability practices and we were declared the Diversion Rate Champion in 2010 and 2011. This year we will do our best to regain that title.

We will be calculating the amount of waste diverted for the Parent and Family Weekend Game on November 1st!! Please come out to show some school pride and support for your UC Davis Football Team (Go Aggies!!).

In order to ensure that we have extremely positive results from this game, the Waste Reduction and Recycling Program (WRR) has taken several measures.   First and foremost, WRR has drastically reduced the amount of waste that is introduced into the stadium by prohibiting several items from both students and vendors. Second, any items that are brought in are required to be either recyclable or compostable. Finally, WRR strives to educate the public how to properly dispose of their trash. Volunteers and staff will readily provide information to anyone that is unsure of which category to place their trash, diverting as much waste as possible away from the landfill.Logo of GameDay Recycling Challenge

Keep in mind that every piece of waste diverted matters, so remind your fellow peers about what can and cannot go into the recycling or compost bins!

GameDay Challenge is a way to award collegiate stadiums for their zero waste efforts. However, our goal goes much further than just winning this challenge – we strive towards a more sustainable campus. Aggie Stadium’s success is an inspiration to actively promote and implement ways to become zero waste throughout campus, not just at the stadium!

Be on the lookout for more updates on GameDay Challenge!

  • Logo: Digg
  • Logo: Google
  • Logo: Mixx
  • Logo: Newstrust
  • Logo: Newsvine
  • Logo: Reddit
  • Logo: Stumbleupon
  • Logo: Windows Live
  • Logo: Yahoo Bookmarks

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.

  • Logo: Digg
  • Logo: Google
  • Logo: Mixx
  • Logo: Newstrust
  • Logo: Newsvine
  • Logo: Reddit
  • Logo: Stumbleupon
  • Logo: Windows Live
  • Logo: Yahoo Bookmarks