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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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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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Cool Davis Festival: Getting Cooler all the Time!

October 1st, 2013 @ 10:14 am by Camille Kirk

The following is a guest post from Lynne Nittler, a member of the City of Davis citizen climate action team, Cool Davis.

A solar photovoltaic vendor talks to an attendee at the 2012 Cool Davis Festival.

A solar photovoltaic vendor talks to an attendee at the 2012 Cool Davis Festival.

 

The 4th Annual Cool Davis Festival is Saturday, October 12th from 8:00-1:00 alongside the Farmers Market in Central Park. Enjoy entertainment, family activities, interactive exhibits, climate action opportunities and above all, information about reducing your carbon footprint at the food demonstrations, bike circus, EV-car show, and the Cool Solutions tent. Bike, or ride Unitrans for free all day. To volunteer, go to http://www.cooldavis.org/take-action/volunteer/ For details, go to http://www.cooldavis.org/2013/09/14/cool-davis-festival-getting-cooler-all-the-time/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Bike Safety Video Released (no more ’80s hairdos…)

September 27th, 2013 @ 12:13 pm by Camille Kirk

The following is a guest post from Leslie Mancebo, the goClub coordinator at UC Davis Transportation and Parking Services:

Two bicyclists on path along campus and Russell Boulevard in Davis, California. Note the bicyclist wearing a helmet -- smart, safe thinking!

Two bicyclists on path along campus and Russell Boulevard in Davis, California. Note the bicyclist wearing a helmet — smart thinking for safer riding!

Over the years UC Davis has received honors on a national scale for its bike friendliness. These accolades have been well-deserved, especially when you consider that each fall thousands of new students arrive at UC Davis, many of whom haven’t ridden a bicycle since childhood, if ever. There is no time that this transition is more apparent than during the first few weeks of Fall Quarter.  Those who have been on campus for a number of years are familiar with the sight of new students trying to navigate bike paths and roundabouts for the first time which sometimes leads more seasoned riders to avoid busier bike paths during the first few weeks of Fall Quarter.

In 2010, the results of the annual Campus Travel Survey showed that the presence of some cyclists who, knowingly or unknowingly, do not obey traffic laws resulted in others choosing to not ride a bicycle on campus. As a result, UC Davis Transportation and Parking Services and the UC Police Department collaborated to create the Bicycle Education and Enforcement Program (BEEP).

As we find ourselves at the beginning of another school year, the bike paths will be filling up with students, staff and faculty new and old and we are reminded that bicycle safety is a crucial component in maintaining the bike friendly lifestyle at UC Davis. As part of our ongoing bicycle safety efforts we are pleased to announce the release of a new bicycle safety video that will not only replace the old video as part of the BEEP bike safety course, but is also available for anyone to watch as a refresher course highlighting the importance of bike safety at UC Davis. The 19-minute video is available online at https://vimeo.com/75059452 and the complete bike safety course is available at http://bikesafety.ucdavis.edu.

Post-script: We just heard from Leslie that the video has broken 3,000 views since it was posted a week ago!

 

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An Insider’s Look at Becoming the First College or University Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business…

May 13th, 2013 @ 8:24 am by Camille Kirk

We thought it would be interesting to invite David Takemoto-Weerts, the UC Davis Bicycle Program Coordinator, to share his perspective on applying for and winning Platinum-level recognition of the campus as a Bicycle Friendly Business. Here are his words about the achievement:

BFB platinum_newWhen UC Davis was awarded the highest (“Platinum”) level award by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) as a Bicycle Friendly Business on Earth Day, April 22, I was a bit surprised, but also very pleased. As one of only eight businesses nationwide to receive Platinum recognition (out of 545 awards presented since 2008), and the first college or university so honored, we are understandably proud.

I had not given much thought to applying for this award until mid-December when LAB’s Executive Director, Andy Clarke, on a visit to UC Davis, suggested that we should and that doing so might improve our chances of moving up from Gold to Platinum the next time we apply for the award. With only four weeks (including two weeks of winter break!) to complete and submit the lengthy application, I was grateful that there was at least some overlap between the questions on the new form and our previous Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) application form. [UC Davis was awarded Gold recognition as a BFU in 2011.]

Perhaps most staff, faculty and students don’t think of the University as a “business”, but the fact is that we have thousands of employees and we provide a wide range of services, usually for a fee, to a broad constituency. Filling out the BFB application forces one to think about what we do in many different ways.

I was asked what the most challenging question was to answer. It was probably this one: “What has been the business’s most significant investment for bicycling?”

I could think of many possible responses, but I went with this:

In the 1960s, Chancellor Emil Mrak made two major policy decisions that were instrumental in making UC Davis so welcoming to bicyclists: 1) all campus buildings and other destinations would have sufficient bike parking for all cyclists and the parking areas would be located as near to major building entrances as possible. 2) in 1967, the campus “core area”, formerly accessible by motor vehicles with no restrictions, was closed to all motor vehicles except for emergency, service and delivery vehicles. By doing so, the core area streets essentially became wide, safe and convenient bike paths overnight. The “bicycle only” campus core area has expanded over the years and, in fact, will expand significantly in 2013 when unauthorized motor vehicles are restricted from even more roadways on the west and southeast sides of campus.

The other challenging part of the application was trying to remember and include all of the programs, policies, procedures and infrastructure that contribute to the overall “bike friendliness” of UC Davis. It’s not like any one department has control or authority over the creation, implementation or management of all these elements, and I’d guess we might have missed a couple.

Even though we earned the top award, we know there is always room for improvement. We should soon be getting feedback from the League that will describe areas in which they feel we could improve. We received similar follow-up when we received the Gold BFU recognition in March 2011. As a result, we instituted a number of improvements that we believe will elevate us to Platinum status when we reapply for the BFU award in July.

To everyone who helped with both applications, especially all those who responded to the League’s survey questionnaire which is an integral part of the review process, TAPS would like to extend a huge “Thank You”! It’s the many campus individuals and departments who do so much to encourage bicycling here at UC Davis that really put us in the top echelon of “bicycle friendship” in the U.S.

So, now that you know a little of the behind-the-scenes story, go out and celebrate May is Bike Month by riding around our Platinum-level bike friendly infrastructure. Bike safe and have fun!

 

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Super Cool!

August 14th, 2012 @ 4:18 pm by Camille Kirk

#1 Cool School UC DavisToday, Sierra magazine released their 2012 Cool Schools results, and UC Davis ranked #1! So, we are the Coolest School. Officially.

Wow! That’s fun! This is a nice honor in our field.

We are really proud of our campus for achieving this ranking. Thank you to everyone—students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends—who’ve made decisions and taken actions that helped our campus to get to this point.

This year, the sixth time Sierra has run this survey, they changed their methodology to use the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System. STARS asks many questions about dozens of sustainability metrics; it’s an extensive survey and probably the most comprehensive one we’ve ever completed. Participating in Cool Schools this year has given us a chance to perform one of the most complete assessments of our work in sustainability to date.

Winning the #1 ranking is great—it really is—but it is even better to be able to look at the progress we’ve made, identify areas for further work, and plan for next steps.

Let’s celebrate this year and keep moving forward. Here’s to yet more innovation and implementation!

Read more about our award and watch a fun “video postcard” from Sierra‘s student correspondent about why UC Davis is the Coolest School in 2012.

 

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Endless Opportunities in the Environmental Field

August 13th, 2012 @ 9:18 am by Camille Kirk

Guest blogger Alicia Halpern, a UC Davis sophomore Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning major, shares an essay below that she wrote for the Enviance March Madness contest about green campuses:

Students work in D-Lab with Professor Kurt Kornbluth

What sets the environmental program at UC Davis apart from other schools is the breadth of opportunities available to undergraduate students. There are an incredible number of environmental majors to choose from. You can major in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning, Environmental Science and Management, Environmental Toxicology, Ecological Management and Restoration, Wildlife Conservation, Sustainable Agriculture and many more. Many fields are environmentally related. At Davis, whether you are interested in climate change, water, energy, wildlife conservation, agriculture, transportation, or a different environmental issue, there is a major that will allow you to study your passion in depth.

Even more exciting are the opportunities to learn from and work with faculty who are doing cutting-edge research on the environmental problems facing society. As an undergrad at UC Davis you have the chance to do research with faculty who are at the forefront of fields such as sustainable agriculture, energy efficiency, climate change, and more. More than half of all undergraduates at UC Davis participate in research while they are here. By getting involved in research you are able to apply what you learn in the classroom to help find real solutions to society’s greatest environmental challenges.

Another reason why Davis is a great place for students who are passionate about environmental issues is that sustainability is truly integrated into daily life. It is the norm for students to get to school and around town by walking, biking or taking the bus. There is a student farm and the campus takes things such as energy and water efficiency very seriously. All of this combines to mean that you can focus on whatever aspect of the environment you are most passionate about, both in the classroom and out. The opportunities within the environmental field are endless when you go to UC Davis.

– Alicia Halpern, student at University of California, Davis

Don’t miss the companion video that fellow student Phillip Tran made and posted on YouTube. The video shows that rain or shine, we bike! And, take the bus, compost, recycle…

 

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2012 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, by the numbers!

August 10th, 2012 @ 12:46 pm by Camille Kirk

Dr. Mitchell Thomashow gives the keynote address at the 2012 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, Monday, June 18

In homage to Harper’s Index, here are some fun facts about the 2012 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, hosted at UC Davis, June 18-22:

Whew!

UC Davis is so honored to have had the chance to share our campus and host our colleagues for the 2012 conference. Conference attendees enjoyed five jam-packed days of sharing sustainability best practices, going on field trips, eating delicious meals, hearing an inspirational keynote, and meeting new people. Our weather cooperated nicely, and we celebrated colleagues who accomplished award-winning projects during a reception and dinner at the beautiful Shields Oak Grove in the Arboretum.

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this conference a blazing success!

Special thanks go to UC Davis Custodial Services and Building Maintenance Services for all of their incredible help that far exceeded our expectations, Arboretum and Grounds for their gracious work with us, Dining and Catering Services for the beautiful, healthy and delicious food that made everyone so happy, and Conference and Event Services for their phenomenal work above and beyond the ordinary conference planning.

-UC Davis Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability

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Excited for the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference!

June 18th, 2012 @ 4:52 pm by Camille Kirk

We are thrilled to welcome nearly a thousand of our higher education colleagues who are advancing sustainability on their campuses. Higher education is providing leadership in showing how we the world can integrate more sustainable practices into our own daily lives.

The California Higher Education Sustainability Conference is an important communication channel to keep all of us in the forefront, and we are so proud to be hosting it this year.

As hosts, we are excited to show off all the sustainability work that we’ve been doing at UC Davis. Here are sneak peeks at a campus sustainability self-guided tour map and Global Leadership in Sustainability brochure that we’ve made for the event.

See you at the conference!

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