Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 76.57
Liaison Katie Koscielak
Submission Date April 11, 2023

STARS v2.2

Cal Poly Humboldt
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Katie Koscielak
Sustainability Analyst
Facilities Mgmt
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level:
The campus advocated successfully that the City of Eureka approve the Eureka Regional Transit and Housing Center (EaRTH Center), an intermodal living space proposed on the parking lots of 3rd and H Streets in Old Town Eureka. Connie Stewart, the Executive Director of Initiatives at Cal Poly Humboldt, spoke in support of the center at a special city council meeting on Wednesday, February 9. “It’s a multi-modal transit center,” said Stewart during a Zoom interview. “Similar to what a lot of other communities have built long ago, which is creating a space for efficient transportation for folks that use alternative transportation, combining it with housing and shopping and other amenities.” With housing being a top issue as the campus expands to become a Cal Poly, the president and leadership have all been involved in advocacy to expand housing and increase transportation accessibility, with this example being a clear and direct advocacy win.
>>Supporting news article: https://www.yournec.org/new-earth-center-approved-for-old-town-eureka/

In addition, the campus President wrote a letter of advocacy to the County Board of Supervisors asking them to "consider joining Humboldt State University in the CalForest WRX3S Alliance partnership....CalForest WRX3S is an alliance to address the myriad risks to communities in northwestern California that arise from an overabundance of small diameter trees and biomass on forest lands. This alliance convenes partners from government, private industry, tribes, and nonprofits to support an all-lands approach to promote forest health and community well-being. The key strategy we are convening around is creating economic drivers in emerging high-value forest product markets to encourage forest thinning." This is a clear example of policy advocacy and planning for resilience in our area.
See letter at https://drive.google.com/file/d/12TkgWmN6F7-rZZ4cMvle5eDjR776uL2A/view?usp=sharing

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level:
The California State University (CSU) participates in public policy through the State Relations & Advocacy Office which advocates through lobbying efforts on behalf of the CSU system. The CSU’s Advocacy and State Relations (ASR) team monitors all sustainability legislation that impacts the CSU specifically. It also participates in state-wide advocacy on issues such as climate change policy, energy efficiency, water resources and other utility issues that impact the operation and physical facilities. ASR and the Chancellor’s Office also work with the Governor’s Offices and are members of the Direct Access Customer Coalition (DACC) and the Alliance for Retail Markets advocacy groups to advocate for the best interest of the CSU on energy and sustainability efforts.

The CSU provides public comment, meets with legislative staff, and testifies at budget subcommittee hearings in order to express CSU support for regulatory initiatives and activities related to carbon emission reductions and climate resiliency.

The CSU’s advocacy, in collaboration with the Board of Trustees, work to ensure diverse stakeholders are represented and considered in decision-making processes.

In Calendar Year 2022, CSU engaged on two (2) specific bills pertaining to sustainability with the state legislature:

SB 155: Public resources trailer bill, contains historic infusions of funding for public resource projects, including wildfire & forest resilience, water & drought, climate resilience, sustainable agriculture, and energy.

AB 2232: School facilities: heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, requires a covered school, and request the University of California, to ensure that its HVAC system meets the minimum ventilation rates in effect at the time the building permit for installation of that HVAC system was issued. The bill would also require a covered school, and request the University of California, to install filtration that achieves specified minimum efficiency reporting values (MERV) levels, determined by the school to be feasible with the existing HVAC system, as provided. The bill would require, upon the next triennial update of the California Building Standards Code, the California Building Standards Commission and the Division of the State Architect to research, develop, and propose for adoption mandatory standards for carbon dioxide monitors in classrooms of a covered school and the University of California. By imposing new duties on local educational agencies, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level:
The California Energy Commission (CEC) and California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) held a joint convening of the Commissions (En Banc) to discuss tribal affairs at Cal Poly Humboldt with Regional Administrator for the US EPA Martha Guzman present, active and acting as a speaker at the event. During this first-of-its-kind event, Native American Tribal Leaders came together with State and National Commissioners from multiple agencies to share perspectives and priorities on advancing clean energy in Indigenous territories and for Tribes. The campus hosted the event, demonstrating their advocacy and support for issues, and Schatz researchers also helped coordinate the event and sat on panels. The President endorsed the goal of the meeting (for regulators to support the development and implementation of expanding clean energy in Tribal territories) in his opening remarks for the day. Outcomes of the En Banc meeting include the state developing a policy to allocate $500 million to help bring clean energy to Tribes and crafting a Tribal Energy Resolution. It remains to be seen what the national or EPA level outcomes might be from the event.
Meeting announcement: https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/events-and-meetings/en-banc-tribal-2023-03-02
Agenda: https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/-/media/cpuc-website/industries-and-topics/meeting-documents/agenda-tribal-en-banc-march-2-2023.pdf

>>Event demonstrates clear local advocacy with representation from local Tribal leadership and local governments.
>>Event demonstrates clear state advocacy, having been convened by State Agencies CEC and CPUC, and with speakers from these agencies.
>>Event demonstrates national advocacy because Regional Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 9 Pacific Southwest, Martha Guzman was a significant participant and spoke about issues having relevance and need across all Indigenous communities throughout the US. With her presence, any/all discussion is positioned as national advocacy to EPA leadership.
>>Agenda item "Advanced Renewable Energy Microgrids Serving Tribal Community Needs" was facilitated by Schatz Energy Researchers and Cal Poly Humboldt faculty Peter Alstone and Arne Jacobson who significantly advocated that more money be allocated to Tribal nations for microgrids.

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level:

A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):

A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability advocacy efforts is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
There were several entries related to policy advocacy that did not end up meeting STARS criteria for the credit by reviewers. These are:

Relating to local advocacy but not meeting STARS criteria is:
Redwood Coast Airport Microgrid (RCAM)
Quote from the Schatz Center website (http://schatzcenter.org/acv/): “As the first multi-customer microgrid in the Pacific Gas & Electric service territory, this project will provide a test bed for the policies, tariff structures, and operating procedures necessary to integrate microgrids into California’s electric grid. Lessons learned will help create a road map for microgrid interconnection across the state.”

The microgrid was designed and developed by SERC, it will be owned by the RCEA and it will run power lines owned by PG&E. A ribbon cutting event took place on July 7th, 2021 where the following people were in attendance: SERC founding director, RCEA executive director and Chair, US Rep Jared Huffman, HSU President Tom Jackson, and other SERC, PG&E and RCEA members. Articles were published regarding the event such as the one from the RCEA here: https://redwoodenergy.org/100-renewable-microgrid-takes-off-at-airport-in-humboldt-county/.

Relating to state/provincial/regional advocacy, the following items were found to not meet criteria by STARS reviewers but are worth mentioning as they are campus actions that have informed policy at many levels:
1. HumboldtNow Article: HSU Scientist Helps Fishing Industry Set Sustainable Catch Limits (March 19th, 2021)
The work of Andre Buchheister, a professor of Fisheries Biology at HSU, and collaborator David Chagris from University of Florida, on Atlantic menhaden fish helped inform commercial catch limits on Atlantic menhaden fish. Menhaden fish are a critical food source for fish, whales and birds and are the largest catch, by volume, on the Atlantic coast for use in fish oil supplements, livestock feed, and dog food. Buchhesiter and Chagris developed two models, that account for 17 and 61 species groups respectively, that predict how the ecosystem would change depending on different levels of menhaden fishing. The 17 species model helped develop a new menhaden fishing rate that accounts for predator needs which was implemented by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASFMC).[1]
HSU Scientist Helps Fishing Industry Set Sustainable Catch Limits. Mar 19, 2021. http://now.humboldt.edu/news/hsu-scientist-helps-fishing-industry-set-sustainable-catch-limits/
Other Useful Information:
Advancing Ecological Points for Menhaden Using an Ecosystem Model. Oct 1, 2018. https://www.lenfestocean.org/en/news-and-publications/fact-sheet/advancing-ecological-reference-points-for-menhaden-using-an-ecosystem-model
This news article was published by the Lenfest Ocean Program who funded Buchheuster and Chagaris’s research.

2. HumboldtNow Achievements: October 18th, 2020 - Eve Robinson and Nicholas Som, Biological Sciences
“Eve Robinson (Department of Biological Sciences) and Nicholas Som (Department of Fisheries Biology; USFWS) co-authored an article in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management, titled “Prevalence of infection in hatchery-origin Chinook Salmon correlates with abundance of Ceratonova shasta spores: implications for management and disease risk”. Their research was motivated by questions the State raised about potential linkages between hatchery fish and disease risk, and results from this work were published earlier this year in time to be used by decision-makers in timing the release of hatchery smolts in the Klamath River.”[1]
https://cnrs.humboldt.edu/achievements?page=4 (midway down page)
Other Useful Information:
Here is the link to their full research paper: https://afspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/nafm.10456?casa_token=Z0Xe6Ye_KasAAAAA%3AJK-6g_9T8fC8yZeiQp9silcFwcTRpDlFtfN934_WcAdB8cwFTiSE7PwrvruGDWW6sFQED6Nl0QP1DBLI

3. Online Week of ACTION for Mobilizing California Water Justice put on by Save California Salmon and HSU NAS department
There were five presentations from October 19th to October 23rd 2020. Each presentation discussed different topics: Dismantle Environmental Racism, Learn Where Your Water Comes From, Fight For Clean Water, Halt Water Privatization, and Undam the Klamath. At the end of each presentation, a google document was provided detailing petitions to sign, places to donate, information to tweet/post/share and phone numbers/email addresses of government officials. Some of the action items for attendees included the following:
-Demand increase accessibility and participation in decision making process and demand increased tribal representation on CA Water Board
-Tell Gavin Newsom and Army Corp of Engineers that communities in CA do not want the Delta Tunnel which would divert water from the Sacramento and Trinity Rivers and decimate ecology and flows of the Bay Delta
-Write to a regional water board to urge them to make controlling agricultural pollution and pesticides a top priority
-Write to Senator Mike McGuire that you support the Natural Resource Agency Budget which would fund tribal fire programs, prescribed burning and much more
-Write to Governor Gavin Newsom that you support University of California System Endowment to donate 1% of their returns to indigenous groups

4. HumboldtNow Article: “Save the Redwoods League and HSU Research Confirms Redwood’s Role in Climate Change” (April 30th, 2020)
Professor Stephen C. Sillet is the Kenneth L. Fisher Chair of Redwood Forest Ecology in the College of Natural Resources & Sciences at Humboldt State University. He conducted research with other researchers from Save the Redwoods League about the important role Redwoods play in fighting against climate change. Researcher says “Just as exciting is the fact that young redwood forests can accumulate biomass at rates even faster than old-growth stands—with trees surpassing 200 feet tall in less than a century. Our research shows that investing in redwoods’ restoration—in particular helping to set second-growth forests on the trajectory to old-growth characteristics—would have tangible carbon benefits,” and “These RCCI results are provided as policymakers in California and all over the world are exploring the potential of natural solutions to the climate change crisis, particularly the role forests play in storing carbon in their wood as they grow. California’s current strategy for meeting its ambitious goals for reducing global greenhouse gases identifies an important role for natural and working lands. In 2019, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change also issued a special report on the outsized role that forest conservation and restoration can play in addressing climate change." (a quote taken from the Humboldt State Now article here: https://now.humboldt.edu/news/save-the-redwoods-league-and-hsu-research-confirms-redwoods-role-in-climate )

5. Times Standard News Article: Eureka’s Natalie Arroyo to serve on Klamath River restoration nonprofit
Environmental Science & Management instructor and Eureka City Councilmember Natalie Arroyo will serve as a board member for the organization heading the Klamath River’s restoration, the governor’s office announced Friday.
Arroyo will be one of 15 board members serving the Klamath River Renewable Corporation, a nonprofit tasked with overseeing the removal of four Klamath dams. She is one of five board members appointed by the governor.
Read more at https://www.times-standard.com/2019/11/22/eurekas-natalie-arroyo-to-serve-on-klamath-river-restoration-nonprofit/ .

In addition, a policy related project at the national level is similar to #1-5 above that were found to not meet "advocacy" criteria by STARS reviewers but are campus actions that stand to significantly inform policy:
>>Published in journal Energy Policy: How the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard could use garbage to pay for electric vehicles
Authors were Cal Poly Humboldt staff, faculty and students: Amin Younes, Kevin R. Fingerman, Cassidy Barrientos, Jerome Carman, Karly Johnson, Eli S.Wallach
From the article abstract: “The U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a key federal program shifting the nation's transportation fuel mix towards lower-carbon alternatives. A 2014 update to the standard included certain types of renewable electricity as qualifying fuels, supporting vehicle electrification within the RFS for the first time. This study investigates the potential under existing regulatory authority to expand deployment of low-carbon waste-to-electricity pathways, yielding revenue that could be used to subsidize electric vehicle (EV) sales or to support other RFS-aligned climate and transport-sector goals. We find that by accounting for drivetrain efficiency in credit allocation and creating a centralized entity to accrue credits, the RFS could generate $8.7 to $24 billion in revenues annually that could be used to provide EV subsidies of $3600 to $9200 or to otherwise accelerate transport electrification.”

International policy work found to not meet "advocacy" criteria but seems worth mentioning including:

From Schatz Energy Research Center (SERC):
1. Researchers from SERC worked to establish Lighting Global findings and policy recommendations as follows:
The 2020 Global Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report from Lighting Global
Read more at https://schatzcenter.org/2020/03/lg-2020mtr/
Read the full report at https://www.lightingglobal.org/resource/2020markettrendsreport/
From the website: “Every two years, Lighting Global releases a comprehensive state of the industry analysis — the Global Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report. This document takes a deep dive into market dynamics and projections, and maps investment and policy opportunities.”
SERC assists in developing this research and associated reports.

2. Lighting Global Quality Standards set the international baseline level of quality, durability, and truth in advertising to protect consumers.
Read more about the webinar in which findings were discussed: http://schatzcenter.org/2019/05/lgstandards-webinar/
Read the full standards document at https://www.lightingglobal.org/quality-assurance-program/our-standards/
On May 13, Schatz Center Director Arne Jacobson will present on proposed changes to the Lighting Global Quality Standards / IEC 62257-13-1. The proposed changes include increased battery and PV safety requirements, and additional labeling and performance reporting requirements. Following the presentation, Dr. Jacobson will be joined by Jit Bhattacharya of Fenix International and Stephan Lux of Fraunhofer ISE for a panel discussion

3. Off-grid conferences in Amsterdam
Read more http://schatzcenter.org/2019/06/gogla-amsterdam/
From the article cited above: “During the conference, [SERC researchers] met with company representatives from new and established companies to discuss current and future changes to the Lighting Global Quality Assurance program. [Researchers] also attended sessions on GOGLA’s policy advocacy work and consumer protection efforts, and new technologies being developed for pay-as-you-go providers.

4. Cal Poly Humboldt co-hosted an advocacy discussion with California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara at UN COP 27 to "reposition insurance to combat climate change" and to encourage other governments and global entities to follow suit. From the press release: "Endorsed by the UN Secretary-General and insurance industry CEOs, the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI) serve as a global framework for the insurance industry to address environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities—and a global initiative to strengthen the insurance industry’s contribution as risk managers, insurers and investors to building resilient, inclusive and sustainable communities and economies on a healthy planet." The live discussion took place during the U.N. COP 27 climate meeting in Sharm-El-Sheik, Egypt, with Commissioner Lara, Butch Bacani of U.N. PSI, and California environmental leaders.
Read a press release at https://www.insurance.ca.gov/0400-news/0100-press-releases/2022/release080.cfm, event listed at https://www.unepfi.org/industries/insurance/psi-cop27-sustainable-insurance-series/.
Our campus was a co-host of the event and Dr. Eric Riggs, Dean of the College of Natural Resources and Sciences, Cal Poly Humboldt was a speaker at the event.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.