Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 79.54
Liaison Kelli O'Day
Submission Date June 20, 2023

STARS v2.2

University of California, Davis
PRE-2: Points of Distinction

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete N/A Camille Kirk
Director of Sustainability and Campus Sustainability Planner
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s featured sustainability program, initiative, or accomplishment:
Student-Led Sustainability

A brief description of the institution’s featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:

UC Davis is notable for the depth and breadth of student-led initiatives that advance, support, and educate about sustainability on campus, before anyone really started using the word “sustainability.” Students, empowered by staff and faculty, enjoy using our campus as a living lab. The Arboretum’s Learning by Leading program allows students to gain leadership experience by working in teams to solve problems related to environmental sustainability. From helping to form the Arboretum in the 1930’s to creating a certified organic Student Farm and the campus/city bus system (Unitrans) with student drivers and dispatchers, building eco-housing on campus (Domes, Tri-Coops), starting the largest student-run restaurant in the nation (the ASUCD Coffee House), and today running the Campus Center for the Environment, Project Compost, and Aggie Reuse Store. Our Climate Action Fellows engage all of our campus community in better understanding the climate crisis and what we can all do to reduce our impact. The Green Initiative Fund majority-student committee awards grants for campus sustainability projects, most of which are student-led projects. Students have pushed our Board of Regents and University system to adopt a sustainable practices policy and re-evaluate current climate action policies, established the Environmental Sustainability Student Coalition, and keep a close eye on whether we are meeting our sustainability goals through active journalism in the student newspaper. Student engagement is critical to our success in improving our campus sustainability, and vital to our collective future. We would like to acknowledge our students as our first Point of Distinction.

UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden’s Learning by Leading Program: https://arboretum.ucdavis.edu/learning-by-leading

UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden: https://arboretum.ucdavis.edu/

UC Davis Student Farm: https://asi.ucdavis.edu/programs/sf

ASUCD Coffee House: https://coffeehouse.ucdavis.edu/

Campus Center for the Environment: https://cce.ucdavis.edu/

Aggie Reuse Store: https://aggiereuse.ucdavis.edu/

Climate Action Fellows: https://sustainability.ucdavis.edu/get-involved/cni-fellowship

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF): https://tgif.ucdavis.edu/

UC Sustainable Practices Policy: https://ucop.edu/sustainability/policy-areas/index.html

Environmental Sustainability Student Coalition: https://sustainability.ucdavis.edu/get-involved/essc

The California Aggie (student newspaper): https://theaggie.org/

Which of the following impact areas does the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement
Coordination & Planning

Website URL where more information about the accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment is reported (if applicable):

A photograph or document associated with the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:

Name of a second highlighted sustainability program/initiative/accomplishment:
Collaboration & Equity

A brief description of the second program/initiative/accomplishment:

Shifting our systems towards greater sustainability and resilience cannot happen without collaboration and consideration of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice impacts. UC Davis excels at interdisciplinary and collaborative work. We have a robust Diversity, Equity and Inclusion office to address social sustainability and engage everyone in creating solutions that are inclusive, equitable, and embrace the strength of diversity.

UC Davis was one of the first universities to release a Voluntary University Review on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which established baseline progress for the campus in addressing the SDGs and promoted awareness around the 17 goals. The report is the result of a joint effort between three campus offices: UC Davis Global Affairs, Sustainability, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. UC Davis Grand Challenges coordinated with the three offices to offer Grants for Advancing SDGs, which supports interdisciplinary affiliations between faculty in order to address sustainability challenges outlined in the SDG agenda.

UC Davis is building resiliency into campus plans and activities in order to increase equity. Collaboration between campus units and with local community members and stake holders is a key aspect of resiliency planning. We initiated Healthy Davis Together, a campus-city partnership that went into effect at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to decrease the spread of the virus and ease the return to regular activities. We hosted town halls related to various climate action policy and planning efforts to provide the UC Davis community a chance to share feedback. A Climate & Environmental Justice Fellow collaborated with the Sustainability office to research and establish tools for embedding climate equity and environmental justice into climate action planning efforts. The UC Davis Climate Adaptation Research Center, established in 2019, strives to facilitate multidisciplinary academic research and inform policy to achieve a resilient and equitable world.

DEI Office: https://diversity.ucdavis.edu/

Healthy Davis Together: https://healthydavistogether.org/

Town Halls: https://sustainability.ucdavis.edu/sustainability-events/town-halls

UC Davis Climate Adaptation Research Center: https://climateadaptation.ucdavis.edu/

Which impact areas does the second program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Diversity & Affordability
Wellbeing & Work

Website URL where more information about the second program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the second program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):

A photograph or document associated with the second program/initiative/accomplishment:

Name of a third highlighted program/initiative/accomplishment:
Climate Action

A brief description of the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

UC Davis is making significant investments towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel use. The Campus Advisory Committee on Sustainability was established to bring together academic programs, capital planning, and campus operational interests to advise on advancements in sustainability at UC Davis. The committee was charged to prepare a plan to end fossil fuel use on both the UC Davis and UC Davis Health campuses, the first plan of its kind in the University of California system.

The first phase of a large construction project to convert our heating system from steam to hot water called The Big Shift was completed. The project is moving the campus closer to meeting zero carbon emissions goals. Zero-emission buses on campus are also contributing to these goals. Unitrans, a campus/city bus system operated by students, added six all-electric buses to its fleet and has a plan to add eight more in the next year. The Causeway Connection, an all-electric bus service running between Davis and Sacramento campuses, offers free rides to UC Davis affiliates.

UC Davis is taking innovative approaches to the campus landscape to adapt to climate change. A study on “Climate-Ready Trees” is testing drought tolerant trees with special benefits for urban landscaping, such as shading, on campus and at regional parks. Sheepmowers are maintaining the campus landscape in an experiment to test the multiple benefits of using sheep to mow grass.

Campus Advisory Committee on Sustainability (CACS): https://sustainability.ucdavis.edu/about/cacs

The Big Shift: https://bigshift.ucdavis.edu/

Unitrans: https://unitrans.ucdavis.edu/

Article about Unitrans bus electrification: https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/unitrans-ready-flip-switch

Causeway Connection: https://taps.ucdavis.edu/causewayconnection

Climate-Ready Tree study: https://climatereadytrees.ucdavis.edu/

Sheepmowers: https://arboretum.ucdavis.edu/sheep-mowers

Which impact areas does the third program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Air & Climate

Website URL where more information about the third program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the third program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):

A photograph or document associated with the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

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.