Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 70.10
Liaison Francis Mitalo
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of California, Riverside
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Fortino Morales
Sustainability Officer
Office of Sustainability
"---" 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:
At the local level, UC Riverside fosters regional partnerships with elected officials, community-based organizations, businesses and individuals through town and gown events, strategic sponsorships, communications and participation in coalitions and collaboratives. As the campus grows, UCR is involved in advancing projects that align with the university’s mission and are consistent with the campus strategic plan, STEM Academy, Physical Master Plan Study and Long Range Development Plan. Sustainability is at the core of the interactions related to land-use and infrastructure planning. Campus has recently commenced efforts to work with the City and County of Riverside, chamber of commerce, regional workforce development, businesses and non-profits to plan for a Clean Tech Park. The University of California, Riverside (UCR) share an opportunity to create a world-renowned nexus for climate change and air quality research and innovation, based on several past and current investments. In 2016, the California Air Resource Board (CARB) voted to relocate its motor vehicle and engine emissions testing and research facility to Riverside this was a direct result of public policy advocacy efforts at the local and municipal level. As a result, a $419 million investment in sustainability over 400 knowledge-based jobs will locate in the Inland Empire. UCR's research center, the Inland Center for Sustainable Development (ICSD), works with local government, businesses, nonprofit institutions and other economic stakeholders to provide valuable, accurate and objective information. The center has sixteen years of experience analyzing and promoting sustainability efforts within our region. The center has three important goals as they relate to their research and service: 1. To coordinate sustainability efforts in land use, transportation, infrastructure, energy, water, public health, emergency response and resource management agencies. 2. To serve as a convening body to promote collaboration among decision-makers and practitioners in determining the best course of action for the region. 3. To facilitate, both within ICSD’s membership and with policy makers in the region, the exchange of information, including cutting-edge and locally relevant research initiatives, best practices, information management systems and education efforts. https://icsd.ucr.edu/mission

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:
UC State Government Relations (SGR) serves as the University’s primary representative to state elected officials and agencies, providing advocacy on legislation and public policies that provide for, extend, and enhance the University’s authority to conduct its business operations in a manner that is efficient and sustainable as well as advocating against measures that would limit this authority. As an example, during the 2017-2018 legislative session, the University of California supported SB 237, a bill to amend Section 365.1 of the Public Utilities Code relating to electricity. The bill requires the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to make changes to the direct access service program authorizing direct energy transactions between electricity suppliers and customers. The changes include a requirement to increase the annual maximum allowable limit of direct access service by 4,000 gigawatt hours for non-residential customers, as well as investigate the viability of a second direct service transactions reopening schedule. Ultimately, this bill helped give the University of California more autonomy over their electricity purchases. The bill was signed by the Governor on September 20, 2018. UC SGR also worked proactively with the authors of the proposed climate adaptation bonds in spring of 2020. While the bonds did not pass, UC staff were closely involved in their development within the California State Senate, the California State Assembly, and the Governor’s office. Had these proposals been approved, they resulting funds would have been spent primarily on building and retrofitting projects, as well as state grants to communities to prepare for the impacts of climate change. Annually, UC Riverside works with the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) Office of Federal and State Relations to establish a legislative platform. The platform is approved by the UC Regents with input by UCOP and UC Chancellors. At UC Riverside, the Chancellor works with the Office of Governmental Relations to establish campus legislative priorities. The 2020-2021 University of California budget request to the State of California includes a one-time funding request of $450 million for deferred maintenance and energy upgrade projects. In 2019, at the Federal level GCR helped UCR researchers avert a costly policy and budgetary decision. Strategic federal advocacy efforts resulted in removal of Farm Bill matching fund requirements for USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Special Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) enabling UCR to save $14M in matching fund costs. The new Director of Federal Relations has facilitated and coordinated an increased activity in Washington, D.C. including having faculty and Deans testify to Congress and engage with thinktanks. Building on UC Riverside’s mission, sustainability advocacy has been a top focus. Here is a comprehensive list of active bills and budget priorities at the federal level: https://www.ucop.edu/federal-governmental-relations/_files/budget/uc_fy2020_appropriations_tracker_32119.pdf In partnership with campus leadership, College Deans and the Office of Research and Economic Development (RED), GCR has been encouraging faculty and grant writers to seek contracts and research funding, specifically targeting areas where UCR has a competitive advantage such as the Department of Energy (DOE), Veteran's Affairs, California Department of Food and Agriculture and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). UCR relies on the federal government in three significant ways: student financial aid, federally funded research, and federally funded healthcare programs. UCR has significantly grown its research enterprise-- from $58.201 million in FY 2013 to $103.360 million in FY 2017 as a result of strategic investments and active federal advocacy. GCR engages with federal agencies, Congress and industry groups to advance scientific research and other campus priorities. Recent successes include $8 million in funding for a new BSL-3 facility, $8 million for a CDC Vector-Borne Disease Center of Excellence, and increased funding for citrus research and other research areas where UCR has a competitive advantage. GCR has also advocated on the federal issues including: reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and the Farm Bill, and other key federal issues such as immigration with an emphasis on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), tax reform legislation, research and capital funding. We have also engaged with our Congressional delegation to garner support for Graduate Medical Education (GME) through the Veteran’s Affairs administration. At the state level, we have focused on conveying that UCR is uniquely positioned to expand its research, education, and commercialization activities focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well as reducing toxic air contaminants and pollutants particularly in communities affected by high cumulative exposure. UCR is recognized for its longstanding leadership in basic and applied research on air quality and climate science, air pollution characterization and control, intelligent transportation systems, smart grids, renewable fuel and power production, agricultural operations, material science, and energy storage. UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering, together with our College of Natural and Agriculture Sciences, School of Medicine, and our School of Public Policy, proposes an investment in a Clean Technology Park adjacent to the CARB facility. The proposed investment will leverage the university’s existing strengths, the University of California’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative, the City of Riverside’s Innovation District, and the State of California’s investment in relocating the CARB facility on the UCR campus. The Clean Technology Park would be developed in collaboration with the City of Riverside and County of Riverside based in part on a UCR-funded attraction plan (see https://www.cert.ucr.edu/events/boa2018/HRAUCRIndustryAttractionStrategy.pdf). This attraction plan highlights the unique economic growth opportunity of locating clean technologies near CARB and UCR campus and is a main component of the campus’ larger initiative in economic development called OASIS (Opportunities to Advancing Sustainability, Innovation and Social Inclusion). The Clean Technology Park would house a set of shared facilities that convenes synergistic research talents and incubator space for development and technology transfer activities. Researchers from academia, industry, and regulatory agencies would interact to address today’s critical environmental topics. The objectives of the Clean Technology Park would be to: • Create synergies between academic, government, and commercial efforts on reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution; • Expand research, education and commercialization on air quality and technology that reduces greenhouse gases and other toxic air contaminants; • Gain a greater understanding of the health and environmental impacts of climate change and air quality; and • Reduce greenhouse gases and air pollutants in our region through deployment of pilot projects while supporting the economic growth of Inland Southern California. Building on existing research expertise and associated infrastructure at UCR, several unique laboratories would be created at the Clean Technology Park. For example: • A world-class atmospheric chamber facility that would enable transformative advances in fundamental atmospheric science and engineering, including interactions between anthropogenic, biogenic, and pyrogenic emissions and impacts on human and environmental ecosystems; • Immersive motor vehicle testing facilities that would enhance the capabilities of what is being established at the CARB facility; • Communications and data systems facilities for evaluating shared, electric, connected and automated vehicles and sustainable freight operations; • Material science engineering laboratories for developing next-generation sensors; and • Smart city energy and infrastructure testing facilities. Aging laboratories currently exist at UCR’s Bourns College of Engineering, Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT), an off-campus research center operating primarily in leased space. As an initial investment, a request of $20 million from the State of California would support the scoping, land purchase, planning, and design for the Park, and would lay the ground work for new infrastructure for CE-CERT and other affiliated UCR institutes. In addition, the initial investment would allow for early implementation of a comprehensive, on-going workforce preparation and training program beginning from the primary grades through community college and university systems to prepare local residents for employment at the CARB Riverside facility. The presence of the CARB facility near the UCR campus creates a unique opportunity for synergy and collaboration between such areas as vehicle and engine research and testing, health impacts of air pollution, teaching of students, cross training of employees, and the efficient and effective cross-utilization of UCR’s very sophisticated research laboratories and internationally recognized National Atmospheric Chamber. To foster this synergy and realize this significant potential, it is important that the existing 25-year old CE-CERT program be relocated from its present location to a location near the new CARB testing and research facility. One option for this re-location is along University Avenue, which could further the City of Riverside’s mission of urban renewal and redevelopment.

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:
UC Federal Government Relations is the University’s liaison to the federal government, working with Congress, the administration, federal agencies and national organizations to advocate for the University and its missions in education, research and public service. Examples include: -Convening UC faculty and staff to host Congressional briefings. Congressional briefings that highlight the impact of the University’s sustainability efforts on campus operations and showcase UC as a model for other institutions are a part of the University’s effort to demonstrate the value of investing in UC and advocate for the federal funding that supports the University’s energy and sustainability goals. -Participating in DC lobby days, including the annual Coalition for National Science Funding Day on Capitol Hill. Representatives from UC campuses attend meetings with members of Congress and their staff and contribute to the National Science Foundation (NSF) project exhibit. -On June 2, 2017, one day after the White House announced that the U.S. would be withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, the University of California released a statement affirming its commitments to the goals of the Paris agreement and doubling down on its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025. UC simultaneously launched a call to members of the UC community through the university’s UC Advocacy Network (UCAN) urging students to make pledges to support and work with California’s Governor, Congressional delegation, and state legislators to ensure that California and the UC system stay at the forefront of combating global climate change. -The UC System continues to pursue state cap-and-trade revenue and other sources of funding for campus energy-efficiency projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower future energy costs. Many of the proposed projects would also serve as highly visible demonstrations for state-of-the-art energy conservation technologies. UC supported the proposed $25 million allocation of cap-and-trade funds for the University included in the 2016-17 budget and requested additional funding to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects beyond the scope of the proposal that would have provided even greater environmental and economic benefits.

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:
On February 6, 2018, the University of California announced that it had assembled an international coalition of 13 research universities across the United States, Canada and Mexico – called the University Climate Change Coalition, or UC3 – who were committing to work together to galvanize local and regional action on climate change. Member institutions represent more than 1.5 million students across North America. The coalition will release a report in fall 2018 that will serve as a roadmap for how local, state, and federal lawmakers, higher education institutions, businesses and community leaders can work together to achieve ambitious, research-tested climate goals.

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:
Credit prepared by Michelle Baron and revised by Chelsea Lee.

Credit prepared by Michelle Baron and revised by Chelsea Lee.

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