Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 63.09
Liaison Elida Erickson
Submission Date April 17, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of California, Santa Cruz
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Shauna Casey
Sustainability Programs Manager
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing the campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in the following areas?:
Yes or No
Air & Climate Yes
Buildings Yes
Dining Services/Food Yes
Energy Yes
Grounds Yes
Purchasing Yes
Transportation Yes
Waste Yes
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance ---
Diversity & Affordability Yes
Health, Wellbeing & Work ---
Investment ---
Public Engagement ---
Other ---

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Air & Climate and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

In 2006 UCSC students passed Measure 26, taxing themselves to buy Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) in order to offset the climate impact of campus electricity purchases. In 2010 UCSC students changed the use of the funds through the passage of Measure 44. The amendment allowed funds to be used for on-site renewables and energy efficiency projects that will directly reduce our campus’ carbon footprint. This created UCSC’s Carbon Fund to be a new point of pride and leverage in reducing UCSC’s carbon footprint. The Fund works towards recreating UCSC as an operationally carbon neutral campus while providing faculty with an opportunity for research and students with the tools they need to move towards a more sustainable future. The Fund is managed by a student committee and, to date, has funded 44 projects and a total of $409,417. To learn more about individual projects visit the Project Clearinghouse at http://projectclearinghouse.ucsc.edu/ and search for climate or the Carbon Fund website at http://sustainability.ucsc.edu/get-involved/funding/carbon-fund/about/index.html.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Buildings and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The LEED GOLD certified Cowell Student Health Center features signage for the building that highlights its green building features. The Cowell Student Health Center was LEED Gold Certified in January 2011, and is the only facility on campus that is entirely student-funded. Education and outreach efforts for the Health Center engaged students, staff and faculty in future green building projects, as well as to bring transparency to the use of student referendum funds. This project set a precedent for student involvement in green buildings on campus. To learn more about individual projects visit the Project Clearinghouse at http://projectclearinghouse.ucsc.edu/ and search for Buildings category.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Dining Services/Food and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

UCSC Dining has taken the initiative to provide our students with plenty of local and organic foods. Aside from merely incorporating these more sustainable food into our menu, they also make sure to bring customers’ attention to the reasons why we choose these (sometimes more costly) items. They post an array of signage in each of the dining halls to accomplish this informative publicity. One sign highlights 10 reasons to choose organic. Another, larger, poster explains the purpose for choosing the fair trade direct coffee bought from the Community and Agroecology Network. Several fliers are dedicated to addressing the correlation between the distance and production process of foods, and their respective carbon footprints. And we also bring attention to the Real Food Challenge which revolves around incorporating sustainable food systems in higher education and high schools. Lastly, we also encourage students to minimize waste through our signage. We help our students recognize the value in preventing food waste by sampling, taking only what will actually be eaten, and recognizing that even though we compost our food scraps, this is still an energy intensive process. All of these outreach efforts are led by our campus Foodies (student staff position in Dining Services), a Chancellor's Undergraduate Intern, a Provost's Sustainability Intern and interns from the Food Systems Working Group. To learn more about individual projects visit the Project Clearinghouse at http://projectclearinghouse.ucsc.edu/ and search for food category.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Energy and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

In 2006 UCSC students passed Measure 26, taxing themselves to buy Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) in order to offset the climate impact of campus electricity purchases. In 2010 UCSC students changed the use of the funds through the passage of Measure 44. The amendment allowed funds to be used for on-site renewables and energy efficiency projects that will directly reduce our campus’ carbon footprint. This created UCSC’s Carbon Fund to be a new point of pride and leverage in reducing UCSC’s carbon footprint. The Fund works towards recreating UCSC as an operationally carbon neutral campus while providing faculty with an opportunity for research and students with the tools they need to move towards a more sustainable future. The Fund is managed by a student committee and, to date, has funded 44 projects and a total of $409,417. To learn more about individual projects visit the Project Clearinghouse at http://projectclearinghouse.ucsc.edu/ and search for climate and energy or the Carbon Fund website at http://sustainability.ucsc.edu/get-involved/funding/carbon-fund/about/index.html.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Grounds and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

UCSC Grounds Services unit has sponsored one Provost's Sustainability Intern a year, starting in 2012. To date interns have used campus grounds to learn about and develop a weed-management plan; outreach and education materials for habitat restoration of Younger Lagoon; and an invasive species management plan. To learn more about individual projects visit the Project Clearinghouse at http://projectclearinghouse.ucsc.edu/ and search for Land, Habitat, and Watershed category.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Purchasing and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

UCSC Procurement Services has hosted numerous Provost's Sustainability Interns since 2011. To date, interns have completed a LCA for frequently purchased office supplies; a catalog of environmentally preferred products; developed a greenwashing education program available to all campus staff through campus training services. To learn more about individual projects visit the Project Clearinghouse at http://projectclearinghouse.ucsc.edu/ and search for purchasing category.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Transportation and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Student Intern for Walk to Class Challenge 2014 and 2015 - student led event to promote walking as viable and sustainable form of transportation
Transportation Advisory Committee -- four undergrad, 2 graduate seats on advisory committee regarding all modes of transportation on campus and policy issues
Sustainable Transportation Working Group - participation has varied
Bike Library -- student leader coordinates this program each year
Bike intern completed the bike friendly award application
To learn more about individual projects visit the Project Clearinghouse at http://projectclearinghouse.ucsc.edu/ and search for transportation category.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Waste and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

UCSC has sponsored several Provost's Sustainability Interns to work on waste reduction efforts since 2011. To date, interns have started a compost and recycling program at Student Housing; started waste education pilot programs at several of the residential colleges; created a campus-wide, formalized system for Zero Waste Events that promotes and encourages waste reduction and waste diversion; completed a waste assessment and education pilot program to bring UCSC’s McHenry Library as close to being a zero waste facility as possible and create a waste reduction intervention that could be duplicated at other buildings on campus among other projects. To learn more about individual projects visit the Project Clearinghouse at http://projectclearinghouse.ucsc.edu/ and search for waste and recycling category.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Water and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Students have used the campus as a laboratory to learn about and practice direct advocacy around water issues including developing Take Back the Tap, a student organization focused on eliminating the sale of single use water bottle at UCSC and Drop Your Own Drip campaign, to educate students about their personal water consumption and motivate them to change their everyday behaviors to reduce their use. In addition, the Sustainability Office's student Drought Response team has worked with grounds services to identify leaks and areas for retrofits to reduce waste and to educate the campus about water conservation. To learn more about individual projects visit the Project Clearinghouse at http://projectclearinghouse.ucsc.edu/ and search for water category.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Coordination, Planning & Governance and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Diversity & Affordability and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion offers internships to students in the Professional Career Development Program. Student interns participate in work that advances the University’s teaching, research and service mission and commitment to excellence by working collaboratively with others throughout the institution to promote a campus climate that values diversity, equity and inclusion, and is free of bias and harassment. Initiatives and activities are designed to cultivate a climate in which all students, staff and faculty are treated fairly and able to thrive and succeed; and everyone including current affiliates, alumni, supporters and community members is welcomed. Initiatives ensure that UC Santa Cruz is compliant with nondiscrimination and affirmative action policies and laws for staff and faculty, and all applicants and employees are afforded equal opportunity in employment.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Health, Wellbeing & Work and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Investment and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Public Engagement and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory in Other areas and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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The website URL where information about the institution’s campus as a living laboratory program or projects is available:

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.