Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Supporting a sustainable future

Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970, and is now an international event every April 22nd. Many celebrate an entire week of activities to highlight our critical and precious natural resources.  One of the things I love most about the UCSC mission and cultural values is the focus on sustainability. We all have a responsibility for stewardship of our natural resources. This value was at the forefront of the "In My Shoes" day I spent with the Sustainability Office.

An art installation in the Sustainability Office welcomes visitors.


Part of a larger system
The entire University of California system places a high priority on sustainability. There are systemwide goals articulated across several areas, including water, waste and carbon neutrality. As part of my day with the Sustainability Office, I participated in the systemwide sustainability officers call. It is crucial that our BAS team members engage with our colleagues across the system to find opportunities for partnership and vet ideas for how we can achieve our goals.

Students leading the way
Stewardship of the environment resonates very strongly with our students. During my time with the Sustainability Office, I helped some of our student workers table at McHenry Library. Tabling is one of the many mechanisms used to spread the word about the sustainability efforts at UCSC and connect with others who share a passion for the topic. We have many students who work in BAS across a wide swath of functions. These students serve in vital roles as we seek to connect with our student body and understand how we can support them.

Tabling with students who work in the Sustainability Office

Advancing green lab operations
The Sustainability Office performs Green Lab Certifications, and I participated in one during my day with the team. Labs are reviewed for implementation of sustainable practices and are given guidance about how they can improve in this area. The template developed by UCSC is also being used elsewhere in the UC system as an effective tool to advance these efforts at other campuses. In addition to lab reviews, the Sustainability Office also conducts Green Office certifications. I have had my office certified, and I have articulated a goal that all BAS units go through the certification process as well.  You can learn more at http://sustainability.ucsc.edu/get-involved/student-projects/greenoffices/.

Conducting a Green Lab certification
I really enjoyed my time with the sustainability team, and I appreciate all that they do to advance this critical aspect of campus life. To learn more about the Sustainability Office, check out their website at http://sustainability.ucsc.edu/. You also can subscribe to their newsletter at at http://sustainability.ucsc.edu/news-events/newsletters/.

A Slug I am,
Sarah

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