2007 Campus Sustainability Assessment released

To: UCSC Community

From: Chancellor Blumenthal and Vice Chancellor Vani

Last year we announced the launch of UCSC's first Campus Sustainability Assessment. We are now pleased to announce its completion. To download the report, please visit the campus sustainability website:


The report helps us and the larger community better understand our sustainability related successes and identifies areas for improvement in sustainability efforts. It also establishes a basis for measuring progress over time. It is the work of over 60 staff, faculty, and students who pooled their collective knowledge to create this important milestone in building a sustainable campus.

This Assessment illuminates a number of striking features regarding UCSC's commitment to sustainability. Some of the greatest successes have been in the areas of energy, food, land preservation, transportation, water, and curriculum and co-curricular opportunities. For example:

* Since 2006, and thanks to UCSC students, UCSC purchases 100% of its energy from renewable sources, making it the 6th largest renewables purchaser in higher education in the United States.

* Over 60% of campus commuters use alternatives to single occupancy vehicles and UCSC has won several awards for its innovative transportation programs. These include a bike shuttle, vanpools, student bus passes, and a carsharing program.

* 55% of campus land is designated as protected natural landscape.

* According to a recent water audit, water consumption per capita fell 40% since the 1980's.

* Approximately 25% of produce served in dining halls is organic, with much of it coming from local providers.

* From the integration of campus and forest, to the avoidance of air conditioners for comfort, to the use of small-scale storm water conveyance systems that protect the natural environment, building and land use design has long prioritized environmental stewardship.

* The campus has won national and international recognition for innovative student learning opportunities such as the Education for Sustainable Living Program and the College 8 Environmental Service Learning Project.

While the campus celebrates its many successes, this Assessment also identifies areas that can be targeted for improvement in the coming years. In particular, there is room for improvement in recycling diversion rates, purchasing practices, and in overall planning for long-term sustainability goals.

* The UC Policy on Sustainable Practices includes many ambitious goals for Environmentally Preferable Purchasing. The campus will need to work to implement this policy in the coming years.

* The waste diversion rate is currently 32%, below the stated goal of 50% by 2008. The UC Policy on Sustainable Practices goal to achieve 75% by 2012 will take a concerted effort.

* While the campus has initiated several committees and a Pilot Sustainability Office, there is work to be done to create a shared and comprehensive vision for how to best to build on early successes so ensure UCSC will remain a leader in sustainability.

In addition, UCSC has made a strong commitment to sustainability as evidenced by the signing of the Climate Compact with the local city and county governments, UC participation in the American College and Universities Presidents Climate Commitment, and the formation of the Chancellor's Council on Climate Change. The Council is currently developing a Climate Action Plan, expected by the end of calendar year 2008, that will establish our timeline for achieving carbon neutrality.

We are issuing this report in honor of Earth Day 2008 to emphasize how important it is to us that UCSC be a truly "green" campus community. For more information or to request a hard copy for public display, please visit the campus sustainability website: http://sustainability.ucsc.edu or contact our Sustainability Coordinator, Aurora Winslade, at sustain@ucsc.edu.