UC Santa Cruz is recognized for exemplary environmental practices

UC Santa Cruz has received a prestigious Acterra 2010 Business Environmental Award for campus programs that prevent pollution and conserve resources. The award was presented to the campus during an evening ceremony on June 3 in Palo Alto.

Acterra's video of UCSC practices

UCSC staff and students are joined by Santa Cruz Mayor Mike Rotkin and City Councilwoman Katherine Beiers for a celebratory photo after receiving the award. (Photo: Verna Kirkendall)

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The campus's energy-efficiency, transportation, and waste prevention programs were cited by Acterra, as was the collaborative nature of sustainability activities and outreach on the UCSC campus.

"The University of California, Santa Cruz is well-deserving of this [award]," said Walt Hays, one of the judges. "The campus has integrated pollution prevention and sustainability into all of its departments and activities, thereby achieving significant environmental benefits."

Hays noted that UCSC has established ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, its students have voted to tax themselves to offset non-renewable energy use, more than 60 percent of campus commuters use alternative transportation, university dining halls buy local and organic food and use leftovers for compost, and the campus last year 'diverted' 90 percent of its construction waste and 73 percent of all waste.

Hays added that "faculty, staff, and students regularly share their methods at state and national workshops, and graduating students are prepared to model and teach pollution prevention wherever they go."

John Barnes, interim campus architect, attended the Acterra ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Cabana Hotel, accepting the Pollution Prevention/Resource Conservation Award on behalf of the campus.

"Sustainability and environmental stewardship are foundational principles for the University of California, Santa Cruz - and something we take very seriously," Barnes said. "Here today are representatives from Dining, Physical Plant, Transportation and Parking Services, Physical Planning and Construction, the Student Environmental Center and other student organizations, University Relations, Environmental Health and Safety, the SEED academic program, and the Campus Sustainability Office. These are just some of the many people at UCSC committed to creating a sustainable, healthy, and just future."

Added Aurora Winslade, UCSC's sustainability manager: "We received this award thanks to the hard work of so many staff, students, and faculty on our campus over many years and because of commitment from campus leaders to do the right thing for our planet and its people."

Joining UCSC staff and students at the ceremony were Santa Cruz Mayor Mike Rotkin and City Councilwoman Katherine Beiers. Barnes thanked the pair of city leaders for attending, saying that "our collaboration with the city and county are critical to our successes."

Acterra's Business Environmental Awards is one of the San Francisco Bay Area's oldest and most prestigious environmental recognition programs. Initiated in 1990, it is considered a heavyweight among award programs due to its rigorous application and judging process.

"Our awardees must demonstrate their environmental commitment and achievements through a careful vetting process," states Board President Laura Teksler. "In addition to a thorough written application, the top contenders must demonstrate their programs' merits firsthand to the judges during a visit to the applicants' facilities. By the time they are selected to receive our award, they have truly proven that their programs are 'setting the bar' in environmental leadership."

About Acterra: Action for a Healthy Planet

Acterra is a non-profit organization with a 40-year history of environmental programming in and around Silicon Valley. Acterra involves and educate individuals, businesses and communities to take action against global warming, restore natural habitats, and cultivate environmental leaders for the future. For more information visit www.acterra.org.