SMC Represented at Statewide Sustainability Conference

A Santa Monica College team of eight students, three faculty, two staff, three administrators, and one trustee attended and made presentation at the 2008 UC/CSU/CCC Sustainability Conference at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

The statewide conference's intent was to find out the best practices, opportunities, successes, and challenges in making college campuses sustainable.

The conference, held the weekend of July 31- Aug. 3, was attended by three students, one professor and the college's recycling coordinator. Funding for the team was provided by the Global Citizenship Taskforce to bring back suggestions back to the college for ways to shift the culture on campus to environmental stewardship.

The conference sessions ranged from how to create green jobs, energy efficiency for new and existing buildings, and tours of the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Organic Farm, campus climate change policies, transportation policies, cafeteria food choices, and sustainability-focused curriculum.

At the conference's opening plenary, keynote speaker, Jerome Ringo, spoke about his involvement in the environmental justice movement after working for a petrochemical industry for 25 years.

"There are a lot of brains in this room, but without heart and passion not much gets done," said Jerome Ringo, the first African-American CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, and President of the Apollo Alliance.

Ringo was followed by California's Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, who inspired students to be bold and practical in transforming the University of California campuses "because civilization needs it."

A Santa Monica College student, faculty and administrator made a presentation on last year's experience of participating in the college's decision making process through DPAC and the college's efforts to reach the goals of the American College and University President's Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

The ACUPCC is a commitment signed by Dr. Tsang this past January to make the college carbon neutral as soon as possible.

At the DPAC presentation, "Working for Sustainability thru a More Democratic Shared Governance Process," attendees from Portland Community College to San Jose State related to the challenges students having at SMC in regard to sustainability policies yet they were impressed by SMC's Any Line, Any Time Transportation Program.

At the panel presentation, "The Presidents Climate Commitment: Good Intentions, Real Obstacles, Possible Solutions," Genevieve Bertone, SMC's Project Manager of Sustainability, presented on SMC's efforts to calculate its greenhouse emissions, a task demanded by the ACUPCC. Among the panelist were UC Berkeley's and UC San Francisco's Sustainability Directors.

The topics discussed were the challenges of calculating the greenhouse gases from transportation to campus and the transportation of construction materials. The completion of the campus quad, up coming construction of the Student Services and Administration Building,

Associated Students new director position (Director of Sustainability), and the college's new institutional student learning objective, are avenues where the team will continue to collaborate and demonstrate the practicality of building and teaching "green."

The SMC team also pans to present to the college community their recommendation this Fall.