The UCSB campus has become even more environmentally friendly than usual as it goes green for the 8th Annual UC, CSU, CCC Sustainability Conference.
UCSB has been hosting the four-day conference, which ends today, since Sunday. While the main theme of the conference is sustainability, the individual workshops concentrate on topics such as zero waste, student-run environmental programs, energy efficiency and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design accomplishments.
Monday’s presentations on student-run recycling programs and office and building greening programs drew students from across California’s university system. The conference also offers workshops, plenary addresses, tours and activities related to environmental consciousness.
Polly Jewett, a fourth year business economic major, attended the student recycling program to become more aware of campus conservation efforts.
“I think it is something that is really relevant to me, my friends and the campus community,” Jewett said. “It is very important to know the different sustainability programs offered on campus so that we can utilize them as much as possible, making them effective.”
The sold-out conference – entitled “Working Our Way to Zero” – was also available via free webcasts and podcasts. According to a press release, this year’s conference aims to be the greenest of all previous conferences by providing countless recycling opportunities, serving vegan and organic food during meal times and offering online, paper-free editions of conference materials.
As a part of the Waste Reduction and Recycling Track, students were able to get involved through the Student-Run Recycling Programs. The UCSB and CSU Chico Associated Students Recycling Programs and CSU Northridge were also represented at the discussion.
UCSB Associated Students Recycling Program Coordinator Ryan Kintz was unavailable for his presentation, but a substitute speaker relayed Kintz’s lecture on his behalf. According to the slideshow, A.S. Recycling currently has 14 route-riders who collect and sort trash from the 90 recycling cluster bins around campus. The campus program also hopes to employ bio-diesel trucks in the future, create book-recycling programs, establish plant restoration projects and produce a styrofoam-free campus.
However, these greening efforts aren’t limited to the UCSB campus. According to Kintz’s presentation, the A.S. Department of Public Worms has instituted a vermicomposting program – the process of using worms to break down organic waste into soil and fertilizer – to compost waste in Isla Vista’s People’s Park.
Jewett said one of the most surprising figures included in the presentation was the fact that the campus is already 50 percent sustainable.
“This conference has been so informative,” Jewett said. “I learned about programs I didn’t know about. It was interesting to learn that we were already 50 percent waste-free and doing our best to reach 100 percent within the decade.”
Aside from attending on-campus events, conference goers also had the opportunity to stargaze in the mountains Monday night. This trip employed Zimride’s Rideshare Program, which helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere by encouraging carpooling.
According to Jewett, UCSB is the ideal campus to put on the conference.
“It’s really cool that UCSB is hosting it because we are an environmentally aware community and this just shows how willing we are to prove it,” Jewett said.
The conference concludes today at 3 p.m. Today’s workshops include “Understanding LEED Project Costs and Returns,” from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Harbor Room, the “3rd Annual Beyond Fire Workshop,” from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Bren Hall 1414, and “Using LEED CI to Green Campus Renovation Projects” from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the State Street Room. To register for the web casts and podcasts, visit http://sustainability.ucsb.edu/conference/webcasting.php.