UC Berkeley receives 5 best practice awards for sustainability programs

Matthew Gibson/Staff

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UC Berkeley received five best practice awards for its sustainability programs during the the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, or CHESC, which occurred July 8–11 at UC Santa Barbara.

The CHESC is an annual event held with the purpose of highlighting research, case studies, operational programs and community partnerships. The conference’s goal is to be “a platform for California higher education vis-a-vis sustainability.” The event also served as a space for prizes to be awarded to universities and colleges around California.

One sustainable effort that campus was highlighted for was a DeCal — a lecture taught by students — called “Zero Waste: Solutions for a Sustainable Future.” The class features a curriculum covering themes such as personal waste reduction, the circular economy, industrialized food and climate change. The award for this effort was given to the UC Berkeley student who wrote the curriculum for the class, Sage Lenier.

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory was also recognized for its sustainable efforts with its advanced use of the SkySpark platform to support the ongoing commissioning process. In this process, the lab used SkySpark to support its approach to look for ways to identify, prioritize and fix operational problems that are wasting energy.

UC Berkeley has a tradition of being a venue for various student groups and different types of activism. During the CHESC, the Students of Color Environmental Collective was recognized for efforts involving giving students of color the opportunity to learn about environmental justice. On Feb. 2, the group conducted a conference that brought representatives, activists and leaders from various environmental sectors and community groups together to prioritize dialogue and action about marginalized groups that have been most impacted by environmental degradation.

The Facebook event page for the Students of Color Environmental Conference states that “the aim is to create belonging for and to uplift students of color in environmental spaces on campus and beyond.”

Herbicide Free UC, a group formed by students and professors at UC Berkeley to stop the use of toxic herbicide, was also recognized. The group raised awareness about the campus’s landscape needs and resources that groundskeepers require in order to lower the amount of herbicide used on campus, while promoting alternatives to herbicide.

Finally, Connie & Kevin Chou Hall in the Haas School of Business was the first academic building to receive the U.S. Green Building Council’s TRUE Zero Waste Platinum certification. The certification was given to the Haas building for communicating with the campus and the community, and for including operational coordination and leadership support into its certification process to work toward the university’s zero waste goals.

The awards were followed by speeches key people involved in each effort on July 9 and 10.

“Contact Yasmin Cristina Graeml at [email protected].”