Earth Month at the Beach

Published April 10, 2024

Dear Beach Community,

April is Earth Month at the Beach, a time to recognize and celebrate the many ways that environmental protection and climate action are part of our campus culture while recommitting ourselves to do more to live in harmony with our beautiful planet. 

The Beach has much to be proud of when it comes to our sustainability efforts. We have moved closer to our Climate Action and Adaptation Plan goals by increasing renewable energy production on campus, becoming the first and only university to construct new buildings using the incredibly ambitious Living Building Challenge standard, transitioning our campus fleet and landscape equipment to electric, and expanding programs for diverting organic waste from landfill. On the academic side, 84% of departments now offer courses in which students have the opportunity to learn about sustainability, thanks in part to the nearly 100 faculty who have taken part in workshops offering pedagogical strategies for integrating climate justice and sustainability topics into their classes. You can see some of our students’ sustainability-related projects at the upcoming Green Generation Showcase at the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden.  

While the university is always taking steps to move our sustainability efforts forward, we know it is important to empower all of you to get involved as well. That’s why the Office of Sustainability and my Presidential Commission on Sustainability recently launched several new programs, and there is truly something for everyone!

Graduating students are invited to take part in the Green Grad Campaign, which encourages students to make a commitment to prioritizing sustainability during commencement season and beyond. 

Continuing students can apply to be part of the first cohort of Sustainability Fellows, a new leadership program designed to increase students’ environmental knowledge, build their resumes, and allow them to give back to their communities (applications are also being accepted for the Faculty Lead position to support this program). 

Staff and faculty can join the Sustainability Champions program, a network of employee leaders who meet for monthly lunch-and-learn sessions, workshops, and field trips to increase their personal awareness so they can effectively promote sustainable practices within their area of campus. 

Lastly, anyone involved in event planning is encouraged to learn ways to minimize the impact of their on-campus events by becoming trained as a Green Events Host

I hope you will take some time this Earth Month to consider how your actions, big and small, can contribute to a greener, healthier, and more equitable world. 

Go Beach! Go Green!

Jane Close Conoley, Ph.D.