Board Resolution for Climate Change & Sustainability

SMC Board Passes Resolution to Support Climate Change & Sustainability Goals

Action Follows California Community College Board of Governors’ Policy and Affirms College’s Commitment to Address Environmental Challenges

The Organic Learning Garden at Santa Monica College. The SMC Board of Trustees has passed a resolution in support of climate change and sustainability goals, on the heels of a recent policy adopted by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors to support its ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability. (Photo Credit: Amy Williams)

Bike racks on Santa Monica College’s main campus. SMC is the only California Community College to be certified as a Bike-Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists. (Photo Credit: Amy Williams)

SMC students stop by the student-run SMC Bike Club’s stand on the quad to learn bike repair, and more. (Photo Credit: Fabian Lewkowicz)

The Organic Learning Garden at Santa Monica College. (Photo Credit: Amy Williams)

January 24, 2020

SANTA MONICA, CA—The Santa Monica College (SMC) Board of Trustees voted unanimously at their meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21 to adopt a resolution in support of climate change and sustainability goals. This action comes on the heels of a recent policy adopted by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors to support its ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability.

“The news that 2019 was the second-hottest year on record, and the devastation to ecosystems worldwide caused by human irresponsibility and dependence on fossil fuels made the passage of this resolution an imperative,” SMC Board Chair Dr. Nancy Greenstein said. “Santa Monica College has been a leader in campus sustainability over the past decades, in ways ranging from innovative eco-focused academic & career education offerings to green buildings, a bike-friendly culture and so much more. These goals serve as a call to action for this institution to persist, in this time of great urgency for our planet.”

The resolution states that Santa Monica College will strive to achieve certain climate change and sustainability goals by the year 2025. These include the reduction of greenhouse gas emission to 30 percent below 1990 levels; increasing renewable energy consumption to 25 percent; ensuring that 25 percent of fleet vehicles are zero-emission vehicles and that 50 percent of all new buildings and major renovations be constructed as Zero Net Energy. In addition, the goals include ensuring that 50 percent of all new buildings and major renovations will achieve at least a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) “Silver” or equivalent rating, and more. The goals for the year 2030 double the benchmarks set for the year 2025, with a few exceptions.

“Thanks to Santa Monica College’s dedication over the years to sustainability, we have a strong head start,” SMC sustainability manager Ferris Kawar said. He offered the following examples: Santa Monica College already exceeds the renewable energy consumption level of 25 percent, combining energy purchases from the Clean Power Alliance and on-site solar production; over 50 percent of SMC’s fleet vehicles are already zero-emission with the acquisition of 66 new electric carts meeting both the 2025 and 2030 goals early; and 100 percent of the college’s new buildings are certified LEED Silver or higher—most are LEED Gold or LEED Platinum.

Kawar added that the college’s commercial worm composting machine is “decades ahead of the curve” in reducing food waste, and that the college is in the process of hiring a recycling program specialist to help achieve and exceed the recycling goals.

Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery, SMC’s Superintendent/President signed on to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2018, renewing a commitment made about a decade earlier by former college president Dr. Chui L. Tsang to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040, and reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions. A sustainability advocate for many years prior to her appointment at SMC, Jeffery has embraced the college’s sustainability mission.

“As a leader in campus sustainability, we at Santa Monica College feel even more strongly about the power and potential of community colleges and other educational institutions across this country to create a more sustainable world,” Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery said. “This board resolution reaffirms existing SMC’s sustainability priorities and expectations while also identifying areas in which the college can take greater strides to safeguard the environment not only here in and around Santa Monica, or in California—but also for all living beings across the globe who depend on and enjoy inhabiting the earth.”

SMC’s Center for Environmental and Urban Studies (CEUS) – created in partnership with the City of Santa Monica – serves as a hub for all things sustainability at the college. It houses four eco-focused student clubs, the SMC Environmental Affairs Committee, the Transportation Task Force, a Student Greening Workshop program, and a library of eco-books and films.

In 2018, The League of American Bicyclists honored Santa Monica College with a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) award in recognition of the college’s achievements in promoting and enabling safe, accessible bicycling on campus. The higher-level award follows SMC’s designation as a Bronze-level Bike Friendly University in 2014, making it the first California community college to earn a bike-friendly certification. SMC remains the only California community college to have this certification.

Santa Monica College also has an organic learning garden where students and employees learn how to grow food, a recycling program for electronic waste, and offers several innovative academic programs such as in recycling and resource management, photovoltaic installation, and energy efficiency. The college offers Associates Degrees in Environmental Science and Environmental Studies and dozens of environmentally focused courses across a wide range of fields. More information about sustainability at SMC is available at smc.edu/sustainability. To read the entire resolution included in the agenda of the Jan. 21 board meeting, go to smc.edu/BOT.

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