Sustainability hero to reduce SBCC’s environmental footprint
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In 2014, City College introduced the Direct Sustainability Plan which aimed to dramatically reduce the institution’s environmental footprint through a collaborative effort between students, faculty and staff.
Some objectives of the plan, such as reducing both waste and single occupant vehicle commute by 25 percent by the end of 2017, are fast approaching. Although some progress has been made, there is still much work left to be done.
Jackson Hayes, a two-year member of the Student Sustainability Coalition, was recently appointed the new Associated Student Government Commissioner of Sustainability. As the new commissioner, Hayes is working towards increasing the type of collaborative work between students, faculty and staff that led to the very creation of the plan three years ago.
“Jackson is the type of person everyone wants to work with,” said Cristian Walk, commissioner of academics for the student government. “You know when you work with him some real change can be achieved.”
Hayes’ plan begins with an emphasis on connecting students through volunteer opportunities. He is creating numerous student committees across campus that will work together on carrying out multiple sustainability projects at once.
Committees responsible for working on issues of waste management, transportation and water consumption have already been started. He said that he believes the combined effort of passionate students willing to volunteer their time will create progress quickly.
Hayes grew up outdoors in Berkeley, hiking and fishing with his parents, who he said began to spark his interest in the environment at a young age, including ideas of sustainability.
“It starts small,” Hayes said. “You have to take advantage of everyday opportunities to make a difference.”
As a member of the coalition, Hayes gained hands-on experience in organizing and carrying out sustainability projects, such as the Permaculture Garden located on West Campus.
He said that the recent enrollment drop which directly lowered federal funding to the college means student contribution will be especially crucial in making City College a more environmentally-friendly campus.
“It’s really important to get students involved,” Hayes said. “The school has less funding so we need more student volunteer opportunities.”
Dr. Adam Green, Student Sustainability Coalition advisor, said he believes Hayes has what it takes to be a leader who will influence positive change for the college. He describes Hayes as a personable, charismatic and approachable young man with the confidence to accomplish his goals.
“He has this willingness to learn and seek out criticism, which is rare,” Green said. “He is genuine and that draws people towards him.”
Walk said Hayes is already one of the most proactive commissioners on the student government and is more than capable of reaching the goals set out before him.
“Jackson brings hope that some of the major goals of the plan won’t fall by the wayside,” Green said. “Students started this movement and now everything has come full circle.”