For the past three years as City College has been integrating the 2014 District Sustainability Plan into the everyday life of students, campus has been a “living laboratory,” according to Innovative Workshop Consulting Managing Partner Perrin Pellegrin.
Student clubs, classes, volunteers and faculty have worked together on the school’s six sustainability goals: waste management, water consumption, transportation, outreach and implementation, energy efficiency, and food.
“Some people look at these goals and they think we can’t do it, but I like to think of them as goals and not absolutes,” said Pellegrin, who worked on the plan with the school. “As long as we are working towards it, we are making improvements.”
Pellegrin presented the progress City College has made in regards to its goals at the College Planning Council meeting Tuesday, Nov. 7. The school’s water and waste consumption has decreased, there are solar panels producing clean energy and with the efforts of the award-winning SBCC Commute program, the school has reduced single-occupied vehicles by 12.5%.
“To be able to visually show what is taking place with sustainability is really hard because sometimes it is behind the walls or on top of a roof,” Pellegrin said.
The plan, that Environmental Studies Professor Adam Green describes as a “living document,” has been a big part of the classes he teaches. Some students have taken what they learn in the process and applied it to their professional careers and passions.
“Students were included in all of these different aspects,” said Green. “This is an opportunity of an additional layer of education.”
Students have attended meetings, helped the school collect data and volunteered with hands-on projects. An example of the successful volunteering is the permaculture garden work days put together by Green, when City College students spent their own time to help the cause.
“It’s an idea of good over perfect. We know there are some limitation in the things that we do,” Green said.
The plan is currently completely dependent on outside funding and free volunteering, either as a part of a class or in student’s free time.
“We don’t really have the ability to fund anything from the general fund right now,” said Lyndsay Maas, vice president of business services.
“But hopefully down the road,” added Superintendent-President Dr. Anthony Beebe.
Some next steps are continuing to work on the projects the school can afford and ongoing monitoring on the progress. A workgroup put together will meet once every month to update the plan.
“Timing is perfect, we are in the perfect place, Santa Barbara, there is so much momentum,” said Beebe. “…This affects all of our students, all of us, it can’t get any bigger than that.”