GET INVOLVED

GET INVOLVED

CMC offers students many impactful opportunities to engage with and promote sustainability on and off-campus.

 

CMC offers students many impactful opportunities to engage with and promote sustainability on and off-campus.

 

Environmental Affairs Committee

The Environmental Affairs Committee (EAC) is part of the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College (ASCMC) and is committed to enacting impactful and pragmatic initiatives that promote sustainable consumption of electricity, water, food, and other material goods by working with the Sustainability Coordinator, Facilities and Campus Services (FACS), and students.

All students can submit applications to be an EAC member or the chair. EAC members are elected by the EAC chair, and the EAC chair is elected by the vice president of ASCMC. For more information, please contact eac.ascmc@gmail.com.

Some of the EAC’s notable initiatives include: 

EcoReps

EcoReps are paid student educators who provide sustainability education to students in each quad. They spearhead their own projects and collaborate on EAC initiatives.

GreenWare Program

An EAC-led program that offers reusable dining ware to CMC students, staff, and faculty free of cost. This program reduces campus waste and litter, saves the CMC community money and encourages the move away from single use items, and creates student employment on campus.

Food Waste

Worked with Collins Dining Hall and the Athenaeum to encourage a reduction of food waste and consumption of environmentally harmful products, like all animal products, through statistics and visuals. Succeeded in switching the Athenaeum’s single use cups to biodegradable cups.

Weigh the Waste

A semi-annual campaign to quantify CMC’s food waste reduction efforts and create awareness about food waste in Collins through which large bins are set up to collect and weigh all leftover food waste during a determined time.

 

Laundry Energy Reduction Program

With the support of EAC, the EcoReps rolled out The Lower your Load($) initiative in the fall of 2018. Through targeted campaigning with better washing habits posted in the laundry rooms and a free drying rack rental program, the goal is to reduce energy usage.

ReRoom Program

A Sustainability Fund granted, EAC-led campus sale that provides students with the opportunity to purchase gently used items from prior CMC students at a fraction of their original cost, while reducing the cycle of waste and consumption and offering employment opportunities. Used items are collected at the end of the school year by EAC with the help of CMC staff and resold at the beginning of the academic year when new students return.

In 2017, the sale generated over $2000 of revenue and more than $800 of net profit, which is used to fund additional environmentally-oriented initiatives. In 2018, the second ReRoom sale saw huge student crowds, provided a revenue of over $2,800, and employed 7 CMC students.

Divestment

Looking into the process of divestment, shareholder engagement, and other means to reduce the endowment’s dependency on climate change-causing fossil fuel.

Garden Cultivation Program

In the fall of 2018, EAC renovated the student garden located next to Beckett Hall. The long-term vision is to transform the area into a community space for students to engage in convenient and fun sustainable programming. The garden will help reduce waste by using food waste from Collins and the Ath as fertilizers and composts. The produce collected from the garden will be used at future CMC events, saving money on buying food. The SFC is funding one student Garden Manager to oversee the garden for the duration of the year.

Impossible Burger Event

Collins, EAC, and SFC teamed up in the spring of 2018 to bring students the Impossible Burger Bar, which featured sliders with a variety of different toppings to choose from. Collins expected around 450 people to attend dinner and 1069 people showed up. The event saved 30,000 square feet of land from being used for animal agriculture, conserved the equivalent water usage of a 4,000-minute shower, and spared 7,200 vehicle miles worth of GHGs. The event will take place for the second time in the fall of 2018.

Roberts Environmental Center

The Roberts Environmental Center at CMC supports a combination of scientific, economic, and political considerations in the analysis of environmental issues. The REC sponsors the Environment, Economics, and Politics major, student employment, internships, and the Green Careers Conference speaker series.

5C students conduct research analysis of the environmental and social responsibility reporting of the world’s largest companies, national higher education institutions’ sustainability efforts, and field studies of the efficacy of natural resource management projects by state and federal agencies.

Student-Led Research

The REC consists of student-led teams that research, collaborate, and work on a variety of issues including environmental governance, public policy, urban planning, environmental management, and natural resource management.

Green Careers Conference

Roberts Environmental Center holds an annual Green Careers Conference for a day of discussion, networking, and presentations on the opportunities for 5C students to join the growing field of sustainable and environmental careers. A keynote and panel presentations by green industry leaders highlights the opportunities and challenges facing green jobs today within environmental law, consulting, nonprofits and corporate enterprise. Accompanying the panel is a career fair to provide an opportunity for students to discuss specific career opportunities and facilitate a lasting connection between the Claremont community and innovative environmental firms.

REC Research Station, Eastern Sierra

In addition to its facilities in Claremont, the Robert Center directs the Burger Sierra Research Station off Tioga Pass in the eastern Sierra Nevada, overlooking Mono Lake and just a few miles from Yosemite National Park. This 160-acre reserve houses a few students and faculty engaged in summer internships, thesis projects, and field research activities.

Risk & Resilience

Past Student Research Project:

Our team wanted to raise awareness about the environmental injustice embedded within wildfire events not only through data-driven analysis but by amplifying the voices of community members themselves. In concert, the qualitative and quantitative research we conducted can provide a holistic analysis of California wildfire events in order for policymakers to make evidence-based, equitable policies that enhance the resilience of the most vulnerable communities.

Channel Islands Isoscape

Past Student Research Project:

A few members of our team are working with Professor Branwen Williams to analyze the nutrient isotope levels of deep-sea corals found in the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California. This will provide insight into the location and temporal changes of coral nutrient sources. Nutrient mapping through isoscapes is valuable when addressing changes in the composition of the sea floor, coral health, and even oceanic current disruptions, possibly linked to a changing climate.

Oil and Gas

Past Student Research Project:

The Policy & Outreach team is working with Board member Dave Ossentjuk to study the carbon intensity difference between California oil production and foreign imported oil. So far, the team has put together a data set on carbon intensity from the extraction and transportation of crude oil products to California refineries. From this data, we hope to study whether or not California oil production is more environmentally friendly than relying on foreign sources of energy. Additionally, the team is preparing to put together a strategy plan for mitigating the social impacts of California’s oil  industry.

Solar Calculator Project

Past Student Research Project:

The team is working toward building a web app that tells California homeowners what payback period they should expect in switching to solar. Right now, the mathematical model is all finished and the team is working on coding the back end of the app. After the back end is done, the team will complete the presentation and front end of the app, as well as rollout so that as many people as possible will benefit from this tool.

Food Recovery Network

Food Recovery Network

Our mission is to reduce campus food waste and to help feed the hungry in the community by delivering left-over food from the dining hall to a local homeless shelter. Applications go out at the beginning of every semester in the club inform. You do not need a driver’s license or a car on campus to get involved!

Sustainable Students Promoting Environmental Action & Responsibility

S.S.P.E.A.R. is a vigorous and aggressive yet non-violent and peaceful movement for the defense of the natural environment and the advancement of sustainability. Our mission is to raise awareness of environmental issues, the impact of climate change, and responsible uses of the earth’s ecosystems and resources by planning events that educate and enlist humanity to practice sustainability and to protect and restore the natural environment.

Trash on the Lawn

Trash on the Lawn is a dormitory waste audit SSPEAR organizes each semester to analyze campus recycling habits.  The club gathers trash bags from dorm lounges, and instead of sending them to the landfill, students dump them out on the lawn, and—armed with gloves and tarps—properly sort the contents!

Power Down Challenge

The Campus Conservation Nationals competition, known at the Claremont Colleges as “PowerDown,” is a nation-wide effort to create awareness of everyday energy and water use by residents in dorms.  Every spring semester, Claremont McKenna dorms compete against one another, the school faces off against the four other Claremont Colleges, and there is a national ranking based on the school’s ability to reduce its own energy and water demand.

Monitoring the Sprinklers

SSPEAR helps keep watch to ensure the campus sprinklers operate as efficiently as possible, especially during periods of critical drought. The club has taken pictures and mapped any sprinklers which were over-watering or turned in the wrong direction, and with the help of CMC Grounds personnel, they were able to quickly make the necessary repairs.

 

Sustainability Fund


The Sustainability Fund provides $5,000/semester in amounts up to $2,000 for innovative and entrepreneurial projects that increase environmental sustainability and awareness at CMC.

The application process opens at the beginning of each semester and funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Awardees will be notified within one month after project submission. step-by-step explanation of the application process can be found online.

Proposals will be vetted by the Sustainability Fund Committee, a body of students, staff, and faculty. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to kjmiller@students.claremontmckenna.edu with questions or to ask for help with the application.

    Past Sustainability Fund Projects

    Past Sustainability Fund Projects

    Building and Energy Management Internship

     The Building and Energy Management position serves to aid CMC in reducing its emissions in a cost-effective manner by creating a baseline and tracking current emissions through sustainability reporting, greenhouse gas emissions reporting, and building and energy management. The internship also increases the number of student sustainability positions on our campus and assist in setting an efficient emissions reduction pathway.

    — Andrew Bradjan ‘22, Sam Becker’19

    Sustainable Dining Intern

    The Sustainable Dining Intern position was created in collaboration with Jennifer Carbajal and has been revised with Pam Franco, the new Manager of Collins. The position will be filled during Spring 2020 and Fall 2021. The Sustainable Dining Intern will work with Collins to help make its day-to-day operations more sustainable. By working with dining staff and students to initiate and implement programs that seek to reduce and divert food waste and encourage consumption of more sustainable food, this intern will reduce CMC’s carbon footprint and, thus, contribute to CMC’s efforts to be carbon neutral by 2050.

    — Carolyn Weisman ‘21, Tallan Donine ‘21, Sam Becker ’19

    Impossible Burger Bar

    Working with the staff of Collins Dining Hall, students helped administer an Impossible Burger Bar event that featured the first perfect substitute to the beef hamburger—the “Impossible Burger”. The event occured in October and was nearly identical to the Impossible Burger bar event from March 2018 that was planned with Jennifer Carbajal and Chef Paul at Collins. The Impossible Burger is a new innovative product that looks, tastes, and cooks exactly like beef but is made from plants. This is not your typical faux beef burger, however—it is made using a proprietary technology that produces hemoglobin from plants, thus making it a true perfect substitute. By serving the Impossible Burger for just one meal, Collins and the wider CMC community will decrease its consumption of beef by 50 pounds (or 800 ounces). By eating a perfect substitute like the Impossible Burger, one saves 75 feet of land, averts the equivalent water usage of a 10-minute shower, and spares 18 driving miles of greenhouse gases.

    Collins expected around 450 people to attend dinner and 1069 people showed up. The event saved 30,000 square feet of land from being used for animal agriculture, conserved the equivalent water usage of a 4,000-minute shower, and spared 7,200 vehicle miles worth of GHGs.

    — Alex Brussell ’18.5, Sam Becker ‘19

    Diva Cup Promotional and Informational Event by Power of Women

    With the Diva Cup Event, Power of Women (POW) aims to provide a safe environment to engage in critical discussions around periods, and empower trans-men and cis-women to counter societal shaming of periods. POW provided a presentation on the environmental and societal issues linked to periods, particularly regarding waste, financial burden, trans issues, and patriarchal norms. We also demonstrated how to use a menstrual cup. Afterwards, we hosted a movie screening on the theme of empowering women. 

    — Zoe Carlson ’22, Gayle Lee ’20, Jamie Bitz ‘22, Liv Baker ‘20, Laura Brenalvirez ‘22, Miriam Farah ‘23, M. McCue ‘23, N. Augustyn ‘23, and A. Larson ‘23

    Greenware Reusable Solo Cup Initiative

    This collaboration is an effort to disrupt the cycle of waste produced by the purchase of single use plastic cups at events and parties. This program is implemented by the EAC through the Eco Reps. Through an effective awareness campaign, we are certain that students would find the statistics on the toxicity of cups alarming. The goal of this initiative is to adjust the current GreenWare policies to encourage students to use reusable cups.

    — Anna Graves ‘20, Zoe Carlson ‘22, Savi Rathi ‘21, Hallie Spear ‘22, Isa Jia ‘22, Grace Lu ‘23

    CMC ReRoom Program Facilitation Grant

    The ReRoom program seeks to end the cycle of waste by collecting resalable items that students do not want at the end of the school year and reselling them to first-year and returning students. Because local organizations are flooded by the sheer number of donated items, many end up disposing of perfectly good items because they have limited space. ReRoom provides students direct access to functional items that are cheaper than or on par with the price of items at local thrift stores. ReRoom also provides students with a source of employment during finals week and the week before all students return to campus, both of which give students an opportunity to make money at a time when most CMC student jobs are not in action.

    — Sam Becker ’19

    Sustainable Event Manager

    The position of a Sustainable Event Manager can help make events at CMC more sustainable. This position would support clubs and organizations to plan events more sustainable including food, utensils, etc. This would reduce the use of one-way-plastic on campus. A Sustainable Event Manager could join any event team and consult them on sustainable options at their events and how to encourage students to make use of them at events and elsewhere. 

    — Ben Eibl ‘23

    Garden Cultivation Program

    This proposal seeks to cultivate gardens in these beds, which provide fresh vegetables for the student body, a more aesthetically appealing landscape, and part-time employment for a dedicated student garden manager. Seeing gardening in action will hopefully inspire students to think about where their food comes from, support local food producers, and join sustainability efforts that address issues on and off campus. The gardens will also provide a small habitat for native species, such as pollinators and other insects.

    — Tallan Donine ‘21, Sam Becker ’19

    Perspectives of the Environmental Movement Speaker Series

    The Environmental Affairs Committee at CMC hosted an Environmental Speaker Series at the Athenaeum in the Fall of 2018. Speakers included Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia and Professor Julie Sze. Each of these speakers offered an important perspective of the environmental movement. Students also had the opportunity to chat with the speakers, learn about local initiatives, and to sign up for a day of action, such as lobbying for various environmental policies at the local, regional, and state levels.

    — Tallan Donine ‘21