What is CSSC?

The California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC) is a broad network of student sustainability organizations throughout the state. Managed and coordinated by students and recent alumni, we strive to implement policies and programs at various institutional levels that enhance the three key components of sustainability: ecology, economy, and equity.

Why is CSSC important?

CSSC provides a platform for driving institutional change and a forum for networking and sharing best practices. CSSC is also a community of student activists who support one another both directly and indirectly. CSSC members develop personal leadership, skills, and direction. CSSC is an inclusive organization and finds strength in diversity. Like the Swedish proverb, CSSC members believe that shared pain is half pain and shared joy is double joy.


Founded in 2003, CSSC was founded by students running a Greenpeace UC Go Solar campaign. The result of the campaign was a commitment to solar energy, which CSSC helped expand to the UC Policy on Sustainable Practices. This policy is arguably the largest, most-comprehensive policy of its kind, and CSSC continues advocate for stronger standards. It has affected billions of dollars spent in the UC system. In 2003, CSSC gained fiscal sponsorship with the Earth Island Institute, giving it non-profit status. Major early programs included the Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP) and The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF). ESLP is a student-run lecture series that dynamically teaches cutting-edge and traditional sustainability theories and applications. ESLP has enrolled thousands of students over the last decade. TGIF is a student-supported sustainability project fund, driving student innovation and practical experience on campuses. TGIF is active at eight campuses with more than $1 million allocated per year statewide. CSSC’s Foods Initiative and a national network of allies launched the Real Food Challenge (RFC) on 300+ campuses nation-wide. RFC aims to shift $1 billion in food production, distribution, and consumption on college campuses in the US. In 2007, CSSC wrote and adopted the first iteration of the current charter and partnered with Energy Action Coalition (EAC) for the Campus Climate Challenge campaign. Also in 2007, CSSC ramped up convergences, and since the Fall 2007 convergence at Berkeley there have been 100+ attendees at twice-yearly convergences. CSSC currently averages ~300 attendees per convergence. In 2011, CSSC began the Coal Divestment campaign with EAC. This campaign expanded to the Fossil Free campaign in 2012, partnering with 350.org and others. CSSC has continually partnered with EAC as the lead organizer for higher education in California for Powershift in 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013.


The CSSC logo visually depicts the goals and values of the organization. Our logo includes

  • The oak tree which represents the California biosphere we call our home;
  • The acorn, the seed of the oak tree, and a symbol of regeneration;
  • The hexagon, the shape of beehives and carbon bonds, and one of the strongest and most efficient shapes in nature;
  • The torus energy structure reflects the dynamism and energy that the organization expresses in its work;
  •  and The initials of CSSC incorporated into the foliage of the oak tree

CSSC’s Structure

CSSC is composed of three main leadership bodies: the Council, the Operating Team, and the Board of Directors. The Council is the representation of student organizations that make up CSSC (the Chapters), and sets the main vision and direction of programs and campaigns. Council members grow the network at the campus level. The Operating Team consists of volunteers, staff, and interns who manage many of the day-to-day affairs of the organization, as well as coordinating campaigns, programs, key events, and leadership retreats. The Board of Directors (BOD) helps the organization to grow macroscopically by providing guidance, developing governing structure, and maintaining institutional memory for the organization as a whole.  In coordination with the Council and Operating Team, the BOD manages and develops finances and programs.


The California Student Sustainability Coalition unites, connects, supports, and empowers students from across California to transform their educational institutions and communities into models of ecological, economic, and social sustainability.

What CSSC Does

Our Convergences

Our statewide convergences bring together hundreds of students twice a year to network, build community, share resources, attend workshops, and celebrate.
Next convergence will be held at UC Davis on November 14-16. Check back for specific details. 

Our Campaigns and Projects

We run, support, and endorse projects that focus on a range of areas including education and curriculum, food systems, project funding, university policy, and more.



Our Community

Join our network which we like to refer to as a family by signing up to receive our newsletter, and like us on Facebook! We can’t wait to meet you at one of our future events!