Kristyn Payne – CSSC Spotlight

By. Drew Story

The California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC) has had immense impact in developing California students into leaders. Comprising a diverse team of individuals, each with a different story to tell, unified by common goals and passions, CSSC paves the way for students to achieve measurable results for the cause of holistic sustainability. Kristyn Payne, Program Manager of the CSSC Writing Program, is one of those individuals for whom CSSC has helped grow into a sustainability leader.

I sat down with Kristyn to try and uncover why she was drawn to CSSC, how she has been involved since that time, how CSSC has impacted her life and her professional career, and why she thinks the mission of CSSC is central to California’s political and educational climate.

Beginning her undergraduate degree at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) in 2012, Kristyn was a political science major who, midstream, found herself drawn to environmental studies. As she transitioned into her new college major, she began taking more interest in plugging into various environmental clubs on campus. Not looking for a leadership role, Kristyn was satisfied to merely participate and learn about this new interest of hers.  

Kristyn recalls reading an announcement for a CSSC Student Convergence happening in Humboldt, CA in the fall of 2013. A Humboldt hometownee herself, that trip seemed like a two birds – one stone scenario; attend an interesting event, and visit friends and family back home. In the carpool on the way to Humboldt from Santa Barbara, Kristyn realized just how diverse the occupants of the carpool were, differing from her in terms of cultural background, geographic roots, and their respective interests. Yet, this diversity was magnified even more so at the convergence, wherein Kristyn realized she had never before felt so inspired and challenged. She never before attended an event so inclusive and able to unify so many different people under a common interest.

The CSSC Convergence was so focused on the student voice, and the power that students wield, often unwittingly, that Kristyn was eternally changed by it. She says this was her first true exposure to the intricacies and interdependencies of sustainability and social justice. This pushed her to think beyond the environmental movement she had been increasingly taking part in.

From this point on, she was hooked. She pursued the opportunity to help plan the next convergence, conveniently slated to happen at UCSB. Shortly thereafter, she began to volunteer as the CSSC Newsletter Coordinator and stayed in that position for a year and a half.

She continually developed her skills and leadership capabilities, but when an opening was announced for the Online Communications Coordinator position, Kristyn was not sure she was fit for the job. But the CSSC Leadership had identified the potential in Kristyn, and with their encouragement and support, she ultimately applied for and accepted the position. This new vantage point gave Kristyn the ability to identify places where CSSC could continue grow as an organization. The semi-annual convergences provided the chance for Kristyn to lend her talents to the team as a facilitator of the event planning process. But in turn, she was able to pass her knowledge and experience to other students and has increased CSSC’s capacity for hosting the engaging and empowering events that were the cause of her initial experience with CSSC. She also felt that CSSC had the capacity to organically foster the development of student leaders across California, and wanted to see more opportunities for students to be involved. She floated the idea of a volunteer writing program, in which students from across the state could write about salient sustainability issues on their individual campuses and amplify the student voice from across California. She presented the idea at the 2016 CSSC Summer Leadership Retreat and the idea was approved as pilot project. You are only reading this now because the program has taken off and begun to take form as that vehicle for student development.

Beyond this measurable increase in CSSC’s coverage of student perspectives, Kristyn is perhaps most appreciative for how the organization has pushed her out of her comfort zone and helped her see the value that interdisciplinarity can have when uniting students towards common goals. She has consistently focused on the institutional aspect of sustainability; the program management on campuses, helping students and groups write grant proposals for sustainability projects, and helping students take ideas off of paper and put them into practice.

As is true for most people who engage in sustainability long enough, Kristyn is familiar with the feeling of the dire nature of sustainability, for our world, and for humanity. But this daunting feeling reinforced her value that a coalition of diverse people with a common passion and a willingness to work together for common goals is paramount to the success of any sustainability movement. Framing her involvement in the movement as a whole, which Kristyn admits feels small at times, in this context helps her stay motivated to continue fighting for the continued impact CSSC can have in California, now and into the future. The network of individuals Kristyn has come to know all share her passion and have proven to be a dependable source of inspiration and resourcefulness, and she knows that this bond will remain intact as students leave their California campuses and go on to different places, doing different things for sustainability.

Kristyn wholeheartedly believes that CSSC has a large role to play in the continued improvement of the educational and political climate in California. While students on California campuses are being stretched and challenged, CSSC provides the space and resources for students to engage with and propel from each other. What is born at a CA Community College can find traction at a UC, and what works as a “best practice” at a UC may save a student group at a California State University a lot of time and energy as they work towards a similar goal. CSSC is the uniting force behind cohesive and sustained progress across the state, and it is this community, this genuine connection to each other and to the shared goal of improving sustainability that has kept Kristyn involved with CSSC for so long, and why she feels she is better leader and a better person having been part of it.

UC to Paris Climate Symposium

by Eva Malis

On Monday, May 4th, UC Berkeley students, staff, and faculty gathered for the first time with California political leaders and UC Office of the President staff to celebrate and discuss the University of California and State’s role in addressing climate change. With the approaching 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (expected to take place in late November 2015 in Paris, France), world leaders should look to California, and particularly the University of California, for climate leadership and example. The UC to Paris Climate Change Symposium is honoring UC and State climate innovations, emphasizing university and state climate collaboration and a mutual commitment to California as a global leader for climate solutions.

The Symposium is a unique opportunity for student leaders to engage with UC climate experts and state political leaders on the future of California’s climate leadership and representation at the upcoming COP 21 through panels, conversations, research presentations, and networking, planned by ASUC Senator Haley Broder and EAVP Environmental Affairs Manager Wes Adrianson, along with a coalition of students, faculty, and UC administrators. The Symposium was a partnership between UC Berkeley environmental and sustainability groups and CSSC.

This was the first event of its kind at UC Berkeley–a vision put forth by student demand for more accessibility to political leadership. This Symposium encouraged discussion of the student role in tackling pressing issues like climate change that the student generation is prone to experience in their lifetimes, exploring potential for more collaboration between the UC system and the state government. It also ignited discussion about California’s role as a leader in international climate policy and at the UN annual Conference of the Parties. Due to the passion and dedication of ASUC Senator Haley Broder and an involved student community, especially UC Berkeley students Jacob Elsanadi and Allegra Saggeese, this monumental first step towards political accessibility between the UC’s was a huge success. Looking forward, Broder hopes to expand this event to the rest of the UC system and encourage more political leaders to attend.

Convergence in T-Minus 17 Days!

Happy Tuesday everyone!

The convergence is less than THREE weeks away and we here at UCSB are excitedly getting our campus ready for all your shining faces and brilliant minds!

Get ready for a weekend in beautiful Santa Barbara that is at once intense and relaxing, inspiring and energizing. There will be amazing farm-fresh local food, great music Saturday night, and space for you to have amazing conversations with some of the most amazing people you will meet.

So get your butts on over on the 15th of October! The Environmental Affairs Board at UCSB has been hard at work getting our campus ready for an overflow of awesome activists and getting our year started off the right way by rocking that vote for clean energy in November!

Peace and Trees,
UCSB EAB

P.S. If you’ve got something awesome to share, we would love for you to lead a workshop at the Convergence. The deadline’s this Sunday, don’t miss out!

Meatless Monday at UCSB

The Associated Students Environmental Affairs Board of UCSB is proud to announce its partnership with The Monday Campaigns, a non-profit organization that runs the Meatless Monday initiative with the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. This national campaign aims to improve the health of both citizens and our planet by helping Americans reduce their meat consumption in a healthful and conscientious manner. During World War II, Americans went meatless on Monday to reduce pressure on the economy and to save money. Now, as our nation and world once again face difficult times, we hope to educate our fellow citizens about how foregoing meat once a week benefits public health, protects our environment, and fights climate change.

Considering that meat production is one of the worst causes of global warming, a reduction in meat consumption is the best thing you can do for the environment. Whether it is eliminating meat only on Mondays or more often, you will have a tremendous impact every time you enjoy a meat-free meal. Other groups have tried to ask students to become completely vegetarian, but we recognize that not everyone is willing to make that commitment right off the bat. We also believe that it’s more important for a lot of people to make a small change than for only a few people to cut out meat altogether.

When students “pay” for meat they are not paying for the external costs associated with its production, such as water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, pesticide pollution from feed crops, rain forest degradation and destruction, and above all health care costs. At a university where students are supposed to have a broad-based education, it seems only fair that they should learn that they aren’t paying for the true cost of meat when they pay for the dining commons, go grocery shopping, or eat out. A good lesson would be for the dining commons to go without meat every once and a while so that they can (1) *learn *about the external costs of meat and about the healthy, delicious alternatives to meat, and (2) *reduce *the external costs that they actually place on the environment and their health. We hope the dining commons considers doing this more.

What UCSB has done

So far we have worked with the Real Foods Challenge chapter here to implement a couple Meatless Mondays in our dining commons. We have also been doing campus outreach–which includes signs with facts about meat’s impact on the environment and tabling with food samples and literature. We recently worked with the residence halls to hold a film screening of the movie “Fresh” in one of the dorms. At that event we had a panel discussion about sustainable food issues and Meatless Mondays. We’ve also attracted the attention of local media and have made it into one newspaper with another pending.

Our plan for next quarter is to approach local restaurants about the possibility of offering discounts, deals, or special vegetarian items on Mondays, as an incentive for students to cut out meat on that day. We are currently working on an informational packet that we will present to the business owners.

We are also in the process of implementing a regular meatless schedule for the UCSB Dining Commons starting for the freshman in Fall 2010. We are doing this by presenting facts from local research done on campus, which revealed that reducing meat and dairy consumption one day a week reduces the same amount of greenhouse gasses as going 100% local. The benefits from supporting local farms are still very important, but this research just puts the severity of meat into perspective.

To support our chefs going local we are also inviting a vegan culinary chef to come and lead a training/ workshop for the UCSB chefs and staff to further educate us about vegan/vegetarian nutrition and the variety of foods that can be used that are not traditionally used.

Best Practices

The Dining Commons set a new precedent when they used the saved money from EAB’s trayless campaign (25% reduction in food costs from reduced waste) towards more local and sustainable food. The vast majority of the top 50 most expensive items dining services purchases are meat and cheese products (keep in mind that they still do not include the external costs). Any decrease in meat consumption has the potential to free up more money to go towards the 20% local food mandate by 2020. This would make UCSB’s dining services a model for every other UC and institutional entity as we evolve to a more sustainable and conscious world. Other UC’s such as Davis and LA have limited their beef consumption as well.

For more information contact the Environmental Affairs Board at ucsbeab (at) gmail (dot) com
or the Co-coordinators Corie Radka corieradka (at) umail.ucsb.edu, Andrew Dunn andrewdunn09 (at) gmail (dot) com

Carrot Mob UCSB from EAB

A Carrotmob is a method of activism that leverages consumer power to make the most socially-responsible business practices also the most profitable choices. Businesses compete with one another to see who can do the most good, and then a big mob of consumers buys products in order to reward whichever business made the strongest commitment to improve the world. It’s the opposite of a boycott.We asked all of the liquor stores in Isla Vista, “What percentage of the day’s gross revenue would you be willing to reinvest into energy efficient technologies like new lighting or insulation for the freezers?” Isla Vista Market submitted the highest bid, pledging to commit 20 percent of the revenue generated on November 21st (2009) from 1-5pm to be re-invested in to the store in the form of green technologies.In four hours we generated approximately $5,500 in revenue and had over 500 people shop at IV Market, resulting in $1,100 of energy efficient retrofits to their store. On a typical Saturday between 1-5pm IV Market brings in approximately $2,000 in revenue, so we considered the project a huge the success.

The Environmental Affairs Board (UCSB group hosting the Carrotmob event) partnered with Sun (re)construction LLC, which is a full-service consultancy and project management firm that is focused on generating effective deep energy savings for retrofit and new construction projects, to manage the retrofit of Isla Vista Market.

Through numerous audits and long discussions, EAB and Sun (re)construction were able to generate a long-term plan for Isla Vista Market that would make the store as close to a net-zero energy business as possible, all while providing a payback on investment within five years. The retrofit to the store will be conducted in a phased progression, with phase one being a complete redesign and replacement of the stores lighting system, phase two focuses on replacing old refrigerators and compressors with the most efficient new technologies available, and phase three will be the instillation of a photovoltaic system on the roof of the store.

Construction on Isla Vista Market is scheduled to begin on March 15th, 2010 and the tentative date of completion for all three phases is July 15th. The cost of the full retrofit is not concrete at this point but is estimated at $100,000 to $150,000.

What makes the concept of a Carrotmob so appealing is the partnership that is built between students, faculty members, and local businesses. Students at research-based universities are in great need of projects that provide them with hands-on, practical work and local businesses have the opportunity to build long-term relationships with student organizations from the near bye campus. This is a special event that provides all participating groups with beneficial roles.There is an easy-to-read Carrotmob manual that coaches would-be group organizers at each step along in the process. This manual allows for students, who would typically not be able to organize an event of this magnitude, to progress through the campaign with a set of guidelines and instructions.

A Carrotmob is an entirely positive campaign which does not seek to portray non-supportive businesses in a negative light, but instead encourages consumers to make conscious decisions that will benefit their local community and environment. The positive nature of the campaign is complimented well by the fun atmosphere of the day’s event and is a natural draw to all types of people. For this project to be successful it was necessary for students, faculty members, business owners, and working professionals to all be striving towards the same goal. The focus and direction of the campaign was in the hands of the students but relied on counseling from faculty members, support from local businesses, and the professional “know-how” from the working professionals.

The owners of Isla Vista Market made the event unique to their own store by pledging to be plastic bag free on the day of the event. Additionally, Isla Vista Market partnered with the County of Santa Barbara to have the business certified as a “Green Business” by the Green Business Program of Santa Barbara County.Sun (re)construction, which is a company founded and operated by a UCSB alum, enabled the project to move forward in a way that neither students nor faculty members were capable of doing. Sun (re)construction was especially good throughout the project because of their ability to involve students from the campaign in the meetings and audits that were conducted.

In the campaign to the businesses I told the story of Keg N Bottle Market in Isla Vista (which is a grocery store similar in characteristics to Isla Vista Market), which in January of 2009 invested approximately $40,000 in energy efficient technology for their liquor store. The upgrades, which primarily focused on more efficient lighting systems and upgrades to refrigeration appliances, saved Keg N Bottle $4,800 on their first energy bill. The savings created by the new technologies had a payback on initial investment of less than nine months and would provide these types of savings for years to come. The system that will be introduced into Isla Vista Market includes newer and better technologies and is more widespread, because of these traits I believe the savings will be even deeper than that just described about Keg N Bottle. If money is being saved, energy consumption at the same time must be decreasing!

Learn more about Carrot Mob

Environmental Education for the Next Generation (EENG) at UCSB

Environmental Education for the Next Generation (EENG) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by undergraduate students at the University of California, Santa Barbara. We train and place teams of college-aged volunteers into 1st and 2nd grade classrooms for weekly lessons that spread environmental awareness to our youth. Our program features:

  • Interactive activities and experiments that foster critical thinking about the world we live in.
  • Youth-to-youth mentorship and encouragement that bring education to life and empower young people to make a positive impact on their surroundings.
  • Unique curriculum that aligns closely with California’s Education Standards, serving to enhance existing classroom activities.
  • Dynamic structure designed to meet the diverse scheduling and curricular needs of our teachers. We are happy to adjust lessons as needed, ensuring our program is as enriching as possible in any class setting.

For more information visit http://www.eengonline.org/ or join us on Facebook.

For more information contact the EENG Team at info@eengonline.org