UC Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, CA

Chapter Name: Education for Sustainable Living Program
Chapter Email: eslp@ucsc.edu
Chapter Website: http://eslp.enviroslug.org
Representatives: David Shugar and Rebecca Wood

Mission Statement

The Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP) is a collaborative and interdisciplinary effort to reshape the way we learn, effectively mentor students, and engage in projects that support the sustainable development of the University of California and Santa Cruz community. Using models of experiential learning, ESLP supports student-led sections, guest speakers and inspires participants to internalize the concept of sustainability within academia and greater society.


The Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP) formed as a Statewide Coalition in 2003 within the California Student Sustainability Coalition, a UC-wide collaborative student effort to realize sustainability throughout the UC, CSU and CCC systems. Currently there are accredited ESLP programs in UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and UC Los Angeles.

At UCSC, ESLP student organizers worked throughout the year to plan our lecture series, train facilitators, and promote student learning projects and collaborative education models. Since 2004, ESLP has enrolled over 2000 students, hosted over 100 guest speakers and created over 50 student led sections. Every winter quarter, ESLP organizers facilitate the accredited 5-unit Winter Training Seminar which trains facilitators to develop a section syllabus and practice facilitation skills. In spring, ESLP offers the 5-unit and 2-unit sections through in conjunction with a weekly guest lecture series. In 2011-2012, ESLP had 11 organizers which received 2-units, 5-units or paid positions. The 5 unit CLEI 160 Winter Training Seminar class prepared 17 facilitators from 12 cross disciplinary majors to create 8 5-unit and 3 2-unit sections. Section topics ranged from sustainable agriculture, permaculture, water conservation, waste reduction, green building, aquaponics, environmental art and social movements towards sustainability.

In spring of 2012, 32 students enrolled in 2-unit sections and 100 students enrolled in 5-unit sections. Many of the sections learning projects engaged students throughout campus such as the The Drop you Own Drip section which sent mock water bills to students on campus and created a competition between the colleges to see who could reduce the most water. The Sustainable Living Spaces section performed an audit of the Stevenson dorm to engage students to reduce energy and resource consumption. The Zero Waste class worked on a zero waste campus move out during the end of the year. These are just some examples of how the 132 students engaged with the campus community through sustainable learning projects.
Throughout 2011-2012 ESLP, hosted 14 guest speakers which covered topics such as; mayan agroecology, food justice, ecological design, rain and grey water design, alternative transportation, renewable energy, global warming and local movements towards creating a sustainable world. ESLP also collaborated with the African American Resources Center and Brain Mind Consciousness Society to host Van Jones during winter quarter to speak about rebuilding our vision of society and learning to be culturally inclusive to form creative solutions. We also contributed to the Wiser Together event in collaboration with the World Café, which had a attendance of approximately 200 people. This event featured locally sourced food and gave a space for students to connect with community members and local resources.

Current Projects

During this year of 2012-2013, ESLP is currently training facilitators to teach their sections for Spring Quarter. There are 11 sections being proposed which covers topics such as Santa Cruz ecology, waste management, global resources, food systems, learning gardens, eco-psychology, indigeneity synthesis into sustainability and dynamic education models of socio-environmental justice. We are also planning on hosting guest speakers in Spring Quarter related to the topics of the Great Turning from the work of Joanna Macy, Activism and the Sierra Club, Environmental Justice through Art, Buckminster Fuller Ecological Design principles, Permaculture and Sustainability Consciousness, Food Systems, Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Social Activism.


A major goal of the organization is to create innovative multidisciplinary and collaborative sustainability curriculum at and become more integrated with UCSC academics. This includes further institutionalizing the ability for the spring course to count for student curricular requirements and for section facilitators to receive upper-division elective credit within their individual majors, which as of now only applied to Environmental Studies major in certain instances. Another objective in this goals is to become a qualified GE course covering the GE topic GE PE-E of Perspectives: Environmental Awareness. We currently do not fulfill this status have applied to fulfill this GE without success. We want to continue conversation with the Academic Senate and collaborate on ways student led sustainability education model can be integrated in the academic structure of UCSC. There is also the possibility of a Sustainability Technology minor being created at UCSC, and ESLP is in conversation of becoming an elective to the minor.

In addition ESLP has the goal of more thoroughly organizing online resources and supporting the creation of ESLP across the state of California.


At UC Santa Cruz, ESLP offers many opportunities. We have year-long organizer positions that can be filled through internship and eventually paid position. If you want to facilitate a section, you can apply to become a facilitator near the during fall quarter to enroll in the Winter Training Seminar. In spring, ESLP offers both a 5-unit and 2-unit course, which incorporates student facilitated sections and a weekly guest lecture series that any student in UCSC can enroll in.

ESLP at UC Santa Cruz also wants to support the creation of student led sustainability education program across California. If you would like any support in developing a student led course, please contact ESLP and join the statewide coalition. ESLP is organized in different models throughout different school, with the common goal of reshaping the way we learn, effectively mentor students and integrating student led sustainability academics into California higher education system. Please contact eslp@ucsc.edu for any resources and further questions.

CSSC Council Representatives

David Shugar

Major: Applied Physics
Hometown: San Bruno, CA
Graduation/Transfer: Spring 2014

About Me

I am currently a 4th year Applied Physics Major at UCSC. Throughout the past 6 years I have also worked and had various internship in the renewable energy field, with companies such as SunPower and PV Evolution Labs. Currently, I am working the UCSC Optoelectronics Lab focusing on researching the integration of solar technology onto greenhouses and the impact of plant growth under tinted luminescent solar concentrators. I am very involved with student led education and am currently the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Intern with the Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP), which is a student led course offered for 2 and 5 units. I am also leading the Brain, Mind, Consciousness student led seminar, which is a 5-unit course addressing interdisciplinary physical sciences, cognitive science and includes topics such as ecopsychology, transpersonal psychology and meditation. In addition I am writing a book called “Healing Through Sacred Geometry”, that will be published and available within the year, focusing on bridging the study of science, spirituality and sustainability from ancient to modern perspectives.

How I got involved in CSSC

I got involved with CSSC through being an organizer with ESLP. My staff mentor, Joyce Rice recommended that I research CSSC and student created sustainability initiatives. After attending and presenting at the Fall 2012 Convergence, I wanted to become further active with the CSSC as a Council Representative. I have since been advocating the statewide implementation of ESLP courses and supporting the UC divestment of fossil fuels from the UC endowment.

The Role of Student Action in Sustainability

Student activism is very connected with sustainability efforts. This can be seen in the UC Regents creating the UC wide sustainability initiatives in 2003, due to student advocacy. Personally, I believe student can greatly add to the sustainability movement through creating student led seminars, such as ESLP. This inspires the students in college to work with peers and collaborate on interdisciplinary sustainability projects. Education programs teach the future generation of leaders tools for building a healthier world as well as gives academic credit for student participation.

The Areas of Sustainability That Interest Me Most

As stated before, I am very interested in interdisciplinary and collaborative student initiated education models. In addition, my interest in sustainability is focusing on engineering, such as renewable energy, green building and incorporating ecological design principles into modern urban cities. As an Applied Physics major, I feel that physical sciences and engineering are often overlook within the sustainability movement and that scientist and engineers should be more incorporated in environmental studies and spreading sustainability awareness.

Projects I have worked on

Such projects I have worked on is organizing the weekly guest lectures series of 12 speakers for the 130 student ESLP class in Spring 2012. This year as the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Intern with ESLP, I hosted the University Forum for Sustainability Education which brought together students, staff, faculty and connected various organizations focusing on furthering interdisciplinary, collaborative and experiential sustainability education models. I also applied for ESLP to fulfill a the Environmental Awareness – General Education (GE) code at UCSC, in coordination with the various organizers and faculty sponsor; which was rejected by the Committee of Education Policy due to their statement “no GE can be offered as a student led seminar”. My general goal is to future integrated sustainability education models into the current and developing academic programs. In addition, last year I help build and research a solar luminescent concentrator photovoltaic greenhouse with the UCSC Optoelectronics lab at the UCSC Arboretum.

Rebecca Wood

Major: Environmental Studies
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Graduation/Transfer: June 2014

About Me

Rebecca Wood is currently a third year student working towards her degree in environmental studies. Rebecca feels extremely passionate about social and environmental justice-specifically combating the corporate water grab. She acts as the campus coordinator for Take Back the Tap, which is a campaign to end the sale of single use water bottles at UCSC. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys meeting new people, hiking, backpacking, sailing, scuba diving, dancing, reading, birding, gardening and above all else, spending time with loved ones. Rebecca hopes to inspire others to connect with the land and other people, as well as find their passion and to dedicate themselves to whatever endeavors allow them to reach their long-term goals.

How I got involved in CSSC

Rebecca attended her first convergence during Fall 2011 for her involvement with Take Back the Tap. Recently, she started working with a new resource center on her campus, Common Ground Center, and she is now sitting on council to strengthen the connection between Common Ground Center and the CSSC network.

The Role of student Action in Sustainability

Student action is essential to the success of the sustainability movement because we are the ones inheriting the injustices of the world. Students have the power to make a difference if we collaborate and pull our collective intelligence together. We are young with nothing to lose, but everything to gain and an inspiration to the generations before and after us through our actions.

The Areas of Sustainability That Interest Me Most

Rebecca is interested in all aspects of the sustainability movement because everything is connected, however she is particularly called to sustainable water management and accessibility.

Projects I have worked on

Rebecca acts as campus coordinator for Take Back the Tap (TBtT), which is working to eliminate the sale and distribution of single use water bottles on the UCSC campus. In addition to the environmental benefits of the ban, TBtT focuses heavily on the human rights issue behind bottled water. She also sits on the administration board for a resource center in one of the colleges on her campus, Common Ground Center; Education for a Just and Sustainable World. Rebecca is also involved with the Program in Community Agroecology (PICA), which focuses on sustainable food systems education.


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