Sustainability Forum Winners Sustainability contest winner, Angelique Fuentes, is launching a pilot project to test out the development of student-run carpools.   Angelique’s goal is to help Skyline College reduce its carbon footprint and the amount of vehicles on campus.  From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28 – Thursday, April 30 and on Tuesday, May 4 – Thursday, May 7, Angelique and fellow students will use a small section of Lot M to provide spaces to carpoolers.

Angelique’s effort began on November 13, 2014, when over 100 students including Angelique piled into the Solar and Building Science Learning Center in Pacific Heights. The students from different backgrounds and majors were all there for one purpose: the Sustainability Forum. The Sustainability Forum was organized by campus and district members Joe Fullerton, Jennifer Mair, Christopher Koh, Carmela Gaspar, Bruce Greenstein, Carla Grandy and Carina Anttila-Suarez, in hopes of inspiring students to become change-makers on campus in the context of sustainability. The big goal of the forum was to identify and fund student projects that would make Skyline College a more sustainable campus.

Sustainabiltiy forum group voteThree months later on February 10, 2015, 100 students attended the Sustainability Forum Voting Night, where students presented projects that would make help create a more sustainable campus. Students used iClickers to vote for proposals and enjoyed pizza in Building 6.  Angelique Fuentes won $1,000 to support her proposal – a carpooling pilot project that would gauge the effectiveness of an institutionalized carpool system. Jose Iniguez received $500 for a campus aquaponics system that he wanted to start as an educational tool in the classroom. Yanni Guo won $1500 for a proposed Earth Day event focused on reducing the amount of bottled water purchased on campus.

After the students presented, the audience voted for each project based on the impact it would create for the campus. The students, under the guidance of Carina Anttila-Suarez, Carla Grandy, Christopher Koh and Joe Fullerton, immediately started working on their projects, and are close to completion. Carla Grandy who is advising Angelique feels that “this transportation study is a great opportunity to both encourage students to carpool and also to see how the logistics can work. Since so many Skyline students drive, it is really important to find a way that they can do it more sustainably. The pilot project will allow us to see how it would be best to implement a program and what types of incentives to offer and help students to learn the benefits of carpooling. “

All the student efforts are exciting, however by its nature, the set-up of Angelique’s carpool project has been very intricate and complex. Angelique will lead students who will promote, set up and monitor the carpool area. Impressively Angelique has been coordinating with John Doctor of Facilities and Chief Robert Dean of Public Safety to section off part of the coveted Lot M parking spaces to incentivize students to carpool during Carpool Week from April 28-30 and May 5-7. She has also worked with Eugene Whitlock for legal counsel, Linda Bertellotti for event planning, Cherie Colin for marketing services and enjoys the strong support of President Regina Stanback Stroud. Many thanks are sent to the Facilities Department for supporting this student initiative by providing cones, flags and signs. In addition the group wants to thank the public safety staff who will be assisting student volunteers by periodically doing rounds in the designated section of the lot.

Dean Ray Hernandez who has been a great supporter of the Sustainability Ambassador Network (SAN), our campus group working for Skyline College to implement best green practices said “This is a wonderful opportunity for students to address environmental issues and build community at the same time.  The last mile to get to Skyline is not as easily accessible via public transit; the carpool initiative makes great sense as a way to minimize environmental impact.”

This is a great reminder of the potential that students, like Angelique, Jose and Yanni have to create positive change on campus. It also reminds us how important it is to have faculty, staff, and administration to support and guide our students to successfully implement impactful projects on campus.

Written by Carina Anttila-Suarez & Christopher Koh