Sustainability at Skyline College: Energize Colleges Update

With the Energize Colleges student internship program in its fourth year, a set of 10 interns are working hard on their individual sustainability projects! These projects include zero waste, energy analysis on the new Environmental Science building, environmental education, the Green Office Program, construction of a solar-powered charging station, continued work on the Growsphere and Food Insecurity.

In adapting to the campus closure, our student interns are still hard at work on their projects, focusing on keeping connected with Skyline College students and campus community through remote methods. Below is an update on two current projects by our Green Office Intern Chris Wardell and Building Analyst Intern GaHyeon Shin:

chris“The Green Office Program is designed to optimize offices in the areas of energy usage, personal activity, and waste reduction. Dean Ray Hernandez and the SMT Division office were integral in piloting the implementation in their workspace and surrounding areas.

By reducing energy used, creating more awareness around our individual and collective activities, and reducing the waste we generate, we can transform Skyline College and the San Mateo County Community College District into a flagship for sustainability and environmental education. The Green Office Program is key in helping to meet the district’s climate action goals of zero waste by 2025 and zero net energy by 2030.

Thanks to the support of Facilities Supervisor Bryant Evans, we have implemented composting capabilities in Building 7 around the STEM Center to reduce the amount of smaller waste bins – and the associated plastic can-liners. Through the commitment of Dean Hernandez, the SMT division, and the SMCCCD Sustainability team, we are increasing our ability to divert waste intelligently and realize cost savings that can be applied to developing broader student support programs.

Since the switch to remote-work, I have reimagined the Green Office Program by drafting and designing a brief informative newsletter with helpful, sustainable ideas to help improve your life and wellbeing – all while benefiting the world at large. Win-win. Feel free to look over them here: Volume 1, Volume 2” – Chris Wardell

GaHyeon“My name is GaHyeon, I am a student interested in the field of Sustainability and Urban Studies. At the beginning of this school year, I was looking for jobs/internships on campus and came across this wonderful opportunity. Over the last few years, Skyline College has taken a progressive step to adopt and promote sustainable practices on campus and one great example is the new Environmental Science Building that was recently completed in fall 2019.

The goal of my project is to provide the Skyline College community information regarding the sustainability of Building 12 and the beneficial impacts of sustainable buildings on human health in hopes to raise awareness toward the importance of sustainable practices. Prior to the campus closure, I used the campus as a living lab and had an opportunity to cooperate with the district sustainability team. Since the campus shut down I have had some difficulties due to restricted access to campus; however, I have been trying my best to gather accurate and appropriate information through online databases. It is certainly unfortunate to see how pandemic has tremendously been affecting our lives. Meanwhile, I learned to appreciate the simplicity and freedom that nature offers us and felt it’s even more important to protect and sustain our ecosystem and our planet.

I will be transferring out after this Spring semester, but I would like to highly encourage anyone who is interested in sustainability or any related major to take this wonderful internship opportunity. I have learned so much along the way and got to explore new aspects I have never come across in my life so I would like to thank Kayla and everyone who has helped me with the project. Hope everyone stays safe and healthy!” – GaHyeon Shin

Want to get involved or know more information? Check out the Skyline College Sustainability Page, SMCCCD Sustainability Page or follow on Instagram! The Sustainability team has transitioned to remote work but are getting ready to continue their sustainability initiative virtually to stay connected with the students and campus community.

Article by Kayla Belich, Chris Wardell & GaHyeon Shin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *