Home Resources SSI News ESI Interns attend the 7th Annual UC/CSU/CCC Sustainability Conference
ESI Interns attend the 7th Annual UC/CSU/CCC Sustainability Conference

UC San Diego students gather during the 7th Annual UC/CSU/CCC Sustainability Conference at Cal Poly University, which took place July 31-August 2, 2008.

Picture by ESI intern Jonathan Lee

Story by ESI interns Erika Kociolek, Ashley Ferrer and Jonathan Lee

ESI interns Ashley Ferrer, Jonathan Lee, and Erika Kociolek joined over 850 participants attending the 7th annual UC/CSU/CCC Sustainability Conference at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  Mr. Jerome Ringo, a former employee of the petrochemical industry-turned environmental activist, opened the four day conference with a rousing and inspirational speech.  Participants then dispersed to a myriad of talks and sessions in over 15 areas, including green building, transportation, food systems, energy, waste reduction, and curriculum.  Interns attended sessions on student-initiated fee referendums for green projects, best practices in student sustainability, and greenhouse gas tracking using student projects and courses.  These sessions, along with meeting and speaking with students and staff from other colleges and universities catalyzed discussion among the 35 UCSD students and staff that attended the conference about goals for the upcoming year and collaborations between different departments.

One highlight of the conference for all the interns was the time Mr. Ringo took to interact with a group of 70 students, discussing the future of green jobs.  Mr. Ringo spoke passionately about his experience in the petrochemical industry, and his struggle to hold accountable the people that had allowed the leeching of toxic chemicals into poor, minority neighborhoods in Louisiana.  He also encouraged students to step up to the plate and address the environmental issues our society faces.  Although many industries are criticized for being unsustainable, Mr. Ringo holds that until people are able to switch to cleaner alternatives or better practices, companies will continue to generate large profits.  Believing that our generation will push technology and solutions towards a greener future, Mr. Ringo stressed the responsibility that we have to future generations to ensure a healthy environment with justice for all.

By allowing faculty, staff, and students from different colleges and universities to converge for four days, the UC/CSU/CCC Sustainability Conference was a venue in which knowledge was shared and motivation was spread.  This event was extremely inspirational and underscored the important impact students can have on their campus.