Students who recognized the value of the natural environment, became tired of attending events, engaging in conversations with university administration, and seeing no action toward favorable environmental policies.

These students, passionate about taking action towards sustainability, researched models of student agency and activist organizations at other universities so that they could institutionalize sustainability on their own campus, UCSC. Eventually, basing the Student Environmental Center (SEC) off of the CU Boulder student agency model, the SEC was created with the goal of seeking clear and specific sustainable initiatives through student voice, education, and empowerment.

sec logo.png

To achieve these goals, SEC convened the first Earth Summit in 2002. The event brought students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community members together to discuss the state of sustainability at UC Santa Cruz.

Of many notable accomplishments that first Earth Summit manifested, it first guided Earth Summit participants to form working groups and the Chancellor's Sustainability Action Council (CSAC), a supporting group designed to "help institutionalize and coordinate the ongoing efforts of the working groups." Together, these working groups and CSAC sought to spark important conversations and put projects identified at Earth Summit into action.  A second impactful consequence of the first Earth Summit was the creation of the Blueprint for a Sustainable Campus. This document was first created and circulated in 2003 as an "action plan" inspired by and developed through conversations had at the first Earth Summit.

Eventually, an important SEC organizer, Aurora Winslade, graduated and founded with the support of students and administration, the UC Santa Cruz's Sustainability Office. Working groups moved under this Sustainability Office.



csc logo.jpg

The SEC further worked to pass Ballot Measure 9, the Campus Sustainability Programs Fee in 2003. The passing of Measure 9 established a quarterly $3 student fee, in order to create a source of funding for projects to achieve SEC’s goals. 

The Campus Sustainability Council (CSC) was formed to rightfully distribute the funds collected by these student fees to students and student organizations committed in institutionalizing "environmentally sound practices on campus".

These funds supported, and continue to support, educating and empowering students on topics related to environmental justice and sustainability, through various programs and events. Ballot Measure 14 raised the fee to $6 in 2005.

Until 2017, the SEC had 5 campaigns each year which focused on different topics of sustainability. These campaigns would enact individual projects that aimed to make changes on campus within those individual foci related to sustainability.

During 2017, the organization discussed and agreed to view sustainability and environmental justice through a more intersectional lens and to focus more on collaboration between members, thereby allowing for more efficient implementation of direct and relevant projects on campus. Currently, the SEC is seeking out our next big project to work on, with your help!

Today, the SEC continues to honor history and tradition by undertaking meaningful and long lasting projects using student funding and by seeking similar goals rooted in sustainability and environmental justice.