RCC Board drafts sustainability proposal

In 2002, the Riverside Community College District Board of Trustees drafted a sustainability and environmental responsibility policy proposal.

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By Sandra Rodriguez / Staff Writer

By Sandra Rodriguez / Staff Writer

In 2002, the Riverside Community College District Board of Trustees drafted a sustainability and environmental responsibility policy proposal.

 

The policy was drafted but never adopted, and now a new sustainability and environmental responsibility policy is being drafted by the Board of Trustees.

 

This new policy is No. 6870 and it states that the college recognizes its responsibility to exercise environmental stewardship and to economically manage the use of buildings, land and natural resources.

 

Ryan Sendejas is Chair of the Environmental Committee and also a member of the Sustainability Club at Riverside City College.

 

“We are representatives of the students on campus for environmental purpose,” Sendejas said. “It’s a goal to raise more awareness and get the school involved.”

 

RCC currently does not have an environmental department.

 

Sendejas and Daniel Francis, who is also a member of the Sustainability Club, have been going around campus and speaking to students about the sustainability and environmental responsibilities the school and students should try to exercise.

 

They also collect signatures of students petitioning to agree to do their part in helping the school to be more environmentally conscious.

“Basically this petition is support for this policy,” Sendejas said.

 

There are six principles and guidelines of sustainable stewardship that the draft identifies.

 

The third principle is a plan to create all new facilities of the district, designed and constructed to meet LEED certification standards and, to the greatest extent practical, major renovations that are to be designed to also meet LEED standards.

 

LEED is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

 

“It is an application process for putting together a building that is environmentally safe,” Francis said.

 

“They each have different stamps depending on how green the building is,” Francis said.

 

However, the Sustainability Club has also assisted in the development of a seventh principle.

 

This new principle is to develop a comprehensive master design plan for each campus to coordinate the original six principle and guidelines, and also to create a list of ideas generated in response to the draft.

 

Some ideas included on the list are energy production, recycling collection center, installation of new lights, and fitting of new thermostat controls in some classrooms.

 

This retrofitting of thermostat  is a system intended to keep reasonable temperatures in RCC classrooms.

 

“Oh it’s freezing in my class when the air conditioner is on. And sometimes it’s on during cold days,” said student Cynthia Castro.

 

Castro’s schedule consists of early morning classes, and she says that her classrooms can become so cold that she shivers at some points.

 

Installation of new lights at RCC means that the school would shift to more energy-efficient lighting systems, away from less conservative lighting that uses more electricity.

 

“Wouldn’t buying those economical light bulbs cost more money for our school,” said student Gregory Henry.

 

Many of the lights on campus are kept on during the night and all weekend.

 

Francis also expressed that the land usage at RCC is not up to par.

 

“Land usage has everything to do with overhead watering and lawns and pointless hedges, instead of having some type of fruiting hedge or native plants that take no water,” Francis said.

 

Aside from the overall appearance of the school, there are welding and mechanical classes that collect excess metal.

 

Sendejas said that he has not had the time to get around and question this conflict.

 

The policy also states that the college will minimize negative environmental impacts of activities under the college’s control.

 

Football games are one of these activities that could have a negative impact on the environment.

 

Sendejas attends a lot of the games and at the end of every game he and a small group will pick up and recycle any recyclable items left behind.

 

“After the football games we will have about 6 to 8, 55 gallon bins filled with bottles, cans, paper goods and cardboard,” Sendejas said.

 

This job is usually left to a janitor however, because our budget cuts do not allow janitors to fully fulfill their job title.   

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