Press Release: Sustainability Education and Career Programs Win Best Practice

San Rafael, CA – July 5, 2018 Energize Colleges and the Sustainability Education Blitz, both programs in partnership between nonprofit Strategic Energy Innovations (SEI) and Skyline College, are receiving Best Practice Awards from the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC) organizers at the annual conference in July.

Energize Colleges, a program funded by California utility customers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission, is receiving a CHESC Best Practice Award in the Multi-Campus Partnerships category. Energize Colleges has served as a catalyst for 12 California higher education institutions (seven of which, like Skyline College, are community colleges) participating in an innovative approach for student applied learning in sustainability and energy career pathways. Two and four-year campuses together formed a statewide network to share their experiences to tailor this program model to be relevant and self-sustaining for each institution within a 3-year timeframe. Since 2016, Energize Colleges has created over 250 student internships, 15 post-baccalaureate fellowships, 36 engagements with faculty on new courses, certificates and degree programs, and meaningful career connections with 12,000 high school students. In addition to Skyline College, the statewide network of campuses comprises: Butte College, College of Marin, UC Merced, CSU Bakersfield, Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, College of the Desert, UC Irvine, Orange Coast College, Mount San Antonio College, UC San Diego, and Southwestern College.

The Sustainability Education Blitz is a vanguard model for diffusing sustainability content across a wide array of disciplines and faculty by leveraging a guest lecturer approach with recent graduates serving as Climate Corps Fellows. Through the Sustainability Education Blitz, Fellows organize into pairs with a faculty partner at Skyline College or another college or university, to plan, deliver, and then document a sustainability-focused lesson tied to the course focus area or discipline. In 2018, the Sustainability Education Blitz Program celebrated its fifth-year anniversary. In the 2017-18 academic year, a total of 50 Climate Corps Fellows and 20 faculty members across 8 colleges participated. This resulted in diverse presentations to over 1,000 students through the Sustainability Education Blitz, engaging faculty across disciplines on how to integrate sustainability issues into their respective courses. 

SEI’s Deputy Director, Stephen Miller, expressed appreciation for this distinction from CHESC: “Our team is honored to receive this recognition for the innovation in, and institutionalization of sustainability education that Skyline College and our other campus partners have committed to and now realized. Both Energize Colleges and the [Sustainability Education] Blitz offer students and emerging professionals with critical information, applied learning and career launching experiences, while providing faculty, campus and community partners with invaluable support and resources.”

The Energize Colleges program has enabled Skyline College to make the case for dedicated sustainability programs staff and to institutionalize the campus’ environmental commitments in a myriad of ways. In particular, the Energize Colleges focus on experiential learning and workforce development directly ties into the mission of Skyline College to “empower and transform a global community of learners”. Furthermore, it has helped to more prominently feature sustainability to campus senior leadership, faculty, and staff. Energize Colleges participation also elevated the competitive application Skyline College submitted to the 2017 Universitas Indonesia (UI) GreenMetric World University Rankings, which ranked Skyline College as the top community college in the world. “Overall, the partnership between Skyline College and SEI has undoubtedly led to increased visibility of sustainability at Skyline College,” said Dean Raymond Hernandez, Science, Math, and Technology, Skyline College.  

The Sustainability Education Blitz founding faculty member is Carina Anttila-Suarez, Professor, Science, Math, and Technology at Skyline College. Ms. Anttila-Suarez established the Blitz model at Skyline College as “a creative approach for exposing students of all backgrounds and majors to the concept of sustainability. Whether a student is taking an English, Chemistry, Statistics, or Philosophy class, they will be introduced to the concept of sustainability and potentially have their interest in the environment and a potential green career pathway sparked.” 

Both awards will be officially presented to Skyline College and Strategic Energy Innovations representatives on Tuesday, July 12 at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference at UC Santa Barbara.

Contact:                                                                                               

Stephen Miller

Tel.: 415-507-2186

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Web: www.climate-corps.org

Web: www.energizecolleges.org


Climate Corps LogoClimate Corps Climate Corps is a program of Strategic Energy Innovations. Greening our communities requires a lot of work and Climate Corps recognizes the tremendous demand for qualified local workers. By bringing together municipalities, private industry, nonprofits, and academic institutions, Climate Corps is able to deliver green education programs and facilitate hands-on occupational training for emerging climate professionals. Not only do we equip them with the skills they need to land green jobs, we offer them an opportunity to make a positive contribution to society with their work. More information on Climate Corps can be found at http://www.climate-corps.org.

logo transparentStrategic Energy Innovations Creative, driven, and energetic, Strategic Energy Innovations (SEI) is a resourceful group of problem solvers that empowers people in underserved communities to save money by adopting more sustainable practices. Because SEI understands the many facets of sustainability, we’re able to see the big picture and pinpoint opportunities to help these communities reach their goals. Under our leadership, they can reduce their consumption of natural resources and enjoy quantifiable savings. More information about SEI can be found at https://www.seiinc.org.

EnergizeColleges finalEnergize CollegesThe Energize Colleges program supports higher-education institutions within California to develop and grow energy education and energy internships programs to build a highly qualified energy workforce. The goals of Energize Colleges are to:support and build highly effective energy career education programs; develop a qualified workforce for long-term energy savings and environmental protection; and establish career awareness, skills, and hands-on experience with students exploring energy-related fields.More information about Energize Colleges can be found at https://www.energizecolleges.org

Skyline LogoSkyline College Skyline College is an accredited, comprehensive California community college serving more than 16,000 students annually, offering 100 Associate Degree and Certificate programs. Located on a 111-acre campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Skyline College has offered world-class educational opportunities to residents from North San Mateo County and beyond since 1969. Part of the San Mateo Community College District, Skyline College strives to inspire a global and diverse community of learners to achieve intellectual, cultural, social, economic and personal fulfillment.

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Energize Colleges is funded by California utility customers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.
Strategic Energy Innovations is the program implementer.