We Demand Funding for a Sustainability Resource Center at UCR

Chancellor Wilcox

UC Riverside is currently the most vulnerable to environmental injustice out of all 10 UC campuses. According to data provided by CalEnviroScreen 4.0, UCR is confronted with the highest rates of air pollution exposure and environmental hazard in the UC system, with an overall percentile score of 82% (https://oehha.ca.gov/calenviroscreen/report/calenviroscreen-40). UCR students face disproportionate risks of environmental health hazards due to regional warehousing in the Inland Empire and air pollutants traveling from the greater Los Angeles area from natural air currents (Ober, 2021). Even so, UCR remains one of the few UC campuses without any formal on-campus resource center for environmental and sustainability-focused organizing among students.

Communication between student organizations is limited and environmental organizing is disjointed. These obstacles that are challenging our ability to address the environmental health and sustainability needs of our student body require immediate action. All this taken into consideration, we at UCR’s Green Campus Action Plan are demanding that UCR prioritize our environmental health by encouraging student environmental activism and setting up the infrastructure necessary for a Sustainability Resource Center.

A sustainability resource center at UCR would provide our student body with the following:

  1. A physical space and channel for student environmentalists and sustainability-oriented organizations to mobilize, collaborate, and form networks of solidarity amongst one another.

  2. Education opportunities to increase environmental and social justice literacy.

  3. Access to civic service and career opportunities in the environmental sciences and sustainability studies.

  4. Experience in on-campus and off-campus organizing and other skills transferable to professional development after graduation.

In order for this to happen, the following demands must be met by UCR:

  1. Funding for an on-campus office space, like those at Costo Hall, dedicated to a Sustainability Resource Center for students to organize.

  2. Hiring 3 full time staff members with experience in environmental organizing to oversee the responsibilities of this center.

  3. Funding for 5 student staff members in charge of daily operations of this center.

This center will be modeled with three central focus areas. Community organizing, student activism and organizing, and environmental education will be the guiding objectives of this Sustainability Resource Center. A safe space for students to engage in conversations about our changing environment is essential for the UCR community at large. By signing this petition, you are acknowledging that the comprehensive health of UCR’s student body is urgent and requires immediate action. A sustainability resource center at UCR is a necessary step towards environmental equity and community resilience in the face of unforgiving environmental circumstances we face as we attend university in the Riverside area.

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, you can contact info@gcapucr.com or reach out to our Policy Director, Cindy Pace, at cpace001@ucr.edu.

To: Chancellor Wilcox
From: [Your Name]

Dear Chancellor Wilcox,

I am writing in support of the demands laid out by our Green Campus Action Plan (GCAP) to fund a Sustainability Resource Center on the UCR campus. This includes funding an on-campus space to open this center, hiring 3 full time staff members to work in the office, and hiring 5 student staff to represent the goals of this center.

This center will not only provide a channel for student environmentalist to organize on campus, but it will also strengthen the UCR community and provide opportunities transferrable to students outside of school as they begin careers in sustainability, the environmental sciences, and civic service.