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UC Merced Wins Best Practice Awards for Sustainability Efforts

June 19, 2020
The Carson House living-learning community won a Best Practices Award for Interdisciplinary Academics at the 2020 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference

UC Merced is the only campus to win three best practice awards in the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference ’s 2020 energy and sustainability competition.

The annual conference, to be held virtually July 6-10, highlights cutting-edge research as well as case studies with proven successes in curriculum development, operational programs and community partnerships.

UC Merced’s 2020 best practice awards are:

Interdisciplinary Academics for "Carson House Sustainable Futures: A Student Community Learning, Living Sustainability"

Carson House is a living-learning community, a year-long immersive course and residence experience for first-year students that focuses on sustainable principles. Carson House imbues economic, social and environmental sustainability. Students live together and build a peer-community connection to shared educational experiences, including participating in directed and self-directed events and programs. Supported by dedicated instructors, faculty and staff, the students collaborate to realize a new, sustainable vision for the future.

Partnerships, Communications & Planning for “Cooking Up New Programs to Leave No Food Behind”

UC Merced has launched several waste-reduction programs targeting food waste on campus and in the community. The Bobcat Eats Food Waste Awareness and Prevention Program has redirected more than 2 million pounds of food that otherwise would have gone to landfills. After the success of this program, other areas of food waste have been identified, leading to the creation of new programs that have been highly successful in waste reduction due to effective planning, partnerships and communications.

Sustainable Food Service for “Ugly Produce” Rescue and Donation Initiative

UC Merced produce vendor Daylight Foods partnered to create a food waste reduction and produce donation program that not only benefits UC Merced’s food-insecure students and community members, but provides nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables to food security programs at UC Davis, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and California State University, Chico.

Four other campuses each won two awards: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; Cal State Northridge; CSU Dominguez Hills; and Sacramento State.