Prepare to Be Cool and Climate-Aware

The Cool Campus Challenge is back! All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to participate as individuals or in teams, by taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase education and mindfulness about climate disruption.


  • Tabling — At the farmers market on the Quad, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Wednesdays, April 3, 10 and 24, where the Office of Sustainability has arranged for people to register on the spot. You can also learn about UC’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative (CNI) and win T-shirts or tote bags.
  • Sustainability Sketch Crawls — noon-1:30 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, April 10 and 12; meet near the information desk in the lobby of the Student Community Center. All materials supplied.
  • “Roots on Campus” — 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday, April 16-17. Plant trees to benefit the environment and leave a lasting mark on campus. Sign-ups are being taken via this Facebook event page; space is limited. Sponsored by the Office of Sustainability and the Green Initiative Fund.
  • Online Scavenger Hunt — Learn more about carbon neutrality and win cool prizes like a Hydro Flask or pizza party for getting the most points. Send an email to CNI Fellow Tyler Barzee if you wish to participate.

Besides helping the environment, you’ll earn points for you and your team and UC Davis — as we all endeavor to reduce our carbon footprints and spread the word about the importance of going carbon-neutral, which is what UC has pledged to do by 2025. See below for information about a related initiative, just beginning, having to do with off-campus carbon-offset projects.

This is the university’s second Cool Campus Challenge (the first was in 2015, won by UC Irvine).

The new contest starts Monday (April 1), when the Cool Campus Challenge website begins accepting signups, and continues until April 26 — running nearly four weeks of Earth Month — when the "Coolest UC Campus" will be named.

Beyond bragging rights, the real point of the competition is to build a culture of sustainability across the UC system, said David Phillips, UC’s associate vice president for energy and sustainability.

“We hope that this contest will be a fun way to make more people aware that the environmentally-friendly choice is as easy as turning off your computer monitor at night,” Phillips said. “Lots of little things really add up when we work together.”

Each week, the challenge will highlight simple actions that participants can take to help Mother Earth — like shutting off computer monitors that are not in use and taking public transportation.

Points will be awarded for taking suggested actions, and additional points will be awarded to participants who come up with their own creative ideas for environmental sustainability. Multiple prizes will be awarded.

In the friendly challenge, participants will be asked to share their efforts on social media, using the hashtag #CoolCampusChallenge — so that everyone around the university system can see what others are doing, and perhaps be inspired to do more! After all, we can’t let Irvine be the "Coolest UC Campus" twice!

Carbon-offset projects

UC developed the Cool Campus Challenge to motivate campus communities to support the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative, launched by UC President Janet Napolitano in 2013. Now, as the second challenge gets underway, the university is asking the UC community for ideas on carbon-offset projects the university might consider initiating or from which the university might consider purchasing credits.

UC Davis’ John Muir Institute of the Environment and the Office of Sustainability will co-host a workshop from 10 a.m. to noon Friday, April 26, at Putah Creek Lodge to describe campus climate action to date and discuss the request for ideas. Principal investigator Barbara Haya, a research fellow at UC Berkeley’s Center for Environmental Public Policy, will be in attendance.

More information is available online. Inquiries may be directed to Haya via email or UC Davis campus lead Camille Kirk via email.

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