Cool Davis Initiative brings sustainable activities to campus, city

In 2008, the City of Davis adopted the Davis Climate Action and Adaption Plan, which was designed to involve the community in a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This plan started the organization Cool Davis Initiative. CDI’s task force of students is called Make Davis Cool.

Events will be held during Earth Week – the week of April 23 – and Picnic Day to bring awareness to the Cool California Project, which started on March 28.

The event is a statewide competition that involves cities like Palo Alto and San Jose to see which one can reduce its carbon footprint the most by engaging the community, according to Manny Rin, a senior environmental policy analysis and planning major and a core member of CDI. The Cool Davis Challenge will start in 2013.

“It is ultimately a year-long challenge that involves 10 cities competing to be the coolest city in the end,” said Will Rich, a sophomore civil engineering major and vice chair of the ASUCD Environmental Policy and Planning Commission (EPPC).

Participants can help by registering to find their carbon footprint, and then finding solutions to reduce it.

To help make Davis the “coolest” city in California, a lot of resources from CDI, Make Davis Cool and the city have been geared toward this challenge.

CDI is “a community-based group that works to engage 80 percent of Davis residents in some sort of sustainability habits,” Rin said.

Because Davis is composed mainly of students, CDI has a lot of involvement with student environmental groups such as EPPC, Campus Center for the Environment (CCE) and CalPIRG.

Past events in getting more students involved included the Pound for Pound Challenge, which was first held last year during Earth Week.

Rich said that people posted pictures of their reduction in carbon dioxide usage through CCE’s Facebook page. Every time someone did that, supermarkets donated a pound of food to the Food Pantry per pound of carbon dioxide reduced.

“We created one of the first completely student-run and -led class, Field Guide to Sustainable Living in Davis, which reached over 60 students in the past two years,” Rin said.

Michelle McNicol, a junior political science major and a member of EPPC, also plays a big role in Make Davis Cool. She meets every Friday with Rin to brainstorm on how to work on campus with the city and how to participate in bringing climate change awareness among students.

To bring more awareness, McNicol would like to use Humboldt State University’s Dorm Energy Challenge – a plan that reduces energy use in the dorms and greek houses – at UCD.

“I think it’d be really cool to do the Dorm Energy Challenge in the dorms here and spread it to the greek houses,” McNicol said. “It is a great way to get students involved in a fun way and spread awareness on how students can reduce their energy.”

Programs such as the Green Greek Initiative have been implemented to bring environmental awareness to those in sororities and fraternities.

“The prize in the end is getting the title of reducing your carbon footprint and being the coolest city in California,” McNicol said. “Pun intended.”

For more information on how to get involved, visit cooldavis.org or contact mannyrin@gmail.com.

MEE YANG can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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