Some things are worth the wait.
Back in March 2017, Haley Nieh and Anna Whitney, chairs of the University of California Santa Barbara and Berkeley chapters, respectively, met with UC Director of Sustainability Matt St. Clair.
Their goal was simple: Get the entire University of California system – with its 10 campuses, five medical centers, and three affiliated national research labs – to go all-in on renewable electricity and join our 100% Committed campaign. They knew the UC system committing to renewable electricity would not only make a huge cut in state emissions, but also make a powerful statement to colleges and universities across the country: We did this and you can too.
St. Clair was sympathetic, but unable to make the commitment at the time. Each UC campus at the time had its own climate action plan and the system’s medical centers needed more planning.
But Nieh and Whitney didn’t give up and led chapter activists in joining town hall meetings on UC sustainability efforts, built coalitions with students at other campuses, and continued to press the administration for a system-wide climate action plan.
Thanks in part to their efforts and continued work within the system, the University of California announced it would expand its system-wide sustainability goals as part of its Carbon Neutrality Initiative. For the chapters, the big announcement was that the university would aim for 100 percent renewable electricity on all its campuses and medical centers by 2025.