UC Merced wins highest honor for its efforts to go green

Roughly half of the energy used by the college is reusable - and it's making an impact.

Shayla Girardin Image
Friday, July 29, 2022
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UC Merced is taking action to make its campus more sustainable - and getting national recognition in the process.

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- From solar power to sorting waste, UC Merced is taking action in every way possible to go green.

One example - the college's own campus recycling center, where students spend several hours a day sorting every bag that comes their way.

"We have on average a day 200 bags of trash and we finish it all," says Allajah Blugh, UC Merced's zero waste coordinator.

"We wouldn't be able to do it without them. It gives you this pride because you feel like youre doing the work when it comes to sustainability because you're sorting through that trash."

It's the students - like Austin John Escobar, a fomer intern of the sustainability office, who make these actions possible.

Escobar has been researching ways the college can reduce their carbon footprint.

"Electrifying our fleet, setting up electric charging stations for the cars the university owns," says Austin John Escobar.

And you can't drive past campus without noticing the hundreds of solar panels - they're on buildings, on parking structures, or just standing on their own.

"It's embedded into the campus. We're looking at different avenues of renewable energy, but right now solar is the most feasible," says director of sustainability Mark Maxwell.

Roughly half of the energy used by the college is reusable - and it's making an impact.

UC Merced was just awarded a platinum rating - the highest honor - for their sustainability efforts.

Only 11 colleges across the country have achieved the honor given by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

The campus will be re-certified in 3 years.