SBCC was recently honored with the Green Campus Leadership Award at the Green California Community College Summit in Pasadena.

Sarah Ettman-Sterner

Sarah Ettman-Sterner (Nick Sterner photo)

The award recognizes the breadth of SBCC’s commitment to green leadership through its academic programs, grant development and sustainable campus facilities. Focusing on “strategy for green and sustainable communities,” Green Technology lists SBCC in its online Directory of Sustainability Programs at California Community Colleges.

Accepting the award Oct. 7 were SBCC’s Dr. Douglas Hersh, dean of educational programs; Julie Hendricks, director of facilities and campus development; and Rob Morales, director of purchasing.

“I hope that the successful projects at SBCC provide inspiration and useful information for other community colleges wanting to improve their sustainability,” Hendricks said in accepting the award. “I am very proud of our accomplishments and hope to continually improve the way the college operates and conducts business environmentally.”

Click here to view video of the awards ceremony and acceptance speeches.

“By moving towards a green campus, we are purchasing products and services that have a reduced or minimal environmental impact as compared to other similar products/services that serve the same purpose,” Morales said. “SBCC will continue to work with our vendors and the campus community to improve our sustainable purchasing practices.”

During the summit, Hersh was interviewed by Green Street Scene’s Personal Guide to Living Green for its Worldwide Webcast Network. Click here to view the interview.

Dr. Douglas Hersh, dean of educational programs at SBCC, focuses on green campus initiatives

Dr. Douglas Hersh, SBCC’s dean of educational programs, focuses on green campus initiatives. (Sarah Ettman-Sterner / Noozhawk photo

Competitive Workforce Green Training Grant

In response to a collaborative solicitation from the state Employment Development Department, the California Energy Commission, the California Workforce Investment Board and the Labor and Workforce Development Agency for $27 million in funding for energy efficiency, water efficiency, renewable energy and alternative and renewable transportation technologies, SBCC partnered with Cuesta College and the Workforce Investment Boards of Santa Barbara and San Louis Obispo in a California Clean Energy Workforce Training Program grant proposal.

On Oct. 6, the partners were informed of a $610,055 award. SBCC will receive about $378,000, or 62 percent of the total grant, for an 18-month program that will train 150 Workforce Investment Act eligible individuals in green technologies.

Department chairman Dr. Michael Gonella teaches a wide range of horticulture classes at SBCC

Department chairman Dr. Michael Gonella teaches a range of horticulture classes at SBCC. (Sarah Ettman-Sterner / Noozhawk photo)

“California’s goals in renewable energy development, climate change reduction, clean transportation and green building are driving green job growth — and these funds are pivotal to building a work force to meet that demand,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said. “This program represents the kind of innovative thinking needed to steer our economy toward a greener future while targeting the unemployed, underemployed and new work force members at a time when we must do everything possible to help Californians return to work.”

Leading this effort, Hersh is working with Dr. Mike Gonella, chairman of the Environmental Horticulture Department, and Dr. Patrick Foster, chairman of the Construction Technology Department, to implement a program designed to provide expertise in emerging-market green construction and landscaping techniques.

“To test the hypothesis that added skills yield greater self-esteem, we are taking this program one step further by working with the Youth Corps and providing hands-on skills training to an at-risk population who often falls through the cracks of higher education,” Hersh said.

“Green construction and landscaping, like the green movement in general, has many tiers of learning, planning and practice, and we are trying to develop a program that serves multiple populations — at-risk youths, incumbent workers, contractors, designers, homeowners, entrepreneurs, interested citizens — in the natural sequence of sustainable theory and practice,” said Foster, who has experience working with at-risk youths through Tradart’s Construction Academy at the Los Prietos Boys Camp in Santa Ynez.

Dr. Patrick Foster leads SBCC’s Construction Technology Department, which emphasizes hands-on green sustainable building methods

Dr. Patrick Foster leads SBCC’s Construction Technology Department, which emphasizes hands-on green sustainable building methods. (Sarah Ettman-Sterner / Noozhawk photo)

The program also will focus on equipping the youths with skills in the exploding field of sustainable landscaping, including hands-on experiences in the design, installation and maintenance of landscapes that conserve water, save energy, are self-contained, reduce erosion and pollution runoff, and produce useful products such as food, fiber and building materials.

“Since the state of California spends a large portion of its energy use on moving water to where it is needed, the water conservation techniques of landscaping, to be emphasized in curriculum and laboratory exercises of this program, will soon be some of the hottest labor-force skills desired in the landscaping industry,” Foster said. “We aim for the graduates of this new green program to be the leaders in this new green movement in landscaping. Furthermore, directing this program at this particular demographic group will have benefits to social as well as environmental justice causes.”

Green Hawk interactive producer Sarah Ettman-Sterner focuses on current environmental trends and marine-related topics. A member of the Society for Environmental Journalists, she provided the “voice” for Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society for more than a decade. She can be reached at