New USGBC-NCC Student Chapter at Cabrillo College


Since the Fall of 2009, Cabrillo College in Aptos, CA has become active in educating students in sustainable design and construction practices through courses offered in their Construction Energy Management (CEM) program. With foresight, Chuck Mornard, Construction and Energy Management department chair, Cabrillo committed to a three-year sponsorship of the local USGBC-NCC branch in 2011. This past spring semester, Cabrillo took advantage of the “Community Green” program recently launched by the USGBC’s Center for Green Schools, establishing its own Student Chapter of the USGBC-NCC with over 20 active members.

Under the guidance of adjunct faculty member Steve Murphy, Cabrillo College green building educator and LEED AP (BD+C) with Blach Construction in Monterey, students are able to connect, network, and get hands-on experience through a number of green projects and activities the Chapter selects. Its current board is comprised of Steve Hardin (President), Eva Rowe (President-elect); Diana Alfaro (Treasurer); Tiffany Wilson (Secretary) and Tom Dahl (ICC Student Representative).

By becoming a part of the Cabrillo Chapter, students are able to attend the USGBC-NCC Monterey Bay Branch monthly meetings, as well as pursue the option to take the LEED Green Associate exam, both at no cost. Currently, there is a core group of nine students preparing for this exam to be taken in late summer. As part of the “Community Green” program, free LEED Green Associate exams and study-guides have been made available to Cabrillo student members. In the 2013 fall semester, Cabrillo’s CEM program is offering a 3-unit LEED-Green Associate exam preparation class.

The chapter is active in both short-term and long-term projects around campus, deciding on proposals and implementing them. They participated in Earth Day at the San Lorenzo Park in Santa Cruz having a booth with activities and green information for the community. Cabrillo College’s Sustainability Club also enlisted their help to influence the Cabrillo Cafeteria Committee’s decision from installing fluorescent lights to LED lights in the $500k cafeteria remodeling project, by completing a bid and demonstrating the long-term, cost-effectiveness of using LED lighting. President Hardin worked closely on this bid and believes the club’s efforts are “making a difference. This is important to me - that we are action oriented and we do make a difference- that matters,” he said. To date many of the proposals have been turned down by the college, however the students are hopeful their efforts will be successful.

There are three long-term, multi-semester proposed projects the Cabrillo students are committed to seeing to fruition. The first of these projects is titled “Renewable Energy Initiative,” with the objective to bring more green energy projects to Cabrillo College. There are several components to this project, including proposing a solar thermal heating system installed for the campus swimming pool, as well as completing a feasibility study for installation of photovoltaic canopy cover systems in the parking lots. The second is their project titled “Green Energy Policies,” with the purpose of helping write green policies for Cabrillo College. This project’s intent is to influence or mandate that those entities making the construction, remodeling, and facilities operation decisions be required to following the guidelines set forth by green policies. By collaborating with campus leadership, and utilizing LEED & EBOM and or Green Point rating system as guidelines, the end result is to achieve higher energy efficiency standards for the campus. The third project is working in service with Habitat for Humanity to help build homes for the less fortunate in our local communities this summer.

In preparation for fall, students will be participating in the upcoming “Green Apple Day of Service” event on September 28, 2013. They plan to host activities on Cabrillo’s Aptos and Watsonville campuses, as well as assist with volunteer efforts in the Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay area communities.

For additional information on how to start your own college chapter or to participate in “Green Apple Day of Service,” visit and


1 Comment

  1. Awesome Ryn

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U.S. Green Building Council -
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