UC Merced

UC Merced earns LEED certification for sustainable design

UC Merced received another Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design platinum certification, this time for the Student Services Building.

The award brings the campus total for LEED certifications through the U.S. Green Building Council to 13. UC Merced continues to be the only campus in the nation with LEED certification for all its facilities.

“UC Merced continues to pave the way in sustainable planning and design, frequently outperforming our objectives through the dedication and hard work of the consultants, contractors and staff involved and inspired by the vision of our leadership,” campus architect Thomas Lollini said.

Platinum certifications are pending on two residence halls, called The Summits, and on Science & Engineering 2, which opened this fall. The campus is also expected to also achieve platinum status for its newest building, which is under construction, the second Classroom and Office Building.

Earning LEED certifications for design is only one of the campus’s goals. The facilities department is also conducting audits of operations in every building on campus, from energy use to procurement procedures, to earn LEED recognition for the use and maintenance of the buildings.

The campus earlier this year won the California Architectural Foundation’s Owings Award for Environmental Excellence, recognizing UC Merced’s first development phase for its holistic view toward sustainability.

The campus’s master plan has won nine awards, including several from the American Institute of Architects, the Society of Campus and University Planners, the International Green Industry Hall of Fame, and the California Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award.

Though UC Merced has been honored for “cutting-edge sustainability in design and construction” of its buildings, the campus continues to undertake ambitious sustainability efforts, including its “Triple Zero” commitment to create zero landfill waste, consume zero net energy and produce zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The campus also plans to be nearly 90 percent powered by renewable energy by the end of 2016.

“There’s no other campus like UC Merced in the country,” Assistant Vice Chancellor of Strategic Facilities Planning Graeme Mitchell said. “This is a very special place.”

Chancellor attends White House summit

At the White House last week, Chancellor Dorothy Leland reported on the progress that UC Merced is making toward each of the six initiatives she outlined at the College Opportunity Summit in January.

The campus’s efforts to support undocumented students and help underserved students prepare for and succeed in college are well underway:

▪  Undocumented Student Services: The university, which added 124 undocumented students in the fall, began a “career boot camp” program to help students better navigate life after college.

▪  Silicon Valley Pathways Program: Student job and internship placement with companies in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area more than doubled from the previous year, from 90 to 191, and the number of Silicon Valley firms conducting on-campus interviews and information sessions for students increased from four to 17.

▪  STEM Resource Center: Additional funding from the campus has allowed the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Resource Center to enhance academic support for the 49 percent of UC Merced students who major in those fields.

▪  College and Career Readiness Conference: UC Merced held a one-day conference in April to address college preparation, affordability and career exploration for 74 high school seniors from low-income families.

▪  Foster Youth Services: The Guardian Scholars Program at UC Merced, which provides support to the roughly 80 former foster youths on campus, now offers year-round housing and emergency funds for financial hardship.

▪  Financial Literacy: In partnership with local financial institutions, UC Merced offered several “Money Wise” financial literacy workshops in 2014. The campus also is developing a financial literacy website.

“UC Merced is proud to be a part of this prestigious and vitally important effort, and we are even prouder of the steps we have taken as a university to serve our students more effectively,” Leland said.

UC Merced Connect is a collection of news items written by the University Communications staff. To contact them, email communications@ucmerced.edu.