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Chapman University Site Visit & Tour

Chapman University hosted the GBCSC's third quarter meeting of 2017 on Thursday, July 27th.

Chapman Sustainability Programs & Initiative (Mackenzie Crigger, Sustainability Manager, Chapman University)

  • Key focus areas are: lighting upgrades, water conservation, waste reduction (composting, Enviropure), transportation (EV chargers, bike vouchers, shuttles)

  • The sustainability programs are saving the campus real money. In one example, where Rinker Health Sciences building had LED lights installed, the energy cost was cut in half.

  • With the campus water conservation programs, the equivalent of 38 Olympic sized pools of water have been saved.

  • Organic waste from students has been reduced from 5lbs/student per meal period in 2012 to 0.28lbs/student in 2017.

  • Their Enviropure system converts organic waste and can handle 1000 lbs/24 hours. The effluent goes into the sewer system—but there is some discussion to see if could have a greywater reuse destination on campus like irrigation.

  • They have an extensive bike voucher program for students and staff that requires the individual to give up their parking pass for 2 years in exchange for $300 towards a bike. The university brings bike repair vendors to campus and subsidizes the cost to help the students maintain their bikes.

  • The university also offers continuing education programs for staff and faculty so they can increase their sustainability knowledge and incorporate it into their curriculum. These programs fill quickly and there is ever increasing demand.

  • More information on the web:

Chapman University Sustainability Coursework (Jason Keller, Associate Professor, Chapman University and Andrew Lyon, Dean of Schmidt College of Science and Technology, Chapman University)

  • Strong focus on interdisciplinary learning and projects. One way they are working towards this is the “Grand Challenges Initiative”—teams of students work together on big problems in health, science, sustainability, technology, and teaching to identify ‘out of the box’ solutions. Themes have included: how to reverse engineer the brain, how to mitigate climate change, how deliver low cost, clean water globally, how to improve nutrition and eliminate obesity. There will be 60, 5 person teams starting work in the fall.

  • The program is supported by a team of external advisors, which could include interested GBCSC members

  • A new science building is opening in fall 2018 that will be LEED Gold. In its design, a lot of attention was given to sustainability aspects and fostering a collaborative environment. Lots of open gathering places, walls can serve as whiteboards, etc.

  • Environmental Science & Policy is one track available to students. It seeks to train scientists that can communicate their information and affect policy change. As such students are required to take courses in policy, earth systems and ecology---all topped off with a capstone project. The capstone project is an annual environmental audit of the campus, under the guidance of Mackenzie.

  • They are eager to connect students to more real world opportunities (e.g. through internships) and have professionals come to campus and present to students on what they do. If you are interested in either of these opportunities contact: or

Strategic Environmental Communication (SEC) Lab at Chapman: Investigating Water Conservation Messaging (Dr Kerk Kee, Chapman University)

  • The SEC lab was established in 2014 as a reaction to the CA drought. Its focus is on improving and better understanding environmental communication through persuasion and diffusion research.

  • Five studies were presented, only two summarized in this summary for brevity purposes

  • Study 1: Typology of water conservation messages. Through analysis of existing water campaigns, the SEC identified what strategies are used most often to motivate people to reduce water use. The three most used were evidence-based arguments, loss aversion and providing conservation tips.

  • Study 2: In the second study, they examined which of the three strategies were most effective through controlled surveys of 180 people. They found the most effective method was a combination of evidence arguments and conservation tips.

  • Kerk ended his presentation with some general information about effective communication strategy (e.g., be concise, utilize visual appeal, make a call to action, make the materials relevant to your audience).

  • Kerk welcomed GBCSC companies to participate in his courses and with the students. Interested parties can reach him at

Waste Not OC (Mike Learakos)

  • Started in 2012 by a restaurant owner that wanted unused food to have a second home. He works across sectors (government, food banks, restaurants, corporate donors) to funnel unused food to those that are food insecure, safely.

  • They provide trainings to restaurants on best management practices to reduce waste and safely convey extra food to the donation centers. They also have a program to train veterans on food recovery techniques.

  • They have mapped the food recovery locations throughout the OC (over 200) to help restaurant owners connect with the right folks.

  • Participating restaurants are acknowledged with a window sticker; similar programs exist in other cities.

Office of Community Relations Overview (Jack Raubolt, VP Community Relations, Chapman University & Alisa Driscoll, Communications and Operations Manager, Chapman University)

  • The Office of Community Relations is an entity on campus that works to connect the university with the outside community (business owners, residents, government officials, etc). It helps forward the sustainability objectives of the university with student volunteerism with community groups including Orange Home Grown and the OC Food Access Coalition.

  • Orange Home Grown is an educational farm that opened in May 2016. It is maintained by the university but is open to the public and has multiple engagement programs.

  • The OC Food Access Coalition interacts with the university through the Harvest Club. OCFAC will harvest the fruit trees on Chapman University properties for free. The fruit is then donated to food banks, which often lack fresh produce.

OC Food Access Coalition (Lindsey Harrison, Program Director, Food Access Coalition)

  • Founded in 2010, the OCFAC was created to battle food insecurity in Orange County, which is 5th in the State for Adult Food Insecurity and 10th in the Nation for Childhood Food Insecurity.

  • The Harvest Club is a program of the Coalition and works with the University and other residents of the OC to harvest fruit, mostly citrus. The collect 80,000 pounds a year from 150 different properties to feed people in 70 different food programs.

  • They are always looking for volunteers. Harvests typically last 2 hours and can occur on any day of the week (as preferred by the homeowner). If you are interested in volunteering, contact


Cypress Street School House

  • This historic building was renovated in 2013 to be LEED Gold—the first on the campus. It was originally built in 1928 and used as an elementary school. Many photos of the classes and other historic events lined the walls. It now houses an early human development research group.


Musco Center

  • This theater opened in March of 2016. The theater is used for both student productions and professional performances. We toured the lobby, seating area, and backstage. The exterior features drought tolerant plants as well as lawn that is irrigated with recycled water.


The cuisine of the day was also sustainable. Lunch was served in the Orange Home Grown farm and prepared by Sodexo for Chapman Dining and Restaurant Services, using produce that was available from the garden.

We got a presentation from Megan Penn, Executive Director of Organ Home Grown, who talked about how the community gets involved in the planting and harvesting of the garden, the student education programs that take place, as well as the farmers market that takes place on Saturdays in an adjacent location.

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