Environmental Policy & Outreach
2019-2020 Academic Year Projects
Oil and Gas
The Policy & Outreach team is working with Board member Dave Ossentjuk to study the carbon intensity difference between California oil production and foreign imported oil. So far, the team has put together a data set on carbon intensity from the extraction and transportation of crude oil products to California refineries. From this data, we hope to study whether or not California oil production is more environmentally friendly than relying on foreign sources of energy. Additionally, the team is preparing to put together a strategy plan for mitigating the social impacts of California’s oil industry.
Continuing to work with Chaparral Elementary School, the Policy & Outreach team is developing and expanding the environmental science course curriculum. In addition to the current lessons on air quality, water quality, water conservation and the urban heat index, the team is adding five new topics to the curriculum: wild fires, climate change, ocean acidification, sustainable food and clean tech. We are excited to return to Mrs. Walter’s 6th grade class in January.
2018 – 2019 Academic Year Projects
The Outreach team is consulting with an environmental nonprofit, NatureBridge, to increase their retention and enrollment rates in the Southern California campus through data collection, analysis and strategic recommendations. Additionally, we are designing and implementing a Los Angeles specific environmental literacy curriculum for middle schools.
2017 – 2018 Academic Year Projects
Friends of the Los Angeles River
The team compiled a database of facts about the Los Angeles River. The database includes date from reports from various stakeholders (i.e. governmental agencies, NGOs, other interest groups), as well as analytical facts that the team produced using GIS and data that had been gathered on the ecology and biodiversity in LA and in areas surrounding the river. The hope is that this database can initially help FoLAR with both having a comprehensive list of facts pertaining to the river, as well as discerning more information about the communities they serve—specifically in terms of further clarifying the conditions by which a community is defined as underserved. FoLAR has expressed that they would like to use these facts both for internal information purposes and eventually for external purposes as well (i.e. on infographics or other promotional materials).
Chino Basin Water Conservation District & Earthwatch Institute
In partnership with the Chino Basin Water Conservation District and others, the Earthwatch Institute began a pilot program in the summer of 2017 to pass out air quality and temperature monitors to community members in Long Beach, San Bernardino, and Riverside. The project aimed to inform future efforts to monitor air quality and temperature through similar citizen-science methods.
In fall 2017, the team was tasked with coming up with a strategy to gather participant feedback on the project to be used to tweak the project in the future. Since the project’s inception, the team has completed an online survey (through SurveyMonkey) and is now primarily focused on overseeing an IRB-approved research study to reaffirm the SurveyMonkey results through both phone surveys and focus groups with Operation Healthy Air participants. Focus groups were held over the summer, and we worked primarily on conducting phone surveys during the academic year.
2016 – 2017 Academic Year Projects
Chino Basin Water Conservation District Collaboration
The team has created a partnership with the local Chino Basin Water Conservation District to develop a policy digest to be distributed to the Chino Basin constituency. Through this project, students investigated the impact of state and local level water policy on the nearby community. For example, the team investigated the rationale for Senate Bill 814 regarding excessive water use and the likely effects of the bill.
City of Claremont Food Waste Recycling Education
The team worked with the City of Claremont and various interested parties to develop business education material related to new California policy regarding food waste recycling. The team created a guide to educate businesses on the new regulations and the necessary steps for compliance.
2015 – 2016 Academic Year Student Projects
Net Energy Metering Tariff 2.0 Project
Slated to be one of the largest changes to California solar policy in the last decade, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) reformed the Net Energy Metering Tariff as required by California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB32), which requires California to reduce its GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Various organizations including Southern California Edison, PG&E, San Diego Gas & Electric, and the Natural Resource Defense Council submitted proposals to the CPUC regarding reformation of the Net Energy Metering Tariff. The team conducted an analysis of the implications of the various proposals put forth and how this will affect residential consumer decisions to adopt solar systems.
Sustainability of Dining Service Providers
The team analyzed the sustainability of the various dining halls at the Claremont Colleges and the larger companies that supply and manage these dining halls. These dining service providers include Bon Appétit Management Company, Sodexo, and Pomona College Dining Services.
2014 – 2015 Academic Year Projects
Public Education of and Engagement in Environmental Ballot Measures
The team analyzed the history of an issue and presented both sides of an argument from a neutral perspective. The goal of the project was to provide the public with an impartial analyses on the issues for more informed voting on complicated and highly contentious environmental legislations. Specifically, they presented three ballot measures: the ballot measure on whether the city of Claremont, CA should proceed with an eminent domain case to attain the city’s water rights; the Alaskan ballot measure on whether mining should take place in Bristol Bay; and, lastly, the measure in Massachusetts on whether the state should enhance the number of bottles that can be recycled. The team produced a short report and video for each measure, presented on YouTube, the website, and social media outlets.
Enhancing the K-12 Environmental Education
The team collaborated with local elementary and middle schools to create an hour long presentation and project for students to enhance their knowledge on environmental issues and policy. They worked with fifth and sixth grade students, teachers, and principals to create a project where they educated the students on important environmental legislations through a presentation and project for the students. In addition, they engaged eighth grade students, teachers, and principals to create a curriculum-based lecture on the scientific component of climate change.
Collaboration with PaintCare
The team entered into a paid consulting contract with PaintCare, Inc., a non-profit organization which aids paint manufacturers in operating paint stewardship programs in US states that have paint stewardship laws. The team delivered a report to PaintCare assessing multiple strategies for promoting responsible paint purchases and disposal.
2013-2014 Academic Year Projects
Orange County Sustainability Collaborative
The team partnered with the Orange County Sustainability Collaborative to investigate the obstacles that prevent companies from engaging in environmental initiatives. Instead of focusing on leading sustainable companies throughout the county, the project had a comprehensive scope that embodied companies that exhibit a range of sustainability initiatives. Through surveys, internet research, and interviews, the analysts gathered information to protect the environment by consulting with companies to help them overcome these obstacles. At the end of the academic year, the Center published a report on their findings and strategies for addressing issues that companies face in implementing sustainable business practices. By interacting with a variety of entities, including companies and non-profits, the team gained consulting experience and a keen sense of what effective project management requires.
Electronics Industry Extended Producer Responsibility and Recycling Practices
The team focused on the electronics industry due to the complexities of its corresponding recycling industry, toxicity of E-waste, lack of transparency in E-waste disposal and recycling, and general overall ineffectiveness of electronics recycling programs. The research analysts developed a model that would determine optimal consumer incentives for optimizing electronics recycling rates, using Monte Carlo and sensitivity analysis techniques. Through this project, students improved their quantitative problem solving and analysis skills, especially with respect to environmental issues.