The Sustainability Center provides opportunities for the campus community to be involved in ecological restoration, resource stewardship, creative transportation strategies, and sustainable food systems initiatives. Students are provided with the resources necessary to accomplish effective sustainability advocacy and project implementation, giving them the experience required to succeed in future leadership roles. The Sustainability Center encourages the cultivation of innovative sustainable practices, opportunities to apply research, and educational outreach.
The Sustainability Center supports student initiatives, campaigns and leadership development. The student group, Earth CORPS, is the Community Organized to Respect, Protect and Sustain the Earth. Students in Earth CORPS organize trips, educational events and educational campaigns to engage the campus community around issues of environmental sustainability.
The Re-Use Depot Manager is a student volunteer that directs the vision of how to most effectively exchange community resources, manage student volunteers that care for the space, while reducing what is sent to the landfill.
Spokes Folks Bike Co-op is a student-run, college owned space that strives to make bicycles accessible for everyone, to further environmental justice and sustainability, and to support sustainable transportation and exploration.
Students who assume the role of a Power Down Specialist have the opportunity to encourage the campus community to contribute to the Mills College goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 15% by 2015. On Power Down Days, they utilize face to face conversations and electricity audits to encourage individuals to reduce their use of electricity during the hours of 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Power Down Specialists also conduct appliance and electronics audits in offices as part of the Green Department Certification Program.
A new program to encourage student leadership development is the Eco-Rep Program. Eco-representatives are residential students who raise awareness about ecological issues, encourage environmentally responsible behavior in their halls and peers, and plan related events and activities.
Every year, the Salmon Rafting Tour on the South Yuba River inspires and connects students to the local watershed, the life-cycle of the salmon, the anthropogenic damage from historic mining processes and effect of focused restoration activities. The trip demonstrates efforts aligned with student restoration activities for the campus creek.
In the fall of 2011, several Mills College groups came together for a tour of Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood, CA. Farmer Al gave a tour of the orchards and answered questions about what it takes to run a successful, organic farm. We ate lunch of local ingredients prepared by Bon Appetit@Mills College, together sitting among the trees.
There are several types of conferences that Mills students attend to develop their leadership skills, receive training in areas of environmental and social justice, network with fellow innovators, and be inspired. Conferences that have been attended include the Bioneers Conference, the AASHE Conference and the California Student Sustainability Coalition’s Conference.When students need materials for their projects and spaces, such as the Re-Use Depot or Spokes Folks Bike Co-op, they choose to purchase creative, repurposed materials from local organizations such as Urban Ore. It also allows them to see reuse on a large scale, shopping in a huge warehouse of items that otherwise might have ended up in the landfill.