Our Story

Before the People of Color Sustainability Collective grew to become the co-curricular initiative hosting events, workshops, programs and research, that it is today, it all began with a hashtag.

In the summer of 2014, the Ethnic Resource Centers Directors hosted a student panel to get feedback from graduating seniors. One student shared an experience in which they were scolded by another student for not disposing of their trash in the appropriate container at McHenry Library. The student shared that this experience made them feel unwelcome, embarrassed, angry, and caused them to consider transferring out of UC Santa Cruz. The Ethnic Resource Centers Directors recognized that the current campus environmental movement was not being inclusive to students of color and this was contributing to issues of retention.

As a response, they created the hashtag #POCSustainability to create a digital platform for students to share about their experiences and reclaim the often overlooked sustainable practices of their families and cultures. As student responses grew, events were organized to continue this conversation to give students a space to talk about their experiences in person.

From these events, the People of Color Sustainability Collective was established. The mission of PoCSC is to make UCSC a leader in environmental justice in recognition of our changing demographics. PoCSC aims to highlight the contributions that people of color; past, present, and future have made to environmental sustainability and works to redefine the definition and values of sustainability to be inclusive of all underrepresented populations. In hosting student discussion spaces, student of color caucuses, social media awareness campaigns, workshops, and speaker panels, we hope to create a space for our community to have a critical dialogue about the intersections between race, ethnicity, class, gender, culture, national origin, and the environment.

The People of Color Sustainability Collective is an Ethnic Resource Centers initiative that works in collaboration with College Nine, College Ten, and the Campus Sustainability Office. Establishing this unprecedented cross-campus collaboration has been critical because issues of inclusivity and retention affect students all over campus and must be addressed through a unified campus effort.