Cal Poly Wins Four Awards in Sustainability Best Practices Competition

May 30, 2017

Contact: Dennis Elliot

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly has won four awards — three best practice awards and an honorable mention for its sustainability programs in food systems, student leadership, innovations and waste reduction — in the 2017 Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Best Practice Awards Competition. 

The competition, hosted by the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC), recognizes California universities that demonstrate effective energy efficiency projects and innovative sustainability practices in operations and academics. 

Cal Poly’s Campus Dining received a Best Practice Award in the Sustainable Food Systems category for its food sustainability program to reduce Cal Poly’s overall ecological “foodprint.” The program aimed to increase food sustainability through procurement, production and waste practices, build partnerships across the campus and employ community outreach and education to promote food sustainability.

The student-run Cal Poly Green Campus Program received a Best Practice Award in the Student Sustainability Leadership category for the initiative Inspiring Action Early: 2016 Student Sustainability Leadership Summit. The two-day summit at the beginning of the school year educated student club leaders on organizational strategies to inspire their peers to get involved, improve coordination and communication, and be more impactful in program planning and implementation. 

The Cal Poly solar farm project received a Best Practice Award in the Sustainability Innovations category for representing a creative solution for large-scale renewables. The solar farm, situated on a sheep pasture, will also foster research opportunities for students in the university’s Animal Science Department. 

“The solar farm will provide a unique, hands-on opportunity for animal science students to learn best practices related to managing the vegetation of solar farms using herd management techniques,” said Jaymie Noland, head of the Animal Science Department. “We are proud to partner in this sustainability effort that will benefit all Cal Poly students well into the future.” 

Cal Poly’s Zero Waste Collaborative received an Honorable Mention in the Innovative Waste Reduction category for its Cooperation Makes It Happen initiative. Cal Poly developed a long- term collaborative partnership with Waste Connections, its waste hauler, to establish an innovative compensation structure that provides incentives to drive meaningful progress toward zero waste. 

“There is so much great work in sustainability and energy efficiency happening across our campus,” said Dennis Elliot, director of energy, utilities and sustainability at Cal Poly. “It is an honor to be recognized for these worthwhile efforts, and it reinforces Cal Poly’s commitment to environmental leadership.”  

Award contributors will be presenting their projects at CHESC on June 27-28 at UC Santa Barbara. A group of Cal Poly faculty will also be presenting their sustainability research at the conference. For more information on the conference, visit

About Cal Poly
Founded in 1901 and part of the renowned California State University (CSU) system since 1960, Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, four-year, comprehensive polytechnic public university located in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Known for its Learn by Doing approach, small class sizes and open access to expert faculty,Cal Poly is a distinctive learning community whose 21,000 academically motivated students enjoy an unrivaled hands-on educational experience that prepares them to lead successful personal and professional lives. For more information, visit

About Cal Poly Energy, Utilities and Sustainability
Cal Poly Energy, Utilities, and Sustainability, a unit of Facilities Management and Development, is dedicated to the responsible management of the natural resources that impact campus operations. Electricity, natural gas, water and various other resources are critical to operating a successful university and the sustainable use of these resources are a driving force in Cal Poly campus planning and operations. A renowned leader in sustainability efforts, Cal Poly has received 29 Best Practice Awards from the UC/CSU/CCC Energy Efficiency Partnership Program. The campus has also earned significant CSU funding and utility incentives for energy conversation and continues to be named a Tree Campus USA and Best Workplace for Commuters. For more information, visit


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