Sustainability Improvement (2019-2020)
September 2019 - May 2020

Sponsor: Operations Council

Project Background and Need (Why is the project necessary?)

Sustainability is a focus area of ARC Strategic Goal #4 (Vibrancy and Resiliency). In order to fully address this goal, there is an interest in coordinating sustainability efforts through the development and eventual execution of a college-wide sustainability plan. ARC does not currently have a plan of this type; however, the college has a long-standing recognition of its role in the stewardship of natural resources, environmental awareness, and reduction of negative impact on the environment.

Project Purpose and Scope (What is the project expected to encompass? What are the boundaries?)

Through this project, American River College would assess the current state of its sustainability efforts, determine future priorities, and recommend an actionable plan for promoting responsible sustainability practices. Any proposed plan must be consistent with the college mission and strategic plan as well as connecting a variety of sustainability activities in a cohesive, focused manner. Plans of this type typically explore topics such as:

  • Sustainability education and awareness
  • Conservation and efficient use of resources
  • Natural ecosystem (campus landscape, water, outdoor learning spaces)
  • Green construction, alternative energy, and green technologies
  • Campus operations and business practices
  • Waste management and waste audits
  • Climate-friendly transportation
  • Eco-friendly food
  • Environmentally-friendly vendors and partners
  • Integration of college efforts with local and regional initiatives
  • Training and professional development
  • Advocacy, events, and communication of information related to sustainability
  • Sustainability through the lens of equity and social justice

The project team’s work will be limited to planning activities that support development of a planning document that includes recommendations and proposed action steps. Actual implementation of the plan would be considered an operational function and is outside the scope of work assigned to the project team.

Project Objectives (What is the project expected to achieve?)

Successful completion of this project is intended to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Gather resources to inform the planning process such as existing data on ARC sustainability efforts, promising practices from other institutions, existing regulations, and other relevant research
  2. Assess the current state of ARC sustainability practices and efforts
  3. Define a sustainability vision that considers the assessment and what is learned through gathered resources
  4. Develop a draft sustainability plan by early Spring 2020 that covers the period of 2020-2024*

*Integrated planning calendar indicates timeline of 2019-2024; start year has been adjusted to 2020 due to delayed start

Project Deliverables (What items will be produced during the project?)

Deliverables to be completed and/or submitted for approval:

  1. Sustainability Plan (2020-2024*) which includes, but is not limited to:
  • Assessment of current state
  • Sustainability vision (description of desired future state)
  • Recommended activities and timelines designed to work towards the vision
  • Anticipated costs and resource needs
  • Potential funding mechanisms, partnerships, or support recommendations

*Integrated planning calendar indicates timeline of 2019-2024; start year has been adjusted to 2020 due to delayed start

Success Indicators (How will success be measured or determined?)

The project will be considered successful when:

  1. An assessment of current sustainability efforts has been completed
  2. A draft sustainability plan is proposed and considered through established governance channels
  3. The adopted plan is available to serve as a roadmap for college-wide sustainability efforts

All of these indicators can be thoroughly accomplished through completion of the stated project objectives.

Project Assumptions (What conditions are believed to exist?)

The project team was authorized based on the following assumptions:

  1. American River College does not have a formal sustainability plan, but is engaged in a variety of efforts related to sustainability.
  2. Sustainability is an ongoing college-wide endeavor rather than a short-term initiative.
  3. The college has an established interest of becoming a zero waste entity by 2025.
  4. Any recommendations must comply with existing state regulations and other requirements.
  5. California legislation frequently supports or incentivizes sustainability practices. For example, AB 341 established a California statewide goal of 75% diversion of solid waste to landfills.
  6. Suggestions have already expressed a variety of potential sustainability activities. These initial ideas are captured below so that they may serve as a springboard for further dialogue:
  • Conduct & analyze data around waste audits after large events
  • Evaluate & advocate for diversion awareness
  • Maintain a sustainability Facebook page
  • Maintain a sustainability web page
  • Invite staff to take the ARC Sustainability Pledge
  • Provide recycling education & feedback on how the campus is doing
  • Provide road maps for departments to improve their work processes in regards to diverting waste and other sustainability measures, like Culinary
  • Promote reduced paper, water, energy and resource use in general on campus
  • Promote sustainability in campus building design and operations
  • Promote and implement annual Earth Week activities
  • Promote & implement annual district-wide Los Rios Sustainability Summit
  • Conduct monthly sustainability meetings for ARC
  • Attend various sustainability committee meetings at other colleges in our district
  • Attend various conferences to bring ideas back to our campus
  • Make those ideas turn into real and measurable differences for our college
  • Encourage faculty to include the theme of sustainability in curriculum
  • Raise & manage funding for sustainability projects
  • Mentor students working on sustainability projects by attending ECOS club meetings, attending Student Senate meetings, and guest speaking at various classes & clubs

Project Risks, Constraints, or Dependencies (What factors might impact the project? How might the project intersect with the internal or external environment including other projects?)

The project team should be aware of the following known risks, constraints, and/or dependencies:

  • A sustainability plan is listed in the draft integrated planning guide which has been developed by the Integrated Planning Improvement project team. Based on the draft planning calendar, the sustainability plan should cover a five-year timeframe from 2019-2024. Future plans will move to a seven-year time frame in alignment with accreditation cycles.
  • Proposed activities may be subject to the limitations of available funding and/or new funding sources.
  • Proposed activities which involve modification of facilities and/or districtwide operational practices may be subject to existing LRCCD protocols.
  • Opportunities and/or constraints resulting from community, corporate, or other partnerships might intersect with recommendations of the sustainability plan.

Other Considerations (What are the anticipated implications related to equity and inclusion; research and data; district policies and regulations; district and/or college-wide practices; college-wide cross-functional relationships; and resource needs such as staffing, workload, technology, and space/facilities?)

  • Effective sustainability practices may suggest changes in how work is done at the college on a day-to-day basis. These changes may have an impact to cross-functional relationships and/or resource needs.
  • Workload may be impacted if new sustainability activities and events are introduced.
  • Newer technologies may offer more environmentally-friendly options than existing college technology or non-technological (paper-based) methods.

Project Timeline/Key Milestones

Standard Description of Project Stages

Project Stages Description
Initiation Activities leading to the authorization and chartering of a project team
Preparation Activities which occur once a team is authorized and can be conducted independently to plan, schedule, and setup the project (project management steps)
Team-Based Work Activities which occur in a collaborative environment in which the project team works based on the scope of the charter
Formal Review Activities by which deliverables are submitted to the sponsoring council for formal approval; may involve a sequence of governance review including ELT and/or other entities; formal review may result in acceptance of the deliverables; request for the project team to revisit the design/refinement stages; or abandonment of the project
Closure Activities to celebrate the success of the project and archive the artifacts of the work completed

Planned Governance Flow of Deliverables

Project Stakeholders (Who has a vested interest in the project? Who will it impact?)

Communication Plan (How will information be shared with the stakeholders?)

Based on the previously stated stakeholder list, the general plan for sharing project information is as follows:

Conflict Resolution

Any matter of significance which cannot be resolved by the project leads may be referred to the appropriate administrator (typically the chair of the sponsoring council) or to the President's Executive Staff (PES). Any significant change in charter scope will require approval of a revised charter by the Executive Leadership Team (ELT).

Project Membership

Project Organization, Roles, and Responsibilities

Role Responsibilities
Project Leads
  • Prepares, leads, and follows up on meetings (see details of the Role of the Chair in the ARC Governance Framework)
  • Communicates the project to various stakeholders, and when appropriate, solicits feedback on dradt deliverables through informal review processes
  • Submits the final deliverables to the sponsoring council for approval
Project Steward
(may be one of the leads or a separate individual)
  • Manages the project on behalf of the sponsoring council
  • Drafts the charter in consultation with the sponsoring council's chairs
  • Conducts preliminary research to gather information on promising practices, product options, or other relevant materials to inform the project
  • Develops a work plan based on the charter to organize, sequence, and schedule the work of the project team within the available time frame
  • Reports progress to the sponsoring council
  • Maintains and archives project documentation at the conclusion of the project
  • Assists the project leads as needed
Team Members
  • Participates in all project meetings and activities
  • Supplies valuable knowledge and perspective (often based on the individual's responsibilities or role at ARC)
  • May be assigned specific project tasks to complete outside of project meetings
  • Assists with the "heavy lifting" that is required to accomplish the project deliverables
External Consultant
  • Provides expertise and assistance from an external (non-ARC) perspective
Executive Sponsor
Large, high-impact projects only:
  • Champions the project from the executive level to secure buy-in and ensure viability
  • Communicates project purpose and vision
  • Allocates appropriate resources to support effective development, execution, and institutionalization
  • Maintains awareness of project status and helps mitigate risk
  • Mediates conflicts and facilitates dialogue to resolve project issues
  • Assumes other responsibilities as appropriate based on the project scope

Student Participation

The student voice contributes a diverse perspective to ARC project teams and is highly valued. As project teams have widely varied meeting schedules which can require a substantial time commitment, a flexible set of options have been defined to ensure that project dialogue and deliverables are influenced by the student perspective.
Please check one or more boxes below that indicate the methods the project lead/co-lead intend to use to facilitate student participation during this project.
Method Description Compensated?
ASB Appointment Associated Student Body (ASB) appoints two students to serve on the project team and attend all meetings. This option is considered the standard method of representation. Yes
Student Resource Panel In consultation with ASB, create a student resource panel that is called upon by the project lead/co-lead to provide student input at key points during the project. The resource panel may be an existing group of students (e.g., Sages) or a temporarily formed group assigned to the project. Yes
ASB Direct Involvement Lead/co-leads work directly with ASB to be placed on an ASB agenda, present the project concept, and solicit input from students during a regularly scheduled ASB meeting. No
Student Survey or Focus Group Project conducts a student survey or focus group through the Institutional Research Office and uses the results to inform the work of the project team. No, but incentives may be provided on a case-by-case basis.
Student Forum or Gallery Walk Project holds a student forum or gallery walk during which large groups of students can provide input in response to narrative or visual prompts. ASB would be asked to assist in publicizing the date/time of the event to the student constituency. No
Other (please specify intended methods) TBD – methods for collecting input from the college as a whole (including students) are yet to be determined