California Student Sustainability Coalition

What is CSSC?

The California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC) is a broad network of student sustainability organizations throughout the state. Managed and coordinated by students and recent alumni, we strive to implement policies and programs at various institutional levels that enhance the three key components of sustainability: ecology, economy and equity.

Why is CSSC important?

CSSC provides a platform for driving institutional change and a forum for networking and sharing best practices. CSSC is also a community of student activists who support one another both directly and indirectly. CSSC members develop personal leadership, skills, and direction. CSSC is an inclusive organization and finds strength in diversity. Like the Swedish proverb, CSSC members believe that shared pain is half pain and shared joy is double joy.


Founded in 2003, CSSC was founded by students running a Greenpeace UC Go Solar campaign. The result of the campaign was a commitment to solar energy, which CSSC helped expand to the UC Policy on Sustainable Practices. This policy is arguably the largest, most-comprehensive policy of its kind, and CSSC continues advocate for stronger standards. It has affected billions of dollars spent in the UC system. In 2003, CSSC gained fiscal sponsorship with the Earth Island Institute, giving it non-profit status. Major early programs included the Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP) and The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF). ESLP is a student-run lecture series that dynamically teaches cutting-edge and traditional sustainability theories and applications. ESLP has enrolled thousands of students over the last decade. TGIF is a student-supported sustainability project fund, driving student innovation and practical experience on campuses. TGIF is active at eight campuses with more than $1 million allocated per year statewide. CSSC’s Foods Initiative and a national network of allies launched the Real Food Challenge (RFC) on 300+ campuses nation-wide. RFC aims to shift $1 billion in food production, distribution, and consumption on college campuses in the US. In 2007, CSSC wrote and adopted the first iteration of the current charter and partnered with Energy Action Coalition (EAC) for the Campus Climate Challenge campaign. Also in 2007, CSSC ramped up convergences, and since the Fall 2007 convergence at Berkeley there have been 100+ attendees at twice-yearly convergences. CSSC currently averages ~300 attendees per convergence. In 2011, CSSC began the Coal Divestment campaign with EAC. This campaign expanded to the Fossil Free campaign in 2012, partnering with and others. CSSC has continually partnered with EAC as the lead organizer for higher education in California for Powershift in 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013.

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