Masthead logo - Center for a Sustainable Future
Campus Sustainability Newsletter Fall 2011 Volume 1/Issue 1


by Mia Casey

RIPPLE EFFECT by Scott Lankford


(A Liquid Learning Community)
by Rosemary Arca


by Mary Thomas



The Foothill College Center for a Sustainable Future exists to:

  • Foster ecoliteracy across the curriculum

  • Revitalize and re-envision general education through the lens of sustainability

  • Cultivate sustainable values and practices on campus

  • Collaborate with the greater community toward a sustainable future

by Mia Casey

Foothill College's Center for a Sustainable Future is not your typical "place." In fact, if you searched the campus, you will not find a physical location — yet it exists. The center was formed from the desire of the Sustainability Committee and the Sustainable Learning Community participants to unify campus initiatives, build community, develop sustainable curriculum and propel grassroots efforts forward. Undaunted by campus space and budget constraints and with an eye toward developing a center that is truly sustainable, nimble and flexible to meet the changing needs of the campus—a conscious decision was made to develop a mobile/virtual center rather than a static space.

The mission statement was developed over the summer (PDF download available). There are a number of opportunities for involvement by faculty/staff/students. We are currently seeking new members for the committee, as well as contributors for this newsletter. If you have an initiative or idea you would like to share, please feel free to attend our monthly meetings (2nd Tuesday of each month at 4 p.m.) or e-mail Mia Casey.

The virtual development piece is firmly underway, employing a number of social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, Wikis and even this eNewsletter to build community, disseminate information and feature upcoming events on campus and in the community.

The mobile center is the next phase of development. A design contest will be held to help us create a cutting edge resource center on wheels! Stay tuned for more details! You can keep up with sustainable happenings on campus by checking our webpage, following us on Twitter or liking us on Facebook. Everywhere you turn, the Foothill College Center for a Sustainable Future will be there — educating, initiating and collaborating alongside you to move the dial from green toward Emerald!center logo small

Top of Page

by Scott Lankford

To help launch our new Foothill College Center for a Sustainable Future with a truly champagne-bottle-shattering swagger, Foothill College will make waves by hosting Stanford Professor David Kelley, the founder of Stanford's world-renowned new Design School at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct 25 in the Lohman Theatre.

david kelley photoAn internationally-recognized expert on fostering creativity, sustainability, and cross-disciplinary collaboration in both education and industry, Professor Kelley's light-hearted multimedia presentations are custom-designed to inspire students, educators, and policy-makers worldwide to seek out new ways of reframing— and resolving—old dilemmas by using the power of interdisciplinary approaches to achieve what he calls "Design Thinking."

"Everybody's creative" has become Kelley's mantra since starting Stanford's venerable Product Design program way back in 1975. As co-founder of Palo Alto's celebrated IDEO design firm, his industry street-creds are equally impressive. Indeed Kelley packs a lifetime of experience into his self-declared mission as a "Design Evangelist."  "I started to see," he recalled in a recent interview, "that we could teach this as a methodology that everyone else could pick up on."  To help us launch the new Center for a Sustainable Future, he's graciously agreed to bring his message and methods to Foothill College.

The iconoclastic "'s" signature course, co-taught by Kelley, is whimsically titled "Design Garage" – and deliberately throws students from a wide range of disciplines (including business, science, law, engineering, and the arts) together willy-nilly to build playful prototyping projects with real-world consequences and constraints. As the Stanford Magazine recently reported in their April 2011 cover profile of Dr. Kelley's work, "The core of what the students learned—interviewing, observing, suggesting, tinkering, reviewing and then perhaps completely restarting two, three, or four times—guides the process of attempting to fully realize the Design Garage projects."

As Time Magazine, Fast Company, and other leading media outlets have all discovered, the designs that emerge from such collaborations are already making waves. Two of the's best-known products, for example, include an astoundingly simple new system for helping premature infants survive in subsistence villages far from expensive modern medical care; and solar-powered light-sources so cheap and rugged that they can easily replace the toxic fumes of kerosene lanterns in village homes and schools. Creativity saves lives, not just minds and money.

From wall-to-wall whiteboards to three-minute viral video presentations, Kelley and his colleagues constantly seek new ways to reframe and explain and explode dusty old paradigms and approaches.  Both the physical learning environment and the need for clear rapid eye-popping communication loom large in the's curriculum—and both have potential applications right here at Foothill College.  

In the spirit of the's Design Garage, one such project will be for us to design some kind of a "rolling resource center" to house—and mobilize—the shared resources we're building under the banner of the new Foothill Center for a Sustainable Future.  With Professor Kelley to help coax and coach and goad us into action, we're hereby challenging students, faculty, and staff from across the campus and from every discipline to surf the wave and redesign the future! So come make some waves with us on October 25 at 11:00 a.m. in the Lohman Theatre. You have nothing to lose but your logo small

Top of Page

(A Liquid Learning Community)
by Rosemary Arca

Water, Water everywhere at Foothill College. In this case, WATER is the focus of instruction, as instructors in a wide variety of disciplines are building assignments and even courses around the topic of water. As part of the second iteration of our Sustainable Learning Community AND sparked by the Slow the Flow water conservation conference to be held on campus later this year, this diverse college group is developing assignments and compiling a database of water-related issues in support of classroom instruction on water.

Students will be exposed to new perspectives on the environmental, political and social aspects that relate to water. Each sustainable theme is also tied to global issues, which will help students to frame their thinking from this larger worldview. There will also be yearlong opportunities for participation and learning on campus related to our theme, including movies, a lecture series, the Slow-the-Flow water conference, Adobe Creek Watershed Restoration volunteer days and a World Water Day event on March 22.

Some of the classes participating in the "Sustainable Learning Community-Version H20," this fall include:

Biology 1C/Evolution, Systematics & Ecology: F001C.01 (Lisa Schultheis)
Biology 8/Basic Nutrition: F008.01 (Carolyn Holcroft)
Biology 9/Environmental Biology: F009.01 (Gillian Schultz)
Biology 45/Intro. To Human Nutrition: F045.01W (Carolyn Holcroft)
Digital Art & Graphics: F072 (Kent Manske)
Economics 1A/Principles of Macroeconomics: F001A (Jay Patyk)
Economics 1B/Principles of Microeconomics: F001B (Jay Patyk)
English 1A: F001A.08 and F001AH.01 (Scott Lankford)
English 110: F110.06, F110.10, F110.12 (Hilda del Carmen Fernandez)
Math 44/Math for Liberal Arts: F044.01 (Patrick Morriss)
Music 7/Contemporary Music Styles: F007.01 (Janis Stevenson)
Print Arts I: F038 (Kent Manske)

Faculty interested in this topic meet quarterly to share resources and brainstorm ways to fully integrate SLC topics into college life. All faculty have access to the SLC website and resource library and are encouraged to join the group for stimulating conversations about Water.

Some of the focus Areas/threads included in this Learning Community:

  • Water Consumption / Scarcity
  • Water Pollution
  • Climate Change & Water
  • Innovations
  • Water History

If you would like to learn more about this project or would like to have your class participate, visit our web page for more logo small

Top of Page

by Mary Thomas

In support of the Sustainable Learning Community we've chosen two books on the theme of water this year to read together as a college community. In Winter Quarter everyone is invited to read Tahoe Beneath the Surface by our own Scott Lankford. From personal experience I'm happy to report that it's an engaging read that uses one of my favorite places as a touchstone to delve into history, literature, racism, film, and environmental issues, in short an excellent choice to create a dynamic conversation on campus across disciplines and perspectives. In Spring Quarter we'll read Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution and Profit by Vandana Shiva.

If you would like to join us, host and organize a group discussion, or if you have an idea for an event related to one of these books, please contact Mary Thomas at (650) logo small


Top of Page


October 11: Movie Screening/GASLAND

October 18: Emerald Campus Lecture Series: Peter Drekmeier, Tuolumne River Trust

October 25: Special Lecture by David Kelley & Reception following to Celebrate the newly formed Foothill Center for a Sustainable Future.

November 3: Emerald Campus Lecture Series: Jessica Frank of the Surfrider Foundation

November 10: Movie Screening/Extreme Cave Diving

October 8 – April 22: @ Los Altos History Museum Special exhibit "Shaped by Water." Free admission.

November 5 – 8: Santa Clara Valley Creeks Coalition Conference: "Healthy Creeks/Vibrant Bay"

Visit the Event Calendar for more info! Download a Fall Schedule of Events.

Top of Page


Sustainability Home