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Eric Ocasio
Special to the Express

Whether you are a returning student or a campus visitor, you will quickly notice Las Positas College evolving around you.

Every educational institution requires occasional new construction and routine building maintenance periodically; however, LPC dashes towards a far more dynamic reinvention.

For example, about a dozen water bottle refill stations are scattered about campus. These encourage students to participate in maintaining LPC’s environment sustainability by refilling their water bottles instead of simply throwing them away and getting new ones.

The Sustainability Task Force, currently chaired by Rita Carson and Colin Schatz, is a committee charged “to elicit broad perspectives and advice regarding Sustainability at Las Positas and how the college influences the greater community. To encourage progress towards more sustainable use of energy, water, paper, open space and other resources by promoting reduced consumption, reuse, recycling and composting of these resources where possible.”

The committee was established in 2007 and has since been successful in developing and applying various policies, systems and events promoting sustainability.

The latest brainchild of the Task Force is the  “Bike to School Day” event, set to commence on Friday, May 9 at 7:30 a.m.
In observation of National Bike to Work Day, President Walthers and other LPC staff members and instructors invite students to join the Students’ Organization for Sustainability to experience the fun and the convenience of the bike commute to class. The group will meet at Livermore Cyclery on First Street and make a three-mile bicycle trip to campus.
From 8 a.m. to 12 noon, Livermore Cyclery will have a tent set up at the corner of Campus Hill Road and Loop Road.
Because the cars commuting to and from campus create 70 percent of LPC’s carbon footprint, the Task Force is constantly promoting alternative strategies for students to get to and from class.

Currently, the Task Force is working on an online “Rideshare App” for LPC. The application will facilitate communication between students at LPC with logistically compatible schedules. The committee hopes the app will promote the practice of carpooling among students.

The Task Force’s web page at features information about local rideshare resources, bus and BART routes. The ever-evolving web page also features a new “LPC FreeShare” forum where students can post listings about available or wanted items available for pick up or trade.

Among the innovative events and resources the Task Force facilitates, there are long-term plans and processes of a grander scale.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, is the rating system founded by the United States Green Building Council — a private, non-profit trade organization located in Washington D.C. LEED awards certifications to institutions that promote high-performance sustainability.

The new building standard at Las Positas is LEED Silver. The Sustainability Task Force is currently tackling implementation of the criteria required by the Gold standard.

LPC’s new standard of sustainability is obvious. The difference reaches far beyond fancy water faucets and bike parties.

New solar panels at Las Positas College provide over 60 percent of annual campus energy usage.
Bioretention Basins have also been installed to capture rainwater to refill aquifers and prevent flooding. Toilets and irrigation now use the reclaimed water. Motion sensors in the bathrooms prevent wasted water.
New building construction utilizes local, recycled and environmentally safe materials. Construction waste is recycled.
Offices on campus use motion sensors to regulate light use.

120 new bike racks have been installed, making for a total of 160 bike racks at LPC.
Currently, the Sustainability committee is working to eliminate unnecessary paper waste by replacing print with electronic documents when possible.

Still, the quest for sustainability at Las Positas College is young and some might call a work in progress.

The Sustainability Task Force meets the first Monday of each month at 3 p.m. in room 4129. The Student Organization for Sustainability meets on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 2:30 p.m. in room 1874. Anyone is free to attend for questions, comments or concerns as it is an open meeting.

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