California State University, Monterey Bay


California State University, Monterey Bay
Sustainable City Year Program
Case Type
Program Stories
School Size
0 - 20,000
Focus Areas
Environmental Sustainability, Social Justice and Equity
Business, Cinematic Arts, Computer Design, Education, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, GIS, Psychology, Statistics

Sustainable City Year Program

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Our program was created when I was informed of a “Just Start” conference at the University of Oregon back in 2014. My Provost agreed to fund one of my students and me to attend. Shortly after the conference began, my student and I looked at each other and said “We have to do this at CSUMB!” For context, CSUMB is a young (founded in 1994) and very service-oriented campus. All of our students must take classes in service learning and that was a core element from the original founding of our campus. The concept described at this pre EPIC-N conference (since it wasn’t called EPIC-N just yet) seemed to fit beautifully within our university ethos. It became his senior capstone project to start our program the following year, with my assistance. He graduated and I continue to manage our growing program, which has been running since 2015, when we had our first partner, the City of Salinas. Our current program focus is to work with the Transportation Agency for Monterey County, TAMC, (our current partner) on encouraging Safe Routes to School within the region. This initiative encourages more community walking and biking and the encouragement of active transportation among our youth. We have a contract with TAMC through 2026. Our program is hoping to enhance livability, community and individual health, and reduced regional carbon footprint though student and class efforts.

The mission of our program is to engage campus faculty, staff and students to engage with regional municipalities to help them work on projects of their choosing that will enhance their sustainability, whether it be environmental sustainability, human health and well being, equity and/or social justice. The projects that our municipal partners choose are ones that they either could not do without the support of university classes, or they are ones that greatly benefit from CSUMB student and faculty engagement.

Fun Facts about CSUMB’s SCYP Program

Our program has forged multiple connections for our students with some of our partner agencies, some of which we know about, others of which just happen and we discover later! Some of our students have also won awards for their work. For instance, students in the College of Business came up with a design to help house migrant farm workers in Salinas on land converting to organic farming. For their efforts they won an innovation award at a regional Entrepreneurial event. Another set of students in Psychology won a poster award and advanced to present as finalists within the entire CSU system. Another interesting story is of one grad student who took a GIS course that was a part of SCYP. She later taught the course which ran as a SCYP course. Through this, she became known the City of Seaside, our partner at the time, and was hired by them to start their GIS team. She then became one of our main contacts with the city. So, she served as SCYP student, instructor, and, eventually city contact! She also received “Outstanding Graduate Student” when she graduated in 2019 and was the first person to receive that award at CSUMB.

Year Program Established | 2015
Country | US
Federal Region of Program | 9

Public or Private Institution | Public
Number of students at institution | 7,000

Highlight Articles/Videos

News Briefs – Applications soar for fall enrollment
Around Campus – Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP)

City Partners

2015 – 2017 | City of Salinas • Population: 150,000
2017 – 2019 | City of Seaside • Population: 34,312
2019 – 2020 | City of San Juan Bautista • Population: 1,976
2020 – 2021 | City of Pacific Grove • Population: 15,698 (2017)
2021 – 2026| Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC)

Contact Info

Daniel M. Fernandez
Professor and SCYP Coordinator
Department of Applied Environmental Science
(831) 582-3786

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