RSCCD Leads in Green Efforts

​A​t Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD), a commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability has been longstanding. In 2015, the District ratified its inaugural sustainability plan, currently undergoing updates to align with contemporary environmental trends and regulations. 

In the Classroom 

RSCCD has expanded its offering of classes promoting environmental responsibility. At Santa Ana College, the automotive technology program includes classes on hybrid and electric vehicles. Those graduating with a degree in Environmental Science at SAC will also now be required to take classes related to water recycling, land conservation, or the impact of air pollution. 

Santiago Canyon College has renamed its Water Utility Program to Water and Wastewater Technology to align with state environmental guidelines. Both colleges have also continued to offer a robust curriculum of online or hybrid courses, reducing the number of students and faculty that commute to campus. Several measures have been implemented at both colleges to encourage more sustainable behavior in students and faculty. In a significant step towards reducing plastic waste, the District has installed state-of-the-art hydration stations, encouraging students to embrace reusable water bottles as a convenient and eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastics. Bike racks and lockers have also been installed at SAC and SCC, making it easier for students to avoid emissions-producing vehicles.  

In the Landscape 

Hugo Curiel, RSCCD’s Facilities Project Manager said that sustainable design also considers the quality of space when designing facilities, ensuring that they serve the needs of students for years to come. According to Curiel, newer buildings incorporate flexible social spaces with plenty of natural lighting and group study rooms that allow students to collaborate. 

Newer facilities provide social spaces that provide a friendlier, more inviting environment,” said Curiel.  

Newer construction on campus have been designed with a strong focus on sustainability and energy efficiency. The new Science Center boasts water efficient landscaping and HVAC units, making the building 28% more efficient than required by code. Additionally, landscaping around both campuses have been updated to include drought-resistant, California native plants.  

At Santiago Canyon College, old or outdated HVAC systems have been replaced or upgraded to improve efficiency. Roof systems on several buildings have also been updated to meet current energy standards. Improvements to irrigation control systems and a new bioretention basin to help collect water runoff at SCC are just some examples of how the District is doing its part to reduce its footprint on the environment.  

At the Campuses 

As part of its ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability, the Rancho Santiago Community College District recently celebrated Earth Week with week-long events including a campus cleanup and promotion of green initiatives across the district. 

Throughout Earth Week, both colleges came together to host a variety of events promoting sustainability and environmental awareness. At Santa Ana College, students and faculty came together for a cleanup, rolling up their sleeves to pick up litter and beautify their campus. Since 2022, Santiago Canyon College has held a weeklong “EarthFest” with a goal of celebrating sustainability and educating students on ways they can be more environmentally conscious. This year, the festival included a tour of the new bioretention basin to help filter and recharge water runoff before it goes to the ocean. 

At SCC, the Associated Student Government established a “Green Operations Committee”, which assists in the planning of sustainability events on campus. 

To learn more about the District’s sustainability committee and environmental efforts taking place at RSCCD campuses, visit the SRC website and take their 2024 Earth Day survey. 

Contact: Spencer Otte

Phone: 714-480-7406