Santa Clara University

sustainability at scu

Sustainability Update | May 2009

Crash Test Dummies win with EcoDrive
A monthly update from the Office of Sustainability for the Santa Clara University community.
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Program Highlight

Highlighting University initiatives and programs that promote sustainability at SCU.
  • undefinedBMW product pitch contest

    The long-term vision for engineering innovation and entrepreneurship at SCU inspires students and faculty to transform their ideas into commercially viable and socially beneficial enterprises while engaging the University's technology partners in Silicon Valley. The recent BMW Product Pitch Contest challenged students to conceive and pitch a new product concept for BMW's Mini Cooper brand for a grand prize of $500.

    The contest encouraged interdisciplinary teams to think and act in an innovative and entrepreneurial way. Six teams of 4-6 students were involved. Half of the team had to be students enrolled in the School of Engineering and at least one team member had to be enrolled in a non-engineering school. Teams were given 22 hours to design a smart phone program that would interact with the BMW Mini Cooper, utilizing any available vehicle information (position, speed, radio station) and general smart phone features (microphone/speaker, camera, etc). The application also had to incorporate the Mini's core brand values: sustainable driving dynamics, customization, and unique functionality. Teams had to present their product concept to a panel of judges (BMW engineers, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists) in 5 minutes or less.

    The winning team, Crash Test Dummies, was made up of sophomore psychology major Clare Wylie, sophomore biology major Todd Bruschwein, sophomore Mechanical Engineers Nick Greos, Kadee Mardula, and Michael Calcagno. Crash Test Dummies designed a product called EcoDrive, which took gas mileage information from the vehicle and graphically displayed it on an iPhone screen. Drivers could earn points for getting better gas mileage as compared to other Mini drivers in their area and even across the nation. By tracking their mileage and competing against others, drivers would have incentive to drive more efficiently, which in turn wastes less gas and saves money. Gas is wasted in a variety of ways: aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and breaking), driving above 60 mph, carrying excessive weight, and keeping the vehicle in idle.

    Although teams had been given guidelines, designing an environmentally friendly application was not mandatory. Other proposals included a program for parents of new drivers, an interactive "iGPS" system, and a simulated race based on current vehicle performance. EcoDrive would record the miles per gallon based on real time vehicle information. The health of a flower (wilting or thriving) indicated how the driver was performing, in addition to graphs and point totals. In their presentation to judges, the group described EcoDrive's appeal to young, fun, and economical buyers as making it fun to be environmentally aware while promoting safe, efficient driving.

    Team member Nick Greos said the group's biggest challenge was "designing the whole program in the time period allowed." Three students (the mechanical engineers) had a midterm right before the presentation was due, but it seems that despite their test, the team was able to pull together and win the contest.

    SCU's School of Engineering recently received the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN) award and a $50,000 grant from the Kern Family to expand upon the school's entrepreneurship and innovation education for undergraduate students, making participation in this contest possible. Congratulations to all the participating teams!

    By Jenny Gore, '09, Sustainability Intern


Sustainability Profile

Recognizing individuals who create a more sustainable SCU.
  • undefinedElizabeth DiCarlo, Class of '09

    Since this past June, when she read an article about a bike share program at Emory University in Atlanta, Elizabeth (Bea) DiCarlo has acquired the support of numerous faculty and staff, four partners, and, for the Santa Clara students, eight bicycles. Bronco Bikes' first month has been a great success, enabling students to have a fun, healthy, and sustainable alternative to driving.

    On the day this interview took place, all of the bikes were checked out for the first time, and the Kennedy Commons desk staff was running the checkout process on their own. According to Bea, awareness of Bronco Bikes around campus is up, which is a good sign for the program’s future expansion.

    The bike share program at Emory University, which first inspired Bea, was a partnership between the school and Fuji University, a bicycle company which wanted to make the city of Atlanta more sustainable. Later in the summer, Bea approached SCU's Sustainability Coordinator with her idea of a way for students to mobilize themselves while expanding the school’s work in sustainability. Bea says The Office of Sustainability was extremely helpful as a resource for connecting her with the appropriate people on campus, such as Charles Arolla (Campus Safety), and the RLC program, with which Bronco Bikes is affiliated.

    After that came fund-raising. Most of the money needed to start Bronco Bikes came from private donors, and the start-up costs were not particularly high. In fact, the “fleet” is comprised of bikes purchased at about $50 each from Hope Services, a local non-profit organization which works to enable physically and mentally handicapped individuals to live more independently. Further reducing the program’s cost, maintenance on the bikes is done for free by the Cycling Club.

    Bea says her main focus for this program is that it is convenient for students to check out and use the bikes. This is made possible by the technological expertise of Paul Arnaudo, who set up the computerized database and checkout system. Along with Paul, Bea recruited two other friends who she says she chose for their intelligence and strong work ethics: Kevin Carter and Maidere Sorhondo, all seniors. Later, freshman Vaishali Parekh joined the team to give the perspective of an underclassman and campus resident; the demographic they are targeting.

    Even with the majority of the team graduating this spring, Bronco Bikes is still looking toward the future. Vaishali will take over the program in the fall. Bea hopes the program will expand its fleet and gain even more awareness on campus. Bronco Bikes’ founders will carry this experience with them into the future. Bea, Paul, and Kevin are all business majors, who have already gotten a taste of entrepreneurship. Maidere, a communications major, handles the publicity for Bronco Bikes. Bea plans to go into the green marketing field, but in the meantime is looking forward to a summer internship in Indonesia. Bea and the Bronco Bikes team has shown that sustainability can be fun and convenient.

    Interview by Hannah Slocum, '11, Sustainability Intern


News & Events

Announcements related to sustainability on campus and in the community.
  • moveoutewastesmFree electronic waste drive & drop-off

    Saturday, May 30, 2009 | 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
    Franklin Parking Lot (on the corner of Franklin and the Alameda)

    Learn more about appropriate items to bring.

    This event is a free, easy way to responsibly recycle electronics from home!

    This event is coordinated by students and is a fundraiser for Breathe California. All electronic waste collected at this event will be recycled with ASL Recycling, a responsible e-waste recycler. Why recycle electronic waste? Recycling in campus offices.

    Please encourage your peers to participate in this event by dropping off their e-waste on Saturday, May 30.

  • undefinedAASHE Student Sustainability Leadership Award

    The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) is now accepting applications for its 2009 Student Sustainability Leadership Awards, to be presented the Greening of the Campus VIII Conference (Sept. 20-23 in Indianapolis, IN). This award honors an undergraduate student from an AASHE member institution who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in promoting campus sustainability.

    SCU senior Beth Tellman received an Honorable Mention in 2008.

    Applications are due July 1, 2009.

  • undefinedIgnatian Center's Explore discusses sustainability at SCU

    This issue of explore on sustainability is quite timely, coming just a few weeks after the inauguration of Michael Engh, S.J. as Santa Clara’s President.

    In his inaugural address, Fr. Engh challenged the University with these words:

    Santa Clara University is uniquely positioned to make a significant contribution to achieving a more just and sustainable future. And I propose that we seriously consider becoming a major center for the discussion of environmental justice and for examining the ethical dimensions of how we treat the physical world. I believe that we can lead in the development and promotion of practices, and businesses, and technologies that will insure a viable and just future for all.

    Please read this issue with our President’s challenge in mind.


What Can I Do?

Throw a more sustainable party

Compiled by Hannah Slocum, '11, Sustainability Intern.

  • undefinedReduce waste before, during, and after the big event.

    Invite guests via e-mail, Evites, or Facebook rather than wasting paper on traditional invitations. Instead of serving guests on paper, plastic, or Styrofoam disposable dishes, rent plates and silverware that can be returned. Search the Yellow Pages for party rentals in your area.
  • decorationssmReuse decorations

    If you have an annual or recurring party, reuse last year’s decorations instead of buying new ones. Even if you don’t have decorations stored away somewhere, check out some ways to use items you’d otherwise think of as trash to add accents to your party.
  • undefinedRecycle: Swap Party

    Consider having a Swap Party, where your friends can come over with any clothes, books, sports or yard equipment, or anything else and trade them. This is a great way to recycle things you don’t need anymore without throwing them away.
  • grocerybagRespect: Think about food, drinks, and supplies

    Respect the factors which go into supplying the food, drinks, and supplies for your party. Shop for food at a local farmers’ market (find the one nearest you) and look into other labels, such as organic or fair-trade, when doing your shopping. Also consider an all-vegetarian or 100-mile diet menu.


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