About ERC

The Environmental Resource Center (ERC) was established in 1967 and became the student activist wing of the Environmental Studies Department, with a prideful legacy. To serve the student body and our supporting organizations, we undertake a range of projects each year. The projects are linked to ENvS 181, a course that students take for credit (1,2 or 3 units). 

The ERC is run by student directors and supervised by a faculty adviser. In addition to organizing behavior changes via on campus events, the ERC is working to move our campus towards sustainable use of water, energy and materials. 

In 2019 ERC involved a diverse audience of students, faculty, and staff within campus with the help of on-campus and community partners. Some of the projects the ERC worked on were Ride to School Day, Take Back the Tap, The Green Office Workshop, and Earth Day.

Ride to School Day is a project hosted by the ERC in partnership with our Transportation Solutions office at least twice a semester. We offer free bike tune ups to students, discuss ways to get to campus without using a single occupancy vehicle, and make resources readily available for anyone traveling to and from campus. 

The Take Back the Tap group host events with a focus on educating the SJSU community about the energy and resources used to bottle water, compared to the same factors for tap water in San Jose. Students discuss the CSU plastics policy, raffle off water filters and reusable water bottles, while creating conversations about municipal tap water testing and safety compared to bottled water.

To bolster sustainable staff behavior, The Green Office Workshop gives campus staff and faculty the space to ask campus sustainability questions. Students host a lecture and discussion for staff members on campus, who hope to be the sustainability champion's for their office. After a staff member attends the workshop, students work with the staff member to ensure they have support and are executing the criteria to be a Certified Green Office.

The newest community project is Watershed in a Box. ERC students visit local elementary schools that are located near creeks and deliver environmental education lesson plans.

The ERC project of the year is Earth Day, which was founded by SJSU alumni Gaylord Nelson. The ERC oversees the event the day of and coordinates with 5 on campus partners and invites over 40 vendors for our on campus resource fair. In 2019, Earth Day expanded into Earth Week, with 75 faculty members participating in a campus Teach-in. The hope was to engage majors beyond Environmental Studies students. Over 5,000 students were involved with the Teach-In. This year, the ERC was awarded a Certificate of Recognition from their California Legislature Assembly in recognition of the San Jose State University Earth Day Event. 


 Image Description: Group of SJSU Faculty Staff Students and Alumni surrounding the young native Valley Oak planted and dedicated to future generations of environmentalists on the Tommie Smith & John Carlos Lawn during the Earth Day San Jose 2019 festivities.


Course Learning Outcomes (CLO)

Students learn leadership, service, project management, and communication skills by undertaking sustainability projects on campus and in the local community.  This course requires active participation and independent work. The hours you work will be comprised of class attendance, group meetings and other activities (including volunteering, helping at events, tabling, and work associated with your group).

After completing this course, students will:

1.  Be able to lead a group or contribute significantly to completing a sustainability project.

2.  Be able to locate groups on and off campus that require help sustainability projects.

3.  Be able to communicate to a range of people the need for sustainability and how individuals can promote sustainability in their everyday lives.


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