Following execution of Memorandum of Understand to partner IDEAS and CSSC

Zen Trenholm and Justin Vandenbroeck

After moving to California, just over a year ago, it became evident that there were stark similarities in the organic growth of IDEAS and the California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC). From mobilizing college campuses around climate action, to leveraging the principles of biomimicry for a healthy organizational structure (e.g. mutualism, replication, diversity, etc.) – our organizations have been on a similar path. As a result, we immediately reached out to Zen Trenholm, Development Director of CSSC, to better understand their organization and how IDEAS can work with them to advance their mission.

For reference, CSSC is a broad network of student sustainability organizations throughout the state of California. Managed and coordinated by students and recent alumni, they strive to implement policies and programs at various institutional levels that enhance the three key components of sustainability: ecology, economy, and equity. Their network consists of about 40 colleges in the State of California; from state schools, community colleges to private colleges, their chapters are capable of replicating various initiatives and scaling them throughout the state. An example of their work includes passing and managing the Student Green Fund at UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley, and UC Los Angeles – a critical step that must be replicated across the entire U.S. – catalyzed by organizations like IDEAS and CSSC.

Clayton Hosting Hive at CSSC ConvergenceBre








In April of this year, myself and Clayton Louis Ferrara, Executive Director of IDEAS, had the honor to host a Hive at their Bi-Annual CSSC Convergence. This convergence brought together hundreds of students from around the State of California to network, build community, share resources, attend resource and celebrate their work. At the Hive, we shared the story of IDEAS, the Hive model, and gained a bottoms up understanding from the students themselves, where can IDEAS the most value in their coalition?

Keen interests from the group were gaining access the Solar Winter/Spring Break Program, Hive Toolkit, Fleet Farming Toolkit, IDEAS For Jobs, E-Commerce, IDEAS’ UN Accreditation, and the Solution Fund. As we begin to integrate CSSC Chapters individually as IDEAS Affiliate Chapters, we will be sharing resources and consulting with the chapters on how to apply these solutions in their community. With any mutually beneficial partnership, the value goes both ways – we look forward to learning from CSSC at-large, situated in one of the most progressive clean energy states in the U.S.