by Becca Nelson '20
From Thursday February 2nd to Monday February 5th, eight college students from University Tecnológico de Monterrey (TEC) in Mexico visited Stanford. The students were part of an innovative sustainability club called Programa Estudiantil de Sostenibilidad (PES), whose mission is similar to that of SSS. SSS and PES participated in a weekend of collaborative events focusing on how to affect sustainable change on college campuses and building a foundation for future teamwork.
The visiting students along with members of SSS went on a tour of SESI, Stanford’s cutting-edge energy facility. Many PES students are studying engineering and enjoyed learning about the design elements of SESI. SSS and PES also toured together Stanford’s educational farm and Y2E2, an energy efficient building on campus. We engaged in a discussion about global alternative energy policy and implementation at a faculty panel at the Woods Institute for the Environment with Professor Craig Criddle and Professor Mark Jacobson. Professor Criddle is an environmental engineer who specializes in using microbes to remediate contamination, and Professor Jacobson has developed a global plan for renewable energy solutions.
Later at a Sustainability Salon dinner hosted by Roble Sustainability Leader Songhee Han, we discussed in collaboration with the Roble Living Laboratory for Sustainability at Stanford how to inspire people to make more sustainable choices. We found common ground in the challenges we face in terms of getting people on campus to care about sustainability. During the dinner, I was moved by the stories of the students from PES, who were able to spark action about sustainability through leading by example. As the evening progressed, we delved into the future of environmental policy in the United States and Mexico and how it related back to our current collaboration.
Along with the students, TEC faculty member Diana Guzmán Barraza visited Stanford. She is an innovator in sustainable energy design and implementation, receiving a Leadership Award from former President of Mexico Vicente Fox, the Friendship Award from United Nations (UNFCCC), the High-Achievement Award from Santander, and full academic excellence scholarships. Diana Guzmán Barraza has a wealth of experience as a climate activist from serving as a delegate in the United Nations to collaborating with NGOs, such as: Climate Reality Project, Citizen Climate Lobby, and the Citizen Observatory of the Air Quality of Monterrey. She appeared on Al Gore´s international live transmission 24 hours of Reality. She shared with us her experiences in affecting sustainable change in implementing energy efficient policies on college campuses.
Together, SSS and PES hiked through the ancient redwoods at Big Basin State park and discussed what we could learn from each other. After a series of collaborative discussions, we signed an agreement as organizations to engage in long-term collaboration, share best practices, and engage in ongoing communication regarding our initiatives. I would like to extend a warm thank you to our visitors from TEC and look forward to future collaboration.
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