ICLR coordinates with local jurisdictions to identify projects with components that fit well into existing courses, following the EPIC model. This allows city, county, or other entities to leverage no-cost student work to complete local climate change and sustainability projects, and provides a rich learning experience for the student while producing valuable deliverables for the client entity.

To support the ICLR's ability to advance local climate projects and integrate meaningful project opportunities into Cal Poly's curriculum, please consider donating today.


Sustainable Land Initiative

The Sustainable Land Initiative (SLI) is a program for dramatically accelerating California’s transition to climate-smart agriculture (CSA) and deployment of nature-based climate solutions. SLI is a partnership between Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) and university campuses led by Upper Salinas-Las Tablas RCD (USLTRCD; northern SLO County) and Cal Poly’s ICLR, and currently expanding to Coastal San Luis, Cachuma (SB), and Ventura RCDs.

Equipment Development

Students in BRAE 421-422 are designing and building specialized agricultural equipment required for implementing climate-smart agriculture: biochar kilns, compost spreaders, keyline plows, and other implements.

Website Development

Senior project students in LAES 461 are developing a web site for SLI, including the interface for the farmshare equipment leasing program.

Educational Material Design

Senior project students in GRC 461 are developing educational materials for training growers on best practices for implementing climate-smart agriculture.

Community Choice Agencies

Community Choice Agencies (CCAs) allow local governments to obtain power for their communities from renewable sources that may differ from what the investor owned utility (IOU) would normally provide. CCAs provide a variety of benefits, including local control over resources, development of local generation capacity, lower utility bills, and very importantly, moving communities towards more renewable energy sources. Consequently, it is important to understand the complex policies of these organizations and how they impact customers, so that they can help communities move towards a renewable and sustainable future.

Rooftop Solar

Research interns Taylor van Rossum and Nevia Stickney completed a four-month research project, in which they compared CCAs’ incentives to participate in rooftop solar. In their final paper, with contributions from Hadley Willman, Erin Pearse, and John Smigelski, they compiled policy and program data for eleven CCAs in California, focusing on rooftop solar and the implementation of new net-energy metering (NEM) policies by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The report was submitted to the Cal State University Journal of Sustainability and Climate Change for publication in 2023, and is currently under review. Watch the recording of the informational webinar.

EV Incentivization

SLO Climate Coalition’s College Corp Fellows, Maia Petrovic and Ryley Chase, surveyed 12 CCAs’ electric vehicle (EV) programs. Watch the recording of the informational webinar.

Repurposing Phillips 66: Conceptual Desalination Environmental Constraints Analysis

This project provides a redevelopment analysis of several potential repurposing uses for the Phillips 66 facility. The resulting deliverable is a promotional document highlighting five different repurposing uses. You can review their report here.
This research group consisted of five students in the Environmental Design course EDES 408, taught by Architecture Professor Jonathan Reich and Landscape Architecture Professor Joe Ragsdale.

Repurposing Phillips 66: Conceptual Desalination Environmental Constraints Analysis

This project focused specifically on opportunities and constraints related to converting the Phillips 66 facility to a desalination plant. This group performed a preliminary site feasibility analysis for a potential desalination plant including identification of constraints related to the environmental review, permitting, and regulatory agency approval process (CEQA). They considered a 30 to 80 million gallon reverse osmosis treatment plant, which could supply enough water for as many as 375,000 to a million homes, respectively.

The group consisted of students in the Natural Resources course NRES 425, led by Professor Sarah Spann of the Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences Department.

Optimal Offset Calculator

This tool was developed for the SLO County Air Pollution to be used by local developers who need to purchase carbon credits or fund sequestration projects. This project was brought to ICLR by the SLO County APCD.

Resilient Energy Assessment (REA)

A tool for educating city staffers, council members, and concerned community members about the resilience and economic benefits of microgrids (solar + storage energy solutions that can operate independently during a power outage), including technical, financial, and regulatory aspects. The REA is designed to allow decision-makers to envision the possibilities for resilient energy in their community and provide avenues for pursuing projects, thereby creating project champions. This project was brought to ICLR by the SLO Climate Coalition.


A community-based outreach and education program that promotes social equity, community resilience, and sustainable behaviors at a neighborhood, block, or even apartment buildings level. ResilientSLO leverages existing platforms and works through affinity groups and existing community structures (e.g., churches and service organizations). This project was brought to ICLR by the SLO Climate Coalition and is powered by Cal Poly’s College Corps grant. Learn more about ResilientSLO here

Innovative Carbon Sequestration

It is known that inoculating the roots of certain seedlings with symbiotic fungi prior to planting produces several synergistic effects, including increased sequestration of carbon in the roots. Professors Yamina Pressler and Charlotte Decock are working with students to assess the extension of this technique in a novel fashion that allows for treatment of existing orchards: groundcover crops are inoculated with the fungus and deliver it to fruit trees through the soil as they take root.


Related Content


Cal Poly has earned a STARS Gold Rating — the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s second highest honor — in recognition of the university’s sustainability achievements.

Cal Poly Ranks Third in CSU for Sustainability Efforts

Learn more here

Contact Us

Erin Pearse 
Phone: (805) 756-5558

Assistant Director
Hadley Willman

Steering Committee
Michael Boswell, CRP
Charles (Dave) Camp, Math
Yiwen Chiu, NRES
Adrienne Greve,  CRP
Jay Peters, ENGL
Lars Tomanek, Bio

DEI in the Bailey College

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