Sustainability Practices and Resources for Curriculum (SPARC)

Some of the 2022 SFA Awardees

Photo of some of the SFA Awardees

2022 SFA Award Winner

SFA Award Winner Photo with family

2022 SFA Award Winner

SFA Award Winner receiving award

Peter Ritson, SPARC co-chair

Photo of Peter Ritson, SPARC co-chair

2022 SFA Award ceremony

SFA Award ceremony

Sustainability staff watering at the Sylvania Campus Learning Garden, location of the Sustainability Focus Awards

Sylvania Campus Learning Garden

Student receiving a Sustainability Focus Award

Student receiving SFA

SPARC member making pizza in cobb oven for Sustainability Focus Award attendees

SPARC member making pizza in cobb oven

PCC’s Sustainability Practices and Resources for Curriculum (SPARC) Council is a volunteer council that oversees the integration of sustainability into PCC’s curriculum across all disciplines. SPARC members include staff, administrators, and instructors from across the disciplines. SPARC facilitates sharing, design and development of all curriculum between faculty. This is done through workshops, meetings and conferences (see below for events). It also serves as an advisory board for sustainability-related academic curricular and program development. As part of this latter work, SPARC coordinates the Student Sustainability Focus Award. The committee regularly meets each term and if you are interested in participating or getting more information, contact the SPARC Co-Chairs: Roberta Richards and Peter Ritson.

Check out this story about one of the awardees Heifara Wheeler earning national New Century Scholarship!


Meeting Minutes

Winter 2023 Meeting Minutes

SPARC speaker series: Climate Fiction Booktalk

Friday, April 26, 2-3:30pm
Southeast Library, 2nd floor

Come to the Southeast Library for an exploration of fictional writing that focuses on climate change. Thea Prieto, PCC writing instructor and author of From the Caves, will read from her post-apocalyptic novella and discuss other provocative works of climate fiction. The session will address how creative writing can help us discuss difficult topics, discover our thinking, and convey complex emotions, for ourselves or in the classroom. You are invited to bring your own climate fiction or environment-focused prose or poetry for an open mic sharing. Light refreshments will be provided.

Spring workshop: Climate Migration

Friday, May 17

Save the date! PCC faculty are invited to participate in an international forum, co-arranged by GPSEN, the COMMEET Fellowship, and Maastricht University’s PREMIUM Project. The morning will include observing an online conversation between students in Portland and The Netherlands on the theme of climate migration, followed by lunch and afternoon workshops. Part-time faculty will receive a stipend for participating.

WOHESC 2025 Conference

PCC was a proud co-host of the Washington Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference (WOHESC).

SPARC, the Sustainability Department and Student Life & Leadership provided funding for staff, faculty and students to attend the conference this year.

The WOHESC 2025 Conference is scheduled to be in person at PCC in March of 2025!

If you are interested in attending this conference or need help with funding, contact Briar at

Sustainability Focus Award

The PCC Sustainability Focus Award is designed for students who are interested in exploring the interdependent social, economic and environmental pillars (the triple-bottom-line) of sustainability topics from multiple perspectives, and in increasing their course experience in this multi-disciplinary topic.

Steps to apply for a Sustainability Focus Award

  1. Review requirements and application details
  2. Fill out this application

See previous student awardees!


2030 Objectives

Increase sustainability throughout academic curricular and co-curricular programming at PCC.

2016 Academic Curricular and Co-curricular Programming Action Items:

  • Implement SPARC’s “Seven Sustainability-Focused Learning Outcomes” into current and newly developed courses at PCC.
  • In collaboration with the PCC Curriculum Office, design and implement a search capability through Courseleaf to easily identify courses with sustainability-focused content. To be developed through the curriculum office.
  • In collaboration with the PCC Curriculum Office, continue development of distinguishing “focused” courses and “related” courses parallel with AASHE’s STARS reporting.
  • Provide continued support in curriculum development to insure creation of new or revised sustainability courses at PCC.
  • Award the Sustainability Focus Award to students who have a sustainability focus in their studies.
  • Support professional development and capacity building related to sustainability curriculum for faculty.
  • Build sustainability into student, faculty and staff orientations to support curriculum initiatives at the college.
  • Design a sustainability curriculum packet to include in materials for various faculty orientations.
  • Collaborate with the Learning Assessment Council in assessment strategies and examples through the adding of the “Seven sustainability-focused Outcomes” to CCOGs, with measurable outcomes.
  • Through PCC’s Core Outcome #2 of “Community and Environmental Responsibility,” create collaborations with the Internationalization Committee, the Diversity Council, the Service-Learning program, and community partners to address global environmental awareness, environmental justice, social equity, and food security in sustainability curriculum.

Increase focused educational programs and options to meet sustainability-focused workforce needs.

2016 Focused Educational Programs and Options Action Items:

  • Explore the development of an academic Sustainable Agriculture Program
  • Explore offering LEED certification education and establish partners with businesses working in this field.
  • Explore new opportunities to create focused educational programs in coordination with the State of Oregon 40-40-20 Initiative and the U.S. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) movement.
2021 Climate Action Plan

PCC’s 2021 Climate Action Plan: Resiliency, Equity and Education for a Just Transition is the college’s five-year roadmap towards climate justice.

Unified under a shared vision, PCC’s 2021 Climate Action Plan establishes a new carbon neutrality goal of 2040 and builds off an impressive amount of work done to-date to outline clear pathways for equity-focused climate action to be woven throughout operations, academics, student engagement and future planning.

PCC’s 2021 CAP has four focus areas, two of which address PCC’s GHG emissions from its operations, a section focused on education and outreach to ensure the PCC community has the tools, resources and knowledge to lead in climate action, and resiliency to help PCC equitably adapt to global climate change. Each focus area has five year goals and associated strategies, vetted through a Climate Action Equity Guide, to set PCC on the path to 2040 carbon neutrality and climate justice.

View PCC’s 2021 Climate Action Plan

How to get Involved

Participants receive a stipend (part-time faculty) for the sustainability in curriculum training and are provided support, through SPARC, in the development of a new course, or the revision of a current course. Additionally, faculty can receive funding for conferences, trainings, and other professional development through the Teaching Learning Centers, Professional & Organizational Development, and SPARC to sustainability-related trainings. We are also working with our Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs to prioritize professional development funding for faculty developing new courses or adding green outcomes to existing courses. In addition, PCC provides release time to a faculty member to coordinate the SPARC council.

For more information or to join the council, contact the SPARC Co-Chairs: Roberta Richards and Peter Ritson

2023 Sustainability Focus Award Recipients

2023 SFA-Announcement.Final (2)