Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Sustainable Practices for Academics and Resources Council (SPARC)

Some of the 2022 SFA Awardees

Photo of some of the 2022 SFA Awardees

2022 SFA Award Winner

2022 SFA Award Winner Photo with family

2022 SFA Award Winner

2022 SFA Award Winner receiving award

Peter Ritson, SPARC co-chair

Photo of Peter Ritson, SPARC co-chair

2022 SFA Award ceremony

2022 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 Academics Resources Council (SPARC) 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: Davida Jordan and Peter Ritson.

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


SPARC Climate Action Plan Curriculum Workshop – Friday, October 21 at 1pm, virtually

In this workshop, you will explore PCC’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) with your students in mind. We will provide you with an overview of the CAP to facilitate a structured self exploration of the Climate Action Plan so you can better understand the parts that interest you. We will have time for collaborative sharing and present examples of assignments you can use or modify. Our format will be both a guided presentation and time for a collaboration so you can share ideas and work with colleagues. The last hour will be set aside for you to work on creating student assignments. You can choose to work in small collaborative groups, independently but with the ability to share and check as needed or completely independently. PT faculty will receive a stipend. As SPARC members, I hope you will send this to at least two colleagues.

Day’s Schedule:

Please complete this form to register: Climate Action Plan in Your Classroom Registration


AASHE’s Global Conference of Sustainability in Higher Education

Thanks to the student-funded Eco-social Justice Grant, we are thrilled to announce that PCC is an official Host Institution of the annual Global Conference on Sustainability in Higher Education! Through this three-day event, you will have the chance to explore live interactive sessions, tune in to captivating keynote presentations, and engage in networking opportunities with thousands of other campus-change agents. Virtual offerings will be October 18th, October 26th and November 3rd.

As a Host Institution, we have unlimited registration passes for the college. Sign up using the instructions below to gain free access to this great event:

1. Follow this link to register
2. Fill out all the relevant fields using your PCC email address.
3. After entering your ticket, but before clicking Checkout, enter the following Promotional Code and hit Apply: PORTCC150722
4. Complete your registration.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to jade.menchaca@pcc.edu

WOHESC 2023 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. MORE INFO COMING SOON

The WOHESC 2023 Conference is scheduled to be in person at Oregon State University from March 6-8, 2023.

If you are interested in attending this conference in the future, contact Briar at briar.schoon@pcc.edu.

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 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: Davida Jordan and Peter Ritson

2022 Sustainability Focus Award Recipients

Congratulations to PCC's 2022 Sustainability Focus Award recipients