Riverside is the 12th largest city in California and home to more than 300,000 people with diverse cultures and traditions. Our city is home to several prestigious universities and is made up of more than two dozen unique neighborhoods. More than 100 years after its founding, Riverside still honors its strong heritage and takes great care to preserve its natural resources.
In 2009, a group of local business leaders gathered to create an innovative growth strategy for our city. The group engaged in a planning process aimed at providing residents with an intelligent approach to our city's future.
Soon after, a steering committee was formed, residents were encouraged to lend their voices and the original group
of strategists had grown to include leaders from other key segments of our community. Together, they developed
Riverside's roadmap to the future, calling it Seizing Our Destiny (SOD).
Consisting of Strategic Routes, SOD helps local leaders take Riverside down the right path and gives us all a
glimpse at what's to come.
Being a Green Machine
To help community and SOD committee members meet the goals established for each strategic route, a collection of initiatives have been created. Strategic Route 5, called Being a Green Machine, endeavors to establish "Riverside as the international magnet and model for sustainable business, environmental innovation and green living with a synergistic partnership of industry, city leadership and residents."
Riverside Public Utilities has become known across the globe for its commitment to, and implementation of green initiatives that reduce our city's impact on the environment; this is why we've been called on to aid community and SOD committee members in accomplishing each Route 5 initiative.
Green Leadership Summit
The City of Riverside aims to involve the community in all aspects of its sustainability efforts, including its work with Seizing Our Destiny’s Route 5. To this end, the second Green Leadership Summit was organized to initiate discussion between local community groups and the City to determine the best options for furthering Riverside’s sustainability and environmental stewardship goals.
In February, leaders from Riverside’s leading organizations came together to share a vision for a greener Riverside and signed a Collaborative Agreement to work together to ensure sustainability, quality of life and health for the current and future residents of Riverside.
The agreement, signed at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) Alumni and Visitor Center, includes plans to provide academic work opportunities and paid internships for students, address job-to-housing discrepancies and create greater incentives for UCR grads to stay in Riverside.
"The word of the day is 'partner' and this is a proud day for all of us," said UCR Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox. “As a member of the UCR community, it’s hard not to feel proud of all that we have accomplished as a university and as a community. But, it’s also very humbling to think of the work that still needs to be done.”
Chancellor Wilcox discussed the university’s commitment to sustainability and goals for the campus when he addressed more than 80 guests, including students and representatives from UCR, the City of Riverside, RPU, local businesses, and non-profits. Topics included the reduction of the use of potable water from campus operations, increased application of UCR research in areas of global warming, air quality, agriculture, plant biology, solar energy, transportation and climate neutrality.
Following the presentation by Chancellor Wilcox, UCR Director of the Center for Environmental Research & Technology Matt Barth and RPU Assistant General Manager Michael Bacich discussed current sustainability successes at UCR and RPU.
Mayor Rusty Bailey showed appreciation for efforts to date and promised support for sustainability projects moving forward. Mayor Bailey lauded the city’s Green Accountability Performance Committee, a group of community members dedicated to ensuring a greener future, for their work to “move the needle” in Riverside’s sustainability. “We’re continuing the momentum of previous generations and mayors with the mission of sustainability. I’m proud to carry the torch and take a step forward to continue our work. We're in growth mode and we need to do things the right way.”
Following the presentations, Green Summit attendees spent some time working together at their tables to brainstorm unique solutions to sustainability issues.
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Riverside Public Utilities offers school programs for 4th and 5th graders.