CALPIRG wins national award for work to fight climate change

Student activists win award after successful campaign for renewable energy.


OAKLAND — EcoAmerica announced the winners of the 2020 American Climate Leadership Awards in a virtual ceremony today recognizing CALPIRG Students for their successful campaign for a University of California-wide commitment to 100% renewable electricity.

“The American Climate Leadership awards were designed to help and empower all of us to make a difference on climate change,” said Bob Perkowitz Founder and President Eco America. “EcoAmerica is providing $155,000 in award money, national recognition, and a boost of energy to all of the finalists. We want to help them continue their exemplary work and build even more momentum by broadcasting their work and encouraging others to join or replicate their efforts. It was inspiring and challenging to review the two hundred applications, narrow down to the thirty-four semifinalists, and then the ten finalists.”

Students and young people have the power to shape the future we will inherit. From civil rights to voting rights to protecting the environment, students have been at the forefront of social change throughout history,” said Nic Riani, CALPIRG Students UCLA Chapter Chair. “This award from EcoAmerica will help us galvanize even more young people to take action.”

CALPIRG Students is a statewide, student organization that mobilized thousands of students and dozens of faculty members and university staff at UC campuses to campaign for clean energy.

As a result of their campaign, California’s flagship research university, serving 270,000 students across 10 campuses, will use electricity from clean and renewable energy sources exclusively by 2025. The commitment extends across UC’s 10 campuses and five medical centers and builds on the university’s pledges to mitigate climate change and meet carbon neutrality goals.

“The students ran and won a campaign for a University of California system-wide commitment for 100% renewable energy,” said former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator and current CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Gina McCarthy. “UC’s new plan will have the university running completely on electricity from renewable energy by 2025. It’s the farthest reaching commitment with more campuses involved than any other commitment we’ve seen across the country to date.”

“We really want to thank our partners at the University of California for their bold climate leadership,” said CALPIRG Students Organizing Director Kat Lockwood. “UC Sustainability leaders like David Phillips and Matt St. Clair worked closely with students every step of the way and we are so grateful for their partnership. We hope that this award will inspire others to act”

Across the country, the Student PIRGs and coalition partners, including Environment America, are working with students on more than 65 campuses in 19 states to build a national movement of universities transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy generation. Some schools, such as Boston UniversityCornell University, and Colorado State University recently committed to using 100 percent renewable energy.

For more information about the campaign to shift America’s colleges and universities to 100 percent renewable energy: or 


CALPIRG Students is a statewide student-directed and student-funded organization at eight UC campuses working towards a greener, healthier, and more meaningful future.