Cool Davis is proud to introduce our cohort of five Sacramento Valley College Corps (SVCC) Fellows who will be primarily participating in community outreach as Field Assistants over the coming academic year. All five are UC Davis students, where the program is coordinated through the Office of Public Scholarship and Engagement.

After some intensive initial training and orientation, Fellows will be choosing a campaign focus and an individual project to work on throughout the year. Expect to see them at Farmer’s Market on Saturdays conducting surveys, leading activities, and generally chatting up residents on what they can do to live more sustainable lives.

Cool Davis is grateful for the opportunity to work with these leaders of tomorrow and to benefit from the increased energy and capacity they bring to our organization!

Ben Yang

Meet Ben Yang! Ben is from Oakland, California, and is currently studying at UC Davis. He is majoring in Environmental Engineering but is considering switching to Civil Engineering. After graduating, Ben hopes to find work in a field that works to better the environment. In his free time, he likes to listen to music and play video games with friends. A fun fact about Ben is that he enjoys listening to Japanese music.

Ben decided to join the Sacramento Valley College Corps (SVCC) because he was interested in building his experience working with and serving the community while relating his work to climate action. Serving the community is important to Ben because he wants to contribute to making his community a place that everyone can thrive in. Climate action is one of Ben’s passions and he believes that everyone has role to play in the betterment of the environment.

At Cool Davis, Ben hopes to learn more about sustainability for himself and others. Above all, he wants to guide people in the right direction so that they know what to do to play their part in this global effort.

(by Mari)

Emily Vu

Emily Vu joined our SVCC team to represent climate action and sustainability goals. Coming up from San Jose, Emily is here studying at UC Davis pursuing her undergraduate degree as an Environmental Engineering major. On her free times, Emily enjoys getting her hands busy with arts and crafts, as she has a talent for sketching, painting, and even crocheting, all while enjoying her homemade matcha tea on the side. Emily is also a very proud and loving owner of many pets back at home, such as two cats named, Earl Grey and Maurice, and around 10 birds! After Emily completes her degree, she plans on pursuing a career in the environmental sector, but before that, to go traveling around and look for a new city to settle into to.

Emily became a Fellow as she resonated with the goal of creating a large change in pressing world issues through service, but to also continue pursuing her degree debt free. From her time in a climate action club in high school, Emily joins Cool Davis to not only be a part of something bigger than her, but to also continue her mission to protect and sustain the place we live in and to fight for a more eco-friendly future! Emily loves and enjoys working with everyone here at Cool Davis and looks forward to learning and sharing more about sustainable living with the community and working on larger projects to combat climate change!

(by Ben)

Nala Haley

Nala Haley is one of the five SVCC Fellows at Cool Davis! She is currently a second year at UC Davis and is double majoring in Design and Sustainable Environmental Design. Art plays a big role in her life and was a factor in picking her majors as they encourage her to observe, draw, and appreciate her surroundings. Before coming to Davis, Nala grew up in Long Beach California and though she isn’t that fond of sand or swimming, she misses the piers and coastal areas near her that had a vibrant yet relaxing atmosphere. Now she enjoys the small town vibes and feeling, like everyone knows one another here at Davis. The cows are a major plus as well! Nala is learning so many new things here and is currently exploring all the different possible paths for the future but is certain that whatever she will be doing is human-centered.

Sustainability is very important to her and is why she is a part of Cool Davis now. Nala believes that at the end of the day it is just about being more considerate of others. Everyone has their own lives and routines but we are all intertwined and need to be mindful of each other. To her, sustainability reminds us that doing just a little more or a little less of something can make a world of difference in people’s lives.

So far, she loves how Cool Davis represents the city itself and how the community works together in finding solutions to our pressing climate issue.

(by Emily)

Mari Cruz

My name is Maribel Cruz but people call me Mari. I am a second year majoring in Environmental Science and Management at UC Davis. I like my major because I am interested in learning about environment processes and how we affect those processes and vice versa.

A fun fact about me is that I collect quarters and used to go quadding with my family in the desert where I am from. I love photography, gaming, and I have recently started embroidery. I like to take pictures of the landscape and urban areas and I have three different cameras.

My goal is to work in an environment related field after graduating from here. I don’t have any specific career goals currently, I just “go with the flow.” Though, I do know that in the future I definitely want to travel and try a variety of different cuisines. I have always been interested in climate change and how to combat it. It started in middle school when I would watch documentaries about climate change and I was also taught about renewable energy in 6th grade. These really sparked my interest in climate action.

(by Karen)


Karen Castaneda

My name is Karen Castaneda. I am a 4th year undergraduate student at UC Davis. I am majoring in Geology and minoring in Spanish. I have a passion for learning about earthquakes and its physical processes. I am interested in earthquake forecasting and will be working on research relating to this soon.

I am from San Jose which is about two hours away from Davis. What I love about Davis compared to my hometown is how easily I can get to places on a bike in a few minutes. There are bike paths all around Davis, which are very convenient for me. I like how distances from one place to another in Davis are really close since Davis is small.

What interests me about climate action is knowing how there are so many different ways one can make a change in their lives to live a more sustainable life. In the future, I hope that it will become easier for people to switch to a more sustainable life because at the moment, the cheaper options are not the most sustainable ones.

One cool part about Cool Davis is how it offers multiple cool solutions that the community can get involved in doing.

(by Nala)

More information about the SVCC

UC Davis is among 45 campuses statewide selected for the inaugural #CaliforniansForAll College Corps program. UC Davis, along with Sacramento State, Sacramento City College and Woodland Community College form the regional Sacramento Valley College Corps, or SVCC.

Led by California Volunteers, Office of the Governor, the #CaliforniansForAll College Corps initiative has three goals:

  • Engage college students in meaningful service to build leadership and civic responsibility;
  • Promote academic success and economic well being with students from diverse backgrounds
  • Support the work of community-based organizations in key local priorities: K-12 education, climate action, and food insecurity.

Climate action service opportunities are intended to engage Fellows in activities that counter the adverse human impact on climate change through education and civic engagement. Fellows began their service in September 2022 and will complete their service year on or around May 2023. The following service year will start in September of 2023 and continue through May 2024.

For more information: