Sustainable Solutions
The Newsletter of Strategic Energy Innovations
Winter Edition
December, 2016 – Issue #19


Message from Cyane Dandridge
Welcome and Industry Perspective from Executive Director, Cyane Dandridge

In Memoriam
Remembering Mildred Church Dandridge

Energize Colleges
Semester One at a Glance

Local Schools Tackle Waste
County of Marin's Zero Waste Schools Program

Job Opportunities

Message from Cyane Dandridge

Executive Director

Greetings Friends and Happy Holidays!
With the holiday season on our doorstep, I want to extend a sincere thank you for all your support this year. Our office sends wishes for happy holidays and New Year. In 2016, SEI staff has been able to accomplish so much.
Our Energize Schools program has educated over 2,900 students across the state of California. Through Energize Schools’ Energy Conservation Competitions schools saved over 46,000 kWh of energy, equivalent to 32.3 tons of carbon dioxide emissions saved or 34,497 pounds of coal burned. Our Climate Corps program expanded statewide and has partnered with AmeriCorps for 22 of the 58 total Fellowships this year. Our Sustainable Energy Roadmap Program created the Solar PV Master Planning for Multi-Family Buildings Guidebook. The Marin School of Environmental Leadership graduated its second class, the Class of 2016, with a 100% acceptance and attendance to a higher learning institute. We expanded our Sustainable Energy and Economics Development Fund into Monterey Bay this year. We introduced our new program, Energize Colleges this year and are working with eight campuses across the state of California to develop and expand energy education and student internship offerings. We are looking forward to 2017 and expanding our programs even further.        
Although 2016 has been a success for the SEI programs, we have faced some hurdles. The election results sent shockwaves through our office and many other environmental organizations across the country. However, the results have only strengthened mine and SEI’s resolve to continue to educate and fight to keep this one and only Earth, our home, from further destruction.
Not long after the election results, my world was shaken with the unexpected and sudden passing of my mother, Mildred. My mom was an outstanding member of her community and an integral team member at SEI. After I started SEI, she took on the role of Director of Education. She brought her background in psychology and behavioral science into this role and SEI, creating a culture where we think outside the box of traditional education and building a relationship between behavioral science and education. Because of her, we utilize behavior engagement to focus on the individual, but also see how we can make an impact on a larger scale. Most importantly, it was her deep sense of joy and little bit of crazy that helped me structure SEI to be the great workplace it has become. She shared her insight on how to focus on people and their personal growth to create a work atmosphere that fosters innovation. I attribute her guidance and wisdom to why SEI has such an amazing staff and creative work environment that is always pushing the boundaries on innovation. She will be missed immensely, but it comforts me to know her legacy remains as SEI continues to be a stable and successful organization.
For those interested in honoring her legacy, we have created the Mildred Church Dandridge Memorial Scholarship for graduating students from The School of Environmental Leadership to put towards higher education. If you would like to learn more or contribute to the Mildred Church Dandridge Memorial Scholarship, please go here.        



In Memoriam

Remembering Mildred Church Dandridge
SEI is deeply saddened to announce that we have lost one of our most cherished staff members, Mildred Church Dandridge, who had been with SEI since its inception in 1997.
Mildred was fundamental to the forming of SEI and helped write one of the first SEI grants in 1999. She acted as SEI’s Education Program Director until 2007, working with countless schools and engaging youth in their communities. She worked diligently to build SEI programs, where she engaged elementary through high school students to be part of the climate solution. She taught high school students to assess small business energy use, developed a year-long suite of curriculum scaffolding climate instruction for 4th and 5th graders. She worked with countless districts to use their facilities as a teaching tool, helping reduce energy use in school through student and staff behavior change. Though she “retired” in 2007, she still remained a member of the SEI team and ran our Building Operators Certification Program and helped launch The School of Environmental Leadership (SEL). Mildred wrote key curriculum for both SEI and The SEL and assisted in laying the foundation for key curriculum to receive University of California A-G approval for The SEL, as well as obtaining college credit for the courses. Throughout these contributions, Mildred sought ways to help train young people to take a clearly defined environmental leadership role in their communities.
In addition to all of her accomplishments at SEI and The SEL, Mildred was an integral part of her community. She volunteered her time to start Odyssey of the Mind at the Dixie School District in San Rafael, as well as the innovative GATE program that focused on creative math projects. She was the treasurer of the East Bay Peace Action Network and served on committees at the El Cerrito Library and El Cerrito Environmental Quality Committee. Before she joined the SEI team, she was the Director of Academic Advising and an adjunct faculty member at The Sage Colleges in Troy, New York. She helped to found The Sage Colleges Women’s Center, where she empowered young women to have the confidence to take on anything they wanted in their lives and careers – to be feminists. Mildred believed by developing an environmental leadership role, young people have the potential to change the way they think about themselves and the environment. It was all of these accomplishments and more that lead to Mildred being honored with the Purpose Prize Fellowship in 2007 and becoming a multiyear awardee of the YWCA Woman of the Year Award.
As instrumental as Mildred was in establishing SEI and The SEL, it is her heart of gold and vibrant smile that we will miss the most. Mildred put her voice and action behind her values and gave 200% to these organizations. Many of us at SEI have worked alongside Mildred for years and miss her immensely.
To honor Mildred’s legacy, The SEL will be renaming the Senior Scholarship to the Mildred Church Dandridge Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship will be awarded each year to a MarinSEL senior who exemplifies the joy, spirit, empathy, and selflessness that Mildred showed everyday, as well as their deep commitment to the environment. This scholarship will go toward furthering the recipient’s education at the college or university level. If you would like to support the Mildred Church Dandridge Memorial Scholarship, you can make a donation here.

Energize Colleges

Semester One at a Glance

This December, the Energize Colleges program wraps up its very first semester of work at eight college campuses across the state. In semester one of the program, unique projects and internships (from an academic energy series to student HVAC intern positions) have emerged at each site. Take a look at a short summary below: 

For more updates on the Energize Colleges program, visit
Sign-up to receive the Energize Colleges Newsletter. 

Local Schools Tackle Waste

The Zero Waste Marin Schools Program
Ziplock bags, plastic wrappers, and disposable utensils -- all of these are among the most commonly found landfill items at Marin schools, according to a series of waste audits conducted by SEI this fall. In order to comply with mandatory California laws, schools are implementing and improving on-campus recycling and composting. Strategic Energy Innovations and Zero Waste Marin's Zero Waste Schools Program are working to make these systems as successful as possible and support school waste education and overall reduction. Through the Zero Waste Schools Program, SEI is sorting out common recycling and composting confusion, building awareness for smart resource use, and establishing best practices to be shared throughout the county. Need Zero Waste support at your school? Sign-up for the program, and browse resources at the links below.

Sign-up for the Schools Program:
Zero Waste resources (like how to pack a Zero Waste lunch)



Climate Corps Is Recruiting

We're recruiting Partners and Fellows throughout California. If you or someone you know wants a passionate emerging professional to support your program or you know a recent graduate looking for a fantastic professional development experience, click here to check out the Climate Corps website.

SEI Is Hiring
SEI is seeking a bookkeeper, Fellows, and volunteers to support our work. For more information and to apply, click here

Copyright © 2016 Strategic Energy Innovations, All rights reserved.
Strategic Energy Innovations
899 Northgate Drive, Suite 410
San Rafael, CA 94903