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Administration of Justice Partnership Between Peralta Community College District and City of Oakland

27 May 2014

OPD Signing No. 7 copy

At a time when the City of Oakland is actively recruiting new police officers and Merritt College is helping Administration of Justice students find career opportunities, a mutually beneficial agreement was recently signed at City Hall by Oakland Chief of Police Sean Whent and the Chancellor of the Peralta Community College District, Dr. José M. Ortiz (pictured with Oakland Mayor Jean Quan).

As part of this academic affiliation, Merritt College will provide an accredited curriculum for the Oakland Police Academy. The program will provide the students with direct interaction and hands-on experience with City police officers. The optimum result will potentially be more than 50 well-trained candidates to meet the public safety needs of the City of Oakland.

“We want to make sure that what we provide at the college is what employers see as relevant in the workplace,” says Dr. Elmer Bugg, Merritt’s Vice President of Instruction. “This partnership allows for us to forge a marriage between academic preparation and career application. It’s a win-win all around.”

As a bonus, adds Dr. Bugg, the academy students will gain college-level credit for the work they do and could go on to get an associate’s or bachelor’s degree once they graduate from the Academy.

Mayor Jean Quan, who also participated in the signing, hopes that the program will bring more recruits who are Oakland residents and have a vested interest in the city and knowledge of the city’s culture.

“Our last class had only 16 percent of Oakland residents, and I’d like to get up to 50 percent,” says Quan. “Programs like these give us a steady flow of young people who are interested in the police department.”

Margaret Dixon, director of Merritt’s Administration of Jusice program and a retired Oakland police officer, wants the training to provide the students with the total experience of the profession. “It’s more than just passing a test,” says Dixon. “We want to support the students once they get into the academy, and we want them to truly understand what they are getting into.”

Filed under: Announcements, Merritt College, Peralta News. Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Peralta Community College District and Sustainable Pacific Rim Cities to Host 2014 Bay Area Resilient/Sustainable City Conference Symposium and Sustainable Project Tour

18 March 2014

Sustainable Pacific Rim

OAKLAND, Calif., March 17, 2014 – Partnering for Resiliency and Sustainability:  The Bay Area Resilient/Sustainable City Conference Symposium is a special two-day gathering, starting at 9A.M., Friday, April 25th, 2014. It will be held on the Laney College campus, in Oakland, California, as part of the Peralta Community College District’s Earth Week 2014 celebrations. Featured speakers and guests include experts in regional sustainability, city planning, and urban systems resilience joining the Hon. Mayor Jean Quan of Oakland, Hon. Mayor Marie Gilmore of Alameda, and the Hon. (Former)-Mayor Mark Green and past president of the Association of Bay Area Governments. This is a free, symposium, but participants are must register in advance.  Activities will include panel presentations, breakout sessions, project tours, and networking receptions.
The Symposium dovetails with recent announcement that the Rockefeller Foundation selected three of our Bay Area Cities, Oakland, Alameda, and Berkeley, as inaugural cities in the Rockefeller Foundation Resilient City Network ( ).  The goal of the Rockefeller Foundation is to help municipalities put plans in place to accelerate recovery from catastrophic events. The Peralta Colleges are in the discussion because the colleges are located in these three Cities. The City of Oakland is home to Laney and Merritt Colleges. The City of Alameda is home to the College of Alameda, and the City of Berkeley is home to Berkeley City College.   The 2014 Symposium is a perfect opportunity to critically discuss how resiliency preparations and sustainable investments catalyze education and green career pathways in the Bay Area.
On Friday April 25th, the Symposium will open with a special keynote address. It will be followed by the Mayor’s Panel, which includes a question and answer portion for attendees to make inquiries and offer insights. The afternoon breakout sessions will address resiliency and sustainability work, insights, and case studies from representative Bay Area policy-makers, planners, researchers, and industry professionals. These professionals are involved in cutting edge initiatives such as community greening, pre-disaster-planning, and ecological water treatment systems. 
On Saturday April 26th there will be a guided tour of high-profile, sustainable projects and sites in Oakland’s Lake Merritt District. Areas of interest include the new Lakeside Park; the opening and restoration Lake Merritt Channel waterway; the upcoming Brooklyn Basin 3,000-unit, mixed-use, infill project; solar industries/local food businesses in Jack London Square; plans for the Lake Merritt Transit Oriented Develop; and, lastly, plans for the BEST Center for green jobs training at Laney College. 
Sponsorships and donation for the Earth Week events, including the Symposium will also benefit the Peralta Foundation with student scholarships.
For more information on registration, booth displays, or sponsorship please contact
Schedule:  Friday April 25th: Resilient/Sustainable City Symposium from 9:00am – 5:00pm, Laney College Odell Johnson Performing Arts Center (on the shores of the beautiful Lake Merritt Estuary Channel). 
Catered lunch from the Laney College Bistro Café Culinary School: $10.  A sponsored reception will follow the Symposium.
Saturday April 26th: Sustainable Project Development Guided Tour (pre-register, $35 cost)

Filed under: Announcements, Laney College, Peralta News. Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Merritt College’s Environmental Program Celebrates 50 Years. Oakland Mayor, San Leandro Vice Mayor and City Manager Honor Accomplishments

17 December 2012

The Environmental Program at Merritt College celebrated its 50th Anniversary on December 1, 2012 at the Self Reliant House on campus where 60 people gathered for a day of hiking, history and discussion about the future of both the program and the globe.

Program Director Robin Freeman lauded colleagues for having begun some of the first college environmental activities in the state and nation.  Accomplishments include the first ecology course at the Peralta colleges in 1962, the first dedicated student-built environmental center in 1981, the first ecological restoration certificate program in 1991 and the first Green Building Materials Conference in 1994.

Freeman noted that the program has consistently been decades ahead of the curve. “The program has been able to predict the future,” said Freeman. “If so,” he continued, “the sustainable green cities students and faculty study now suggests a hopeful, thriving future for our planet.”

The celebration came two weeks after Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and San Leandro Vice Mayor Michael Gregory spoke at the Merritt Environmental Program.

Last month, Merritt College environmental students joined local leaders and residents in an event organized by Friends of San Leandro Creek (FOSLC) to imagine and plan activities around the creek and the watershed.

Bringing back the creek’s vitality was at the top of the agenda for the dozens of people who gathered at San Leandro City Hall to brainstorm on restoring the creek’s 6.5 mile open greenway. The creek flows from Lake Chabot in the hills to the estuary between the Oakland airport and Alameda. The goal is to make the creek cleaner and safer, and more natural and more accessible so the community can fully enjoy it.

Participants described many ways to do that: Planting a tree farm and a community garden, involving San Leandro high school students, posting interpretive signs, building creek crossings and adding disability access.

Several local leaders, including Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Vice Mayor Michael Gregory and City Manager Chris Zapata of San Leandro spoke at the meeting about the history and value of watershed restoration work. Quan endorsed the group’s goals and touted how Friends of Sausal Creek, primarily through the work of hundreds of volunteers, has succeeded in returning a good portion of the creek to its native habitat.

Jeanny Wang, an environmental scientist who has recorded some of the creek’s “vital statistics,” explained the importance of monitoring and improving the creek’s health.

Instrumental in organizing the meeting were Freeman, Gregory and Susan Levenson of FOSLC.

Each semester, students at Merritt College’s Environment Program organize meetings, field research and community work to maintain efforts to restore native fish and provide parks along the creek. Merritt classes have been using the creek as a field lab for four years.

Freeman noted, “There are enough real opportunities in the world that we don’t need to make up a field lab site for our classes. Instead, we are using the San Leandro Creek Watershed. The students are learning while making an impact.”

Overall, the meeting convened community members from many backgrounds passionate about improving the state of the watershed. Their ideas and commitment injected fresh energy into a long-term project that requires the input of San Leandro and Oakland neighbors to bring the creek and its environs back to life.

Those interested in exploring more about San Leandro Creek can enroll in “Introduction to Sustainable Urban Planning” (ENVMT 11) at Merritt College or “Tree to Sea, A Bay Area Cross-Section” (ENVMT 40).

For more information, see or Friends of San Leandro Creek,




Leanne A. Grossman contributed to this story.

Filed under: Merritt College, Peralta News, Press Release. Tagged: , , , , , ,

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