One of Cate's dormitories overlooking the Pacific Ocean from the Mesa.
Cate School was founded in 1910 by Curtis Wolsey Cate, who traveled from the East Coast with his eyes set on the rugged environment of the West. When the school finally settled into its home on the Mesa, Mr. Cate made sure that the outdoors remained an integral component of the students' experience. The open-plan architecture (designed by Reginald Johnson) consciously echoes and embraces the natural beauty of the place. Cate faculty member and Art Department Chair Patrick Collins writes: “Cate buildings...blend ‘indoors’ with ‘outside.’ Open courtyards, patios, porches, and walkways are common in open-plan architecture. There is no closed-in feeling; instead, the sense of openness (and, in winter, coldness) which Mr. Cate loved so well is much in evidence.”
In the School's first fifty years, outdoor living was a significant part of students' lives, inspiring a deep respect for the natural world that today's students still hold.
Nowadays, the Cate community strives to make environmentally responsible decisions at every turn. Students help reduce waste, recycle materials, and even tote kitchen scraps to the school's organic garden. Cate's Green Team raises the awareness of its peers to keep them on the green track, and other groups have participated in environmental contest that have helped assess the school's ecological footprint.
On a larger scale, the school is committed to maintaining and developing the campus in a sustainable way. Recent development projects—five faculty homes, a childcare center for faculty children, renovation and relocation of the old stables, a tertiary water treament facilty, bioswales, and drought-tolerant landscaping—have been awarded high LEED certification where possible, and are always done with the environment in mind.
Students will play an important role in shaping of our world. By educating environmentally-responsible people, we are investing in the future.
1. Helped reduce energy and water use on campus by auditing use, then implemented a public education campaign in the community.
2. Implemented a public education campaign about phantom electricity and energy conservation strategies.
3. Student teams received awards during 2007 and 2008 Lexus Environmental Challenge for water and energy Action Plans.
4. Developed award-winning PSA videos for Santa Barbara County Water Providers.
5. Created CFL recycling program in dormitories.
6. Designed and sold reusable shopping bags; initiated a "borrow a reusable bag" campaign to encourage students to use these bags when shopping locally.
7. Educated school and local community about long-term waste issues of plastic shopping bags and collected signatures from local residents to support the effort to ban plastic bags in local stores.
8. Created and distributed Green Holiday Shopping Guide for Cate community.