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Campus Sustainability Addressed Nov. 5-6 at Cal State Fullerton
Going Beyond 'Green' to Fuse Social, Economic, Environmental Dimensions

Nov. 2, 2007 :: No. 91

Ways to advance beyond energy-efficient buildings and recycling, into the realm of sustainability, is the focus of two talks at Cal State Fullerton Nov. 5 and 6 by Jason Hamilton, associate professor of biology at Ithaca College in New York, and a longtime advocate and activist for sustainability.

Hamilton’s presentation is titled “Sustainability at CSUF: Why Our Future Depends on It.” He speaks at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 5, in the Titan Theatre, and reprises the lecture at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, in Room 199 of the Kinesiology and Health Science Building.

The talks are sponsored by the Academic Senate’s Ad Hoc Committee on Sustainability, with support from the offices of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Vice President for Administration. In addition to the lectures, Hamilton also will conduct workshops for groups of faculty members and administrators.

Scott Hewitt, CSUF professor of chemistry and biochemistry, chairs the ad hoc committee. “Cal State Fullerton,” Hewitt said, “for years has moved toward more energy efficiency, recycling, composting, planning new construction and remodeling to be greener and, in other ways, reduce any adverse impacts on the environment. But,” he said, “being ‘greener’ is not the same as ‘sustainability.’”

Becoming sustainable “is not yet part of the university’s official Mission, Goals and Strategies,” Hewitt said. “Physical Plant and those designing new buildings have taken a lead on the issue, but being sustainable … encompasses even seemingly small things, such as buying more food locally so it doesn’t have to be shipped as far. The food should be organic, which means fewer insecticides would be used.”

Hewitt advocates for “incorporating the principles of sustainability into the curriculum. We’re doing that now, but it should be on a much broader scale, and it should be for students in every discipline,” he said.

“My committee has done a survey of a number of UC [University of California] and CSU [California State University] campuses, and even with the strides already made at Cal State Fullerton, some of them have gotten ahead of us in terms of an overall integrated plan” for sustainability. That is one reason Hamilton is coming to CSUF to speak, Hewitt said. As a member of Ithaca’s Planning and Priorities Committee, Hamilton helped Ithaca make strides in integrating sustainability and can address that. “That will help my committee directly, too, since we have to submit our recommendations on sustainability on the campus before the end of the year,” Hewitt said.

According to Hamilton, “the term sustainability is being used many different ways these days. Unfortunately, many are using the term as a new, flashy way to mean green, environmental or energy efficient. The idea of sustainability is much broader than this.

“The major problems facing humanity in the 21st century are truly system problems that involve social, economic and environmental dimensions that are inseparable,” he said. “The United Nations has declared this to be the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. That is, educators and educational institutions from pre-kindergarten, in the K-12 grades and in college must rethink what our mission is."

In addition to being inspirational leaders in energy efficiency, green building, innovative transportation systems, recycling and composting, Hamilton said, “we need to develop innovative improvements in the interactions between environment, economy, society and human health” that will allow us to continue to raise the standard of living for people in all countries, especially those suffering from malnutrition, lack of medical care and depleted resources “and yet, meet the needs of those still unborn, and leave a healthy and healthful environment.”

The talks are open to the public free of charge. Visitor parking information at CSUF is available online or by phone at 657-278-3082.


Media Contacts:

Scott Hewitt, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, 657-278-3689 or
Russ L. Hudson, Public Affairs, 657-278-4007 or

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