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Sustaining Sustainability

Groups Move Forward Toward Making Campus More Green

May 12, 2009

By Pamela McLaren

Two recent reports to the Academic Senate have shared the news that Cal State Fullerton continues to move forward on its efforts to make the campus more energy efficient and ecologically friendly, including increasing the integration of sustainability into the classroom.

Both presentations stressed how far the campus has come and the driving forces encouraging the campus to move further.

Scott Hewitt, Academic Senate chair, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and who led the senate’s Ad Hoc Sustainability Committee, noted that since the establishment of the two groups, the university has

  • hosted a global warming teach-in that was attended by more than 400 attendees

  • the Student Recreation Center became the first campus building to receive LEED certification

  • reduced printing and photocopying, lighting, heating and cooling and installed more energy-efficient computer monitors.

In moving further on the issue, Environmental Studies is working on a proposal for a Center for Sustainability that would support sustainability education, research and outreach; students have established eight environmental groups; and the new University Leadership Development Program has charged some members of the group to review sustainability efforts and reports, and develop opportunities for raising campus awareness and increasing cost savings/revenue enhancement.

Hewitt reiterated the higher education benefits that can come from sustainability, including “strengthens and unifies the campus, as it affects all disciplines and all campus members; enhances our links to our community via outreach and working on sustainable projects; engages and retains our students; provides students with an edge when applying for jobs; reduces operating costs and is a source of external funding.”

Future activities for the task force, he noted, will be to continue work on subcommittee goals and coordinate activities with other sustainability groups on campus. The committee also will consider whether to seek external funding to support sustainability efforts during the current budget crunch and what is the continued Senate role beyond the term of the task force.

On April 30, the Academic Senate heard from Willem van der Pol, director of physical plant and chair of Sustainability Initiative Study Group on the results of their efforts, which were presented earlier this year to President Gordon. The Sustainability Initiative Study Group, made up of faculty, staff, administrators and students, was established in spring 2008 to define the issue and make recommendations on the what the campus can and should do.

“As large as we are, we have a responsibility to have a role within the region, within the California State University and nationally. We need to find more efficient and cheaper ways of doing business and determine how the university should address the issue and position itself,” said van der Pol.

The study group has recommended:

  • Sign the American College & University President's Climate Commitment

  • Recognize the importance of educating all members of society on the issue of sustainability

  • Develop and adopt a Cal State Fullerton Sustainability Policy

  • Develop a curriculum that will educate our students on the challenges of ensuring a sustainable future

  • Promote research that includes sustainability as a core subject

  • Create opportunities for our students to become successful in new emerging fields of employment and entrepreneurship

  • Continuously educate faculty and staff

  • Collaborate with other universities and academic institutions

  • Reach out to our local community

  • Sign the Talloires Declaration

  • Establish a Cal State Fullerton Sustainability Office

  • Establish a Cal State Fullerton Sustainability Committee

  • Support initiatives to help our University become more sustainable

  • Create a campus culture that supports sustainability

  • Creat a campus culture of accountability

  • Install a Sustainability Action Task Force

To view the full report of the Sustainability Initiative Study Group, the Senate Ad Hoc Sustainability Committee Proposal and other related items, go to Sustainability at Cal State Fullerton.

Related Stories:

Campus focuses on Sustainability

A Gold for Being Green

What Can the Campus Do to Increase Sustainability Efforts

Campus Goes Green With Energy Efficiency, Smart Building Design

Cal State Fullerton Hosts Global Warming Teach-in

Spotlight: Faculty Tackle Global Warming

Working to Build More Ecologically Friendly Campuses

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