Report of the Faculty Trustee November 2016
Steven Stepanek, Faculty Trustee (Northridge)
CSU Commitment to Environmental Sustainability
My previous column covered two significant discussion topics within the CSU: the CSU Graduation Initiative 2025 and the 2017-2018 CSU Support Budget, which references the possible need for a $270/year tuition increase for undergraduate full-time students.
For this month’s Faculty Trustee’s column, I wish to cover environmental sustainability activities by the CSU. In May 2014, the CSU Board of Trustees adopted the 2014 Sustainability Policy. This policy is broader in scope that most policies, affecting both campus academic and campus facility maintenance activities. During the November 2016 Board of Trustees meeting, I convened a joint meeting of the Board’s committees on Educational Policy and Campus Planning, Buildings and Grounds to receive an update on the system’s progress towards achieving the goals set in the 2014 policy.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions – the CSU has already exceeded its 2020 goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to its 1990 level or below, consistent with the statewide target set by state legislation (AB 32).
Energy Efficiency – the CSU has installed $128 million worth of energy efficiency projects since 2005, yielding an approximate 20% reduction in total energy use from 10 years ago. These projects included upgrades to LED lighting, installation of high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, and building envelope improvements.
Renewable Energy – the CSU has already met the goal set by the state in the California Public Utilities Commission Renewable Portfolio Standard prior to the 2020 deadline requiring that 33% of electrical needs be procured from renewable sources.
Self-Generation Capacity – the CSU is on track to meet the goal of 80 MW of self-generation electricity by 2020. By 2017 the system will be generating 19.5 MW of solar photovoltaic electricity and an additional 23 MW of cogeneration capacity. Phase 4 of the system’s solar energy plan is anticipated to result in a total of 78.5 MW of self-generation capacity by 2018.
Water Conservation – the CSU has already exceeded the 2016 water conservation goal of reducing water use by 10% and is on track to meet the 2020 goal of reducing water use by 20%. This will be achieved through campus projects including behavior change, landscaping changes and plumbing fixture changes.
Integration of Sustainability into the Academic Curriculum – the Board policy called for the integration of sustainability into campus academic curriculum within the scope of the normal consultative process. The campuses have embraced this call in many different forms including the Campus as a Living Lab (CALL) initiative, creation of institutes and centers engaged in sustainability studies, and creation of sustainability minors and pathways through general education.
The Chancellor’s Office is currently working to create achievement goals for a system sustainable procurement policy and on methods to collect data regarding campus sustainable food purchasing.
In closing, it would be remiss of me not to mention a current event topic that has received a lot of recent discussion: the possible impact of policy changes the next federal administration will usher in. Representatives at the California state level and the CSU Chancellor have made statements regarding the position of the state and the CSU system in response to possible detrimental aspects of these campaign-promised policy changes. In an open letter to the entire CSU community, Chancellor White stated that “diversity and inclusivity – in all its forms – are core values of the California State University.”
My full reports on Board of Trustee meetings can be found at: http://www.calstate.edu/AcadSen/Records/Faculty_Trustee