Public Affairs

Creating Sustainable Leaders

April 15, 2011
By Stephanie Thara

From 1995 to 2008, jobs in the green sector increased by 36 percent in California. This is almost triple California’s total employment growth over the same period, and the CSU is at the forefront of creating jobs for the emerging "green workforce," as well as educating environmental future leaders.

In addition to creating sustainable leaders through hands-on courses, the CSU is reducing each campus’s environmental impact and carbon footprint through numerous initiatives and programs. Some efforts include:

  • During the Electronic Waste Recycling event held by the CSU Bakersfield Office of Safety and Risk Management, more than 99,000 pounds of recyclables from business, commercial interests and residents were collected and sold to a recycler.
  • CSU Channel Islands introduced a new energy and cost-savings program where computers will automatically be put into standby mode after 60 minutes of inactivity and monitors will go dark after 10 minutes of inactivity.Creating Sustainable Leaders 
  • Chico State’s composting program was featured in BioCycle Magazine after composting more than 180,000 pounds in one year.
  • CSU Dominguez Hills maintains a wireless irrigation system that uses reclaimed water and includes a weather sensor that monitors flow.
  • Cal State East Bay has introduced a Certificate in Sustainable Resource Management, available to upper-division students and for professional development.
  • Fresno State’s dining hall has gone trayless, reducing food consumption and waste by students, saving money, and decreasing the amount of water used to wash.
  • Cal State Fullerton’s Center for Sustainability has partnered with the Anaheim Center for New Energy Technologies in a joint effort to be the premier center in Southern California for research, testing and education in clean energy and water technologies.
  • Lonny Grafman, an instructor in Humboldt State’s Environmental Resources Engineering department, created the website http://www.appropedia.org, which is one of the largest Web-based collaborations of information related to sustainability and energy efficiency.
  • Greenwaste, such as tree trimmings and grass clippings, from Cal State Long Beach is taken to a facility to be shredded and used as fuel for power plants, compost and alternative daily cover at landfills.Creating Sustainable Leaders
  • In response to growing global fuel supply and price concerns, Cal State L.A. is developing a hydrogen fuel station through its Power, Energy and Transportation curriculum. 
  • The Cal Maritime Garden Club has recruited 25 cadets to assist in a campus sustainability project that recognizes the need to cultivate unused land at Cal Maritime, and plant trees and fruit as a means of giving back to the campus community.
  • At CSU Monterey Bay's 2011 commencement ceremony, students will beCreating Sustainable Leaders wearing GreenWeaver, graduation gowns sewn with material made entirely from recycled plastic bottles.
  • 2011 marks Cal State Northridge’s 2nd annual World Water Day, which informs the campus community about the importance of fresh water and issues regarding where water comes from, how it is distributed and how it is treated.
  • Cal Poly Pomona offers apparel merchandising classes where students learn new techniques for recycling established synthetics to turn today's discarded Coke bottle into tomorrow's jacket.
  • Sacramento State maintains storm, wastewater management and spill prevention programs that protect the American and Sacramento Rivers from potentially harmful constituents that can flow into the rivers as a result of campus operational activities.
  • The Water Resources Institute at Cal State San Bernardino is creating a Water Conservation Demonstration Garden that will provide water Creating Sustainable Leadersconservation education opportunities for all ages, from preschoolers to university students to community groups.
  • San Diego State plans to increase the renewable power installed on campus by more than 200 percent with the installation of additional photovoltaics systems, which convert solar radiation into direct current electricity.
  • San Francisco State has implemented “Green Cleaning,” where Campus Custodial Services do not use toxic chemicals, heavy metals in floor finishes and aerosol containers.
  • For over ten years, San José State has used recycled water to cool its central power plant and irrigate the athletic fields, saving 40 million gallons of potable water and more than $100,000 in water and chemical costs annually.
  • Cal Poly San Luis Obispo operates an integrated waste management program that includes source use reduction, recycling, composting of food waste, resale of surplus equipment and zero-waste event catering.
  • CSU San Marcos has implemented many conservation measures to increase its water efficiency, such as utilizing drought-tolerant plants and installing computerized irrigation controllers that monitor water use and detect leaks. Creating Sustainable Leaders
  • Sonoma State’s university housing purchased furniture produced by a sustainable furniture company, placed fluorescent light bulbs in table lamps and installed low-flow showerheads and toilets.
  • CSU Stanislaus hosts an annual Sustainability Fair that features speakers and activities that promote environmental solutions, human rights and social engagement as part of an effort to prepare the future workforce for a green economy.