Public Affairs

Students and Carbon Footprints

April 15, 2011
By Stephanie Thara

CSU students serve as campus ambassadors when it comes to reducing each university’s ecological footprint. Along with administrative efforts to be green, such as maintaining sustainable building operations and constructing LEED-certified facilities, student-led initiatives are the key components in how CSU campuses stay sustainable.

The CSU prides itself on matriculating students with drive and ambition who want to make a difference in the world. These students tap their creativity and knowledge to create initiatives that help campuses work toward a greener future. Some innovative ideas for keeping campuses sustainable include:

Take Back the TapTake Back the Tap: Chico State’s Associated Students Inc. is educating the campus community about the hazards of buying bottled water and encouraging students to drink tap water. After successfully getting the university to retrofit four drinking fountains on campus, the Take Back the Tap campaign promoted the use of the retrofitted fountains and reusable water containers, educated the public about bottled water issues, and provided students with discounted stainless steel bottles.

Waterless Urinal Experiment: Cal State Fullerton’s Associated Students Inc. has created programs and services to make wise use of natural resources. Recently, the Titan Student Union's Courtyard Men's Restroom was equipped with four water-free urinals (each of which is expected to save 15,000 to 20,000 gallons of water annually). This equipment switch-out may be expanded to additional restrooms in the student union if the trial is successful.

Community Salad Bowl Garden Project: The student-driven Slow Food chapter at Sonoma State University is continuously enlisting students to help maintain andCommunity Salad Bowl Garden Project improve the organization’s plot in the SSU organic garden, with the hopes of catalyzing a cultural shift toward a sustainable food system.

Additionally, programs such as The Green Campus Program and Greenovation lead the CSU on the road toward sustainable development.

The Green Campus Program is a student-led initiative that encourages Green Campus Interns and CSU staff to research and implement energy-efficiency best practices. Chico, Fullerton, Humboldt, Long Beach, Pomona, San Luis Obispo, San Bernardino and San Diego currently host the program.

The Greenovation Fund has been established by the California State Student Association (CSSA) as a resource to fund student-led sustainability projects, initiatives, campaigns and events at CSU campuses.  Recently, CSSA approved $8,500 for 10 projects taking place on nine CSU campuses – Channel Islands, Dominguez Hills, Long Beach, Northridge, Pomona, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo and Sonoma.