The CSU is cognizant of its responsibility to serve as a guardian of the state’s natural resources—not only as a consumer of these resources but also as an institutional leader. This report describes the different means through which the CSU has integrated sustainability across all campuses. The CSU campuses have committed to sustainability initiatives such as the Presidents’ Climate Commitment, the international higher education-sponsored Talloires Declaration, and have also joined associations and voluntary green programs. Sustainability and related fields of study are offered as undergraduate majors as well as graduate degree programs to prepare the next generation of environmental leaders.
The CSU campuses have adopted creative measures to incorporate sustainability in their everyday operations. The broad scope of green initiatives CSU campuses have committed to are closely aligned with the statewide Integrated Energy Policy which includes energy efficiency, water conservation, alternative transportation, local food options, recycling/waste reduction, green outreach/community action, green building/sustainable design and renewable energy.
The CSU has adopted renewable energy generation to help achieve energy independence for its campuses. California is required to reduce its carbon emissions to 80 percent of its 1990 levels by 2050. As electric power generation accounts for 22 percent of California’s carbon emissions, the CSU is utilizing renewable power generation to achieve a reduction in its carbon emissions. Currently 23 percent of the CSU’s electric power is from renewable sources.
The CSU Board of Trustees has set a goal for the CSU to double its on-campus renewable generation by 2014, and the CSU is well on its way to exceed this target. In 2005, the CSU partnered with the Department of General Services to lead a statewide effort to install solar-powered generation systems on university campuses and state facilities. This is expected to offset an amount of carbon dioxide that is equivalent to removing nearly 1,200 cars from the road annually or providing annual electricity for 800 homes.
Students play a key role in the design and implementation of various innovative “green” initiatives that not only raise environmental awareness in the local community, but also ensure that graduates will join the community tomorrow with a deeper understanding of sustainability and an increased environmental sensibility. Key examples of the latter are Chico’s annual “This Way to Sustainability” conference, the nation’s largest student-run conference focusing on sustainability, and Humboldt State University students’ creation of a fee to fund student-led energy efficiency projects.
Community education and action is a key component of the CSU’s mission to raise environmental awareness on a local and regional level. The CSU offers specialized centers for community use, such as Cal Poly Pomona’s AGRIscapes, which integrates farming and urban landscaping practices that are sustainable, environmentally beneficial, economically viable and technologically sound. San Francisco State University’s Industrial Assessment Center provides small- and medium-sized manufacturers with free assessments of their plant's energy, waste and productivity efficiency, and offers recommendations for improvements.
The CSU will continue to meet the sustainability challenges of the 21st century using creative and feasible solutions that can be adopted across its campuses.