A Sustainable Campus

In an effort to fight fossil fuel waste, the University Farm initiated applied research into an advanced seed-to-feed growing station where students grow sustenance for organic dairy cows onsite in less than six days, reducing the need to freight in feed and shrinking the farm’s carbon footprint. As the first University-based organic dairy program in the West, the Organic Dairy Unit now celebrates 10 years of organic, pasture-based production where students such as animal science major Danielle Collier are charged with all aspects of day-to-day operations. Its 80 Jersey-cross cows are milked in a seasonal, intensive grazing system—which helped drive the Farm’s No. 1 national ranking for sustainability by College Values Online.

We rank No. 31 on the Sierra Club’s Cool Schools list of sustainable colleges and universities—the highest of any CSU, with top scores in purchasing, academics, and waste.

Students living in our residence halls continue to set a national standard for energy savings, by turning off lights, unplugging devices, and adjusting thermostats. The savings in the Wildcat Sustainability Showdown inch higher every year, from 12.7 percent the first year to 25.9 percent in 2015, placing Chico State in the top 10 nationally and first among competing CSUs.

trophy sits in front of Kendall Hall
Two students in safety glasses examine equipment with filtration seedlings in the foreground

A team of students was one of seven in California selected for a US Environmental Protection Agency grant to develop innovative, sustainable products. The six students are researching and refining sustainable biofiltration technology for small urban areas. Using Chico as the staging ground for their research, the students are developing green methods for filtering urban storm water runoff to reduce the impact of sediments, pesticides, metals, and other pollutants on local aquatic ecosystems.

The Sustainability Studies Pathway in General Education gives undergraduates a multidisciplinary look at environmental issues and the needed skills to enter the workforce and public life as socially responsible and environmentally minded citizens.

In 2016, Facilities Management and Services completed installation of 35 water-bottle filling fountains in buildings across campus to reduce plastic waste and the need for single-use bottles.

Group photo of the Windcats team smiling and holding their trophy

An interdisciplinary student team developed a plan to power rural schools in India using wind turbines
a concept so well-executed that the WindCats were awarded first place in the deployment strategy category at the US Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition. The students’ effort was so successful that they are looking to turn their school project into a real-world game changer.

Child posing with a This Way to Sustainability sign

We host the nation’s largest student-run sustainability conference of its kind every year. This Way to Sustainability brings together students, faculty, staff, community members, and public officials to explore ways toward a sustainable future.