CSU, Chico News

CSU, Chico Students Showcase Sustainability Strategies at ‘Sense of Place’

Date: 05-03-2017

Michele Chandler
Public Affairs
Nate Millard
First-Year Experience

More than 300 California State University, Chico students will participate in the Sense of Place symposium, a display of student-devised sustainability efforts, on Tuesday, May 9 from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. The event will take place in various locations across the CSU, Chico campus, and will begin and end at the University’s Colusa Hall.

Student-led panel presentations will take place from 6–7 p.m. and 7–8 p.m. Information about presentation topics, locations and times will be distributed in the foyer of Colusa Hall at 5:30 p.m. on the day of the event.

The presentations, created by students taking sustainability-related classes, will highlight the research they’ve worked on all semester, said Nate Millard, program coordinator with the University’s First-Year Experience Program, which is sponsoring Sense of Place.

“[The symposium] really helps first-year students start off their college experience focusing on sustainability, and then continuing on to be sustainable throughout the rest of their lives,” said Caylie Myhre, a senior majoring in communication design and the student lead for the event.

While related to sustainability, the students’ classes also incorporate disciplines including psychology and history.

For example, students enrolled in “Environmental Psychology” are planning to unveil a behavior–change workshop, said Millard. “In 15 to 20 minutes, they’re going to put on a workshop and try to change people’s behaviors around some environmental issue,” he said, such as convincing people of the environmental benefits of riding a bike, recycling or buying locally produced goods.

In another presentation, students from a global environmental history class will recount the environmental pasts of their hometowns, “looking at why that town is there, and how the environment shaped it,” Millard said.

Sense of Place, a biannual event that debuted in 2012, is designed to show how sustainability weaves through everyday life and spark students’ interest in enrolling in sustainability-related classes.

The evening will end with an expo in Colusa Hall from 8–8:45 p.m. featuring exhibits by environment-focused community organizations, such as the Sacramento River Preservation Trust.

CSU, Chico groups will attend and present information about what they do, including Associated Students Adventure Outings, a student-led organization that hosts year-round outdoor trips.

The expo will also offer interactive activities for students including a pledge tree, where students write steps they will take to make their lives more sustainable on a paper leaf they will attach to a tree silhouette on the wall.

“That was something that really affected me last year,” Myhre said. “Seeing everybody’s comments on those leaves was really interesting for me. Just seeing those little changes that people are recognizing is really a good first step toward making a big change.”

Students can collect stamps for each activity they complete to earn a raffle ticket entitling them to a chance to win prizes.

CSU, Chico has long been asustainability trailblazer, and as a founding signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment has committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. The University regularly receives high marks in sustainability rankings, including the Sierra Club’s latest “Cool Schools” list.