A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
April 14, 2005 Volume 35 / Number 7



A monthly commentary on the greening of the campus by Mark Stemen and Jim Pushnik

A monthly column provides voice to celebrate the achievements of our colleagues. This month, we would like to highlight the efforts of Vice President for Business and Finance Dennis Graham, Executive Dean and Director of Facilities Planning Greg Francis, and FMS staff for integrating sustainability into the campus master plan. President Paul Zingg outlined his vision for CSU, Chico development during a recent master plan presentation, emphasizing that the plan was a reflection of our collective campus values. We were heartened to hear that. An explicit statement of sustainability in our campus master plan is one of those systematic transformations we wrote about in past columns, and we salute all involved.

April Is Earth Month
A record 62 events have been scheduled for Earth Month. We'd like to draw your attention to some of them:
  • The Green Business panel on April 19
  • Ecofest, an all-day celebration and fair on April 23
  • Riki Ott, speaking on the Exxon Valdez disaster on April 27
  • A panel presentation on revisioning education on April 26
We titled the panel presentation, "Plan B for Our University," in continuing the theme of this year's Book in Common, Plan B: Rescuing a Planet under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble. Clearly Plan A is not working, so what is Plan B for education? Please join us on April 26 at 7 pm in Glenn 212 for this important conversation. For a compete schedule of Earth Week events, go to aschico.com/recycle.

-M.S. and J.P

We will soon learn more about where we stand on campus sustainability. Since August, students, faculty, and staff have been working on a sustainability assessment of the University. Data collection is complete, and a draft of the assessment has been vetted. The assessment will be released to the public on Earth Day, April 22. Let us know if you want a copy. The night before, Thursday, April 21, we will host a presentation, “Assessing Campus Sustainability,” in Glenn 212 at 7 pm, that will explain the process we went through. The following Thursday, April 28, students will present their research projects at the Behavioral and Social Sciences Symposium at 7 pm, location TBA.

The assessment examines six indicators of sustainability: energy, water, waste, purchasing, transportation, learning, and governance. Each section explains why the indicator is important, describes what we measured, how Chico is doing, what we can learn from other campuses, and opportunities we can pursue. The assessment shows that Chico is to be commended as a leader in certain areas, while others areas need more attention. Chico State has reduced its water use by 25 percent, for example, but we have also reduced our use of public transportation. While recycling rates have increased to nearly 50 percent, one of the best results in the nation, overall waste generation has continued to increase.

Each section of the assessment concludes with a section we label “pie in the sky.” The section includes suggestions that, while not practical at the moment, are essential to achieving true sustainability. These are markers that say “This is the direction we need to go.” To be truly sustainable, for example, we need to use only renewable sources of power. We recognize that this cannot be achieved overnight, but it must remain our long-term goal if we are to set an example for the citizens of California and the nation.

Sustainably Yours,

Mark Stemen and Jim Pushnik