Jim Pushnik, left, presented Roger Lederer with a plaque to
honor his service as the first Rawlins Chair in 2002–2003
at the environmental mixer on Sept. 16..
What Does It Mean to Make CSU, Chico a Green Campus?
We were again pleased and proud to learn that California State
University, Chico remains ranked third among master’s-level
public universities in the western United States based on the 2005
edition of America’s Best Colleges from U.S.
News & World Report. The magazine annually ranks schools
based on 15 separate criteria, including assessments by peer institutions,
class size, and selectivity. This recognition attests to our faculty’s
and administration’s commitment to providing the best quality
Believing in this commitment, we are challenging the campus to assume
leadership in achieving campus environmental sustainability. To
this end, we are acting on advice shared by David Orr, a Rawlins
Professorship distinguished invited lecturer, during his visit two
years ago. He posited that college rankings should be “based
on whether or not the institution and its graduates move the world
in a more sustainable direction.” Many at CSU, Chico want
to make this a “green campus.” What does that mean,
and what criteria would we use to tell if we were moving in the
Using the adage that “what gets measured, gets done,”
we are embarking on a campus sustainability assessment. The goal
is to quantify items ranging from energy use to waste production
to transportation. We are assessing what we buy, what we build,
and if these acquisitions are moving toward or away from sustainability.
Further, we are asking the same questions about what we teach and
how we govern.
The University has contracted Good Company, an assessment firm from
Oregon, to help us with the project. They will be working with faculty,
students, and staff to collect data on a different set of criteria,
15 indicators of sustainability. (See
www.goodcompany.com/indicators.) Good Company will then compare
our figures with best practices from universities across the nation.
Their findings will provide insights into how we are doing on indoor
air quality, for example, and include recommendations for how we
While other colleges have performed environmental assessments, CSU,
Chico is the first in the nation to do so as a service learning
project. We have asked Good Company to include students and faculty
in the process so we can learn as we go. Students in the environmental
studies program are in the process of interviewing staff on the
operations of the campus. In the spring we are asking facilities
staff to lecture in the environmental literacy seminar about “how
the University works.” We are projecting to release our sustainability
assessment in late April.
Plan B, the Book in Common for this year, has effectively
started campuswide dialogues. We are planning a series of forums
around issues raised in Plan B, and we are excited to announce
that the book’s author, Lester Brown, will be on campus Nov.
16. He will speak at 7 pm in Laxson Auditorium. The event is free
and open to the public. Brown will also meet with faculty and staff
at 4 pm. If you are interested, please contact us for more details.
— Mark Stemen, Coordinator of Environmental Studies, and
Jim Pushnik, Rawlins Chair of Environmental Literacy