Institute for Sustainable Development

Our Sustainable Future - CSU, Chico

Conference Connects Campus
and Community

CSU, Chico will host a free conference, Nov. 2-5

A major goal of campus sustainability efforts is engaging the greater Northern California community in this ongoing conversation about how to create a just, economically sound, and environmentally healthy society. CSU, Chico, Butte Community College, various community organizations, and individual presenters at the Nov. 2-5 This Way to Sustainability II conference have answered that call. The conference presents an ideal opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and community members to attend more than 60 unique presentations and workshops offered by individuals and organizations with far-ranging expertise.

The conference is free to both campus and community members, but space is limited at some key events, so pre-registration is suggested. For a complete conference program and to register, see

Two keynote speakers will address this year's conference. Anthony D. Cortese will present the kickoff keynote on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. in the BMU Auditorium. Dr. Cortese is the president of the nonprofit group Second Nature. The current focus of Second Nature is helping higher education move from good intentions to strategic action, and its mission is to make healthy, just, and environmentally sustainable action a foundation of all learning and practice in higher education.

A dynamic speaker, Dr. Cortese is also a co-founder of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). He formerly served as commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and was also the first dean of environmental programs at Tufts University, where he spearheaded the award-winning Tufts Environmental Literacy Institute in 1989. Dr. Cortese holds BS and MS degrees from Tufts University in civil and environmental engineering and a doctor of science degree in environmental health from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Felicity Barringer, Washington environment correspondent for The New York Times, will present her keynote address on Friday, Nov. 3 in Laxson Auditorium at 4 p.m.

CSU, Chico President Paul J. Zingg and Provost Scott McNall will host a buffet dinner for conference participants and attendees on Friday evening. Special Saturday events include an all-local organic luncheon in the BMU's Common Grounds Café ($12), and the Real Food dinner hosted by the Chico Food Network at Grilla Bites at 6 p.m. at its new Garden Villa location on Cohasset Road ($25). Pre-registration is strongly suggested for all three meals.

This year's sustainability conference also includes a regionally focused "conference within a conference" emphasizing agriculture and health issues. The fourth annual Organic Farming and Food Conference is officially scheduled for Thursday, November 2, though agriculture and organic farming sessions continue throughout the conference. (See the Web site to view the program.)

Thursday food and farming sessions include School and Community Strategies for Expanding Markets for Market Farmers and Farm to School: Farmers, Food Service and School Children Share the Benefits of Regional Agriculture. Friday includes an introduction to organic farming and sessions on organic alfalfa, pasture, and livestock production. Saturday offers a session on sustainable agriculture and also an Introduction to Farmland Preservation: What is Being Lost, Why is it Disappearing, and What is the Impact on Sustainability?

Friday kicks off with a plenary address from CSU, Chico President Paul J. Zingg and Provost Scott McNall called Sustainability and Stewardship: A Vision for the Future. The day's panel discussions include green neighborhoods and affordable housing, environmental literacy, and Pathfinders: Charting New Directions in Educating for Sustainability.

Of critical interest, especially since the California Department of Water Resources has identified the Sacramento Valley's underlying water as an "underutilized" state water resource, is sustaining the lower Tuscan aquifer. Among other Friday programs are those addressing sustainable economic development, sustainable planning and smart growth, and everyday sustainability—how small steps we all take can lead to big changes.

Saturday begins with Creating Democracy Through Sustainability, an introduction to the local work of Butte Community College and CSU, Chico with the American Democracy Project. Butte College and Chico State are one of only three teams in the country working to create this national model for civic engagement partnerships.

Other Saturday programs include Careers and Opportunities in Green Business, a panel discussion about how successful, local entrepreneurs started their green businesses; Thinking Globally: Local Decisions, Global Impacts, and Sustainable Tourism - How Enlightened Travel Supports Environments, Economies, and Just Societies. Also on Saturday are presentations on land acquisition for habitat preservation, how to restore fire resilience to Sierra Nevada forests, a phase-by-phase guide to green building and zero-energy homes.

In addition, the Northern California Natural History Museum is hosting two movies provided by the National Film Board of Canada in conjunction with the conference. These films, covering climate change and focusing on the arctic region, are Washed Away and Lords of the Arctic.


The current focus of [keynote speaker Dr. Anthony D. Cortese] is helping higher education move from good intentions to strategic action, and its mission is to make healthy, just, and environmentally sustainable action a foundation of all learning and practice in higher education.