CSU, Chico News

California State University, Chico Wins Grand Prize for Fighting Global Warming

Date: 04-16-2007

Joe Wills
Public Affairs
Jennifer Fournell
National Wildlife Federation

Top Winner of National Wildlife Federation’s Nationwide Chill Out Contest

Embargoed Until April 17

California State University, Chico has been awarded the grand prize in the National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology Chill Out contest. The competition recognizes colleges and universities around the country which are implementing innovative programs to reduce global warming pollution, the biggest environmental threat facing the nation. CSU, Chico was selected as the grand prize winner from over 100 competition entries received from colleges nationwide.

"Colleges and universities are key places for demonstrating how to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the major culprit of global warming," said Julian Keniry, Director of Campus and Community Leadership for the National Wildlife Federation. "If every campus, business and organization in the country followed Chico’s example, we would quickly lick the global warming problem. The students and faculty there have demonstrated leadership in promoting renewable energy options both on campus and throughout the surrounding community."

"We are honored to be selected by the National Wildlife Federation for a prize in this competition," said CSU, Chico President Paul Zingg. "Reducing climate impact is a day-to-day, person-to-person priority at Chico State. On many fronts, students, faculty, staff and community members are collaborating on projects that effectively move us towards a healthier, more sustainable environment."

CSU, Chico received the top prize for its overall "lead by example" model of doing business. In December 2006, CSU, Chico President Paul Zingg signed the American College and University President Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), which calls on campuses to work towards climate neutrality. In addition, the University has committed to focusing on institutionalizing sustainability into the education of students. Two buildings on campus are registered with the U.S. Green Building Council, and all new buildings constructed will meet the Council’s standards for environmentally sustainable construction. A 300 kilowatt solar panel was installed on two campus rooftops. Students have taken the lead to promote sustainability on campus by creating a student fee to fund sustainability projects, retrofitting a residence hall, networking with the Chico community to create sustainability service-learning programs, and installing energy-saving software on computers.

For these impressive efforts, CSU, Chico will be featured in an Earth Day Chill Out webcast by the National Wildlife Federation Wednesday, April 18, broadcast live at 3 p.m. EST/noon PST from George Washington University in Washington DC. The webcast includes videos of each winning school’s project and a taped address from Al Gore. The webcast will be part of global warming events scheduled on over 100 college campuses throughout the nation.

Chico will receive a $1,000 grant from the National Wildlife Federation to continue innovating global warming solutions. The campus also will get a special screening of An Inconvenient Truth, the Oscar-winning documentary wakeup-call film about the threats of global warming, in their campus theater.

The University of California, Santa Barbara was also recognized in the competition for its efforts to reduce global warming by implementing a "Campus Climate Neutral" project which promotes energy conservation. Other schools recognized in the competition for their efforts to reduce global warming are Mount Wachusett Community College, Gardner, Massachusetts; Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey; Richard Stockton College, Somers Point, New Jersey; and Oregon Institute of Technology, Klamath Falls, Oregon.

The National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology Program has been an integral part of the campus greening movement since 1989. The nation’s 4,100 colleges and universities educate more than 15 million students in any given year, making these schools important laboratories for creativity and innovation – keys to tackling a monumental crisis like global warming.

The National Wildlife Federation is America’s conservation organization protecting wildlife for our children’s future.