CSU, Chico News

Student Sustainability Programs Earn Statewide Recognition

Date: 06-02-2014

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs
Eli Goodsell, Sustainability Coordinator
Associated Students

The Associated Students (AS) at California State University, Chico has been selected for two best practice awards from the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference.

AS Dining Services and the student-run Green Events Consulting Team were recognized in the 2014 Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Best Practice Awards’ Sustainable Food Service and Student Sustainability Program categories, respectively.

In its 10th year, the awards recognize innovations in sustainability among the CSU and UC campuses. Winners are published in a collection that serves as a model for other universities.

CSU, Chico’s Dining Services operates several coffee and convenience stores and the Marketplace Café. Recently, the program has increased its marketing efforts and forged relationships with local sustainable food vendors to meet a growing demand for sustainable food. The Chico State Wildcat Store offers an array of local, fair-trade and organic products, and the Marketplace Café offers a “local lunch” made with at least 50 percent locally produced ingredients. Campus dining facilities also have an impressive waste diversion rate of 85 percent.

Also run by the AS, the Green Events Consulting Team provides planning assistance to improve the sustainability of campus events. Working closely with AS Conference Services, the team offers custom workshops, guidance on waste sorting during events, and post-event sustainability evaluations. It also offers its own best practices in a publically available green event guide. To date, 40,000 pounds of waste have been diverted from landfills by the team, and more than 100 zero-waste events have been executed, said Eli Goodsell, AS sustainability coordinator.

“I’m extremely proud of both awards we’re receiving,” said Goodsell. “I’d give 95 to 100 percent of the credit to the students who work diligently on these projects. Grace Kerfoot, our sustainability dining coordinator, was integral in moving forward our sustainable food purchasing, and Courtney Silver, green events coordinator, founded the team a few years ago and brought it to what it was today. I help manage them, but they’re the ones that push these initiatives forward.”

AS Sustainability and AS Dining Services staff and student coordinators will attend the conference June 16-19 in San Diego, where the awards will be presented.

The California Higher Education Sustainability Conference is an annual event highlighting research and successes in curriculum development, operational programs and community partnerships. It is organized by independent and private colleges and the state’s three public higher education systems: California Community Colleges, California State University and the University of California.

CSU, Chico’s Associated Students is a campus auxiliary serving students, faculty, staff and community members. It operates the Chico State Wildcat Store, Dining Services, the student union and student government. The AS Sustainability program offers internships, paid staff positions and volunteer opportunities for students. Learn more at www.aschico.edu.