Associated Students Sustainability Center opens its doors for the first time

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The crowd entering the brand new Sustainability Center at CSUN for the first time during their grand opening on October 26, 2017. Photo credit: Trevor Sena

A year after breaking ground, the anticipated Associated Students Sustainability Center had it’s grand opening ceremony Oct. 26, becoming the first California State University with one.

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Associated Students President, Jonathan Goldenberg, and CSUN President, Dr. Dianne F. Harrison, cutting the ribbon during the CSUN Sustainability Center's grand opening on October 26, 2017. Photo credit: Trevor Sena

After the ribbon was cut and the doors were opened for the first time, students and faculty were able to walk through and learn about the features and resources the estimated $4.7 million facility offers.

The 10,000 square feet center is zero net energy. Using photovoltaic panels to convert light into electricity, uses solar heated water for sinks and showers, has three composting toilets that require less than ½ cup of water per flush, glazed windows that allow light in but not heat, a water recycling and irrigation system that uses close to zero water, reused furniture and was built almost entirely from reusable materials.

“With today’s environment and our current administration withdrawing from the Paris accords, it is now incumbent upon us more than ever… that we maintain a solid commitment to sustainability,” CSUN President Dianne Harrison said. “[The Sustainability center] is a testaments to CSUN’s institutional commitment to the issues of sustainability, resiliency and the tradition of partnership and collaboration on our campus.”

This center is a collaboration facility for Associated Students and the Institutes for Sustainability. This center places these two departments into one area, allowing them to communicate and collaborate as one.

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The crowd waiting to enter the brand new Sustainability Center at CSUN during its grand opening on October 26, 2017. Photo credit: Trevor Sena

“So often we’re working in our own areas that we don’t know what each other are doing,” Interim Director for the Institute for Sustainability, Erica Wohldmann, said. “This will put us in the same space to really have conversations about what is it that the students want.”

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One of the many bins for plastic bottles in the recycling center located in the Sustainability Center at CSUN. Taken during the Sustainability Center's grand opening on October 26, 2017. Photo credit: Trevor Sena

The center will be the central collections location for campus recyclables, home of AS recycling, Institute for Sustainability and a focal point for the campus by providing educational programs and services related to the environment and sustainability.

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Products of the cardboard compactor in the recycling center located in the Sustainability Center at CSUN. Taken during the Sustainability Center's grand opening on October 26, 2017. Photo credit: Trevor Sena

In this facility, they will work to strengthen and expand educational programs, collaborate with departments to complete campus climate action goals and find ways to support faculty and students research projects in relation to sustainability.

“This is a change movement,” Williams Watkins, Vice President of Student Affairs said. “A movement that has to do with how can we ensure that our use of resources today don’t deny resources to those that come after us.”

California Assembly member Dante Acosta was at the ribbon cutting ceremony to acknowledge CSUN’s opening of the Sustainability center and to honor CSUN’s sustainability efforts with a certificate on behalf of the state assembly.

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Associated Students President, Jonathan Goldenberg, and CSUN President, Dr. Dianne F. Harrison, posing with Dante Acosta, CSUN alumni and member of the the California State Assembly from the 38th district, during the CSUN Sustainability Center's grand opening on October 26, 2017. Photo credit: Trevor Sena

This center will be a place for students to learn about the environment and sustainability, ask questions and apply the practices to their everyday lives.

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Aydan Scott, a fourth year geography major at CSUN, exploring a multi-function room located in the brand new Sustainability Center on campus. Taken during the Sustainability Center's grand opening on October 26, 2017. Photo credit: Trevor Sena

“There’s no planet ‘B’,” Associated Students President Jonathan Goldenberg said. “We really need to make sure that we are taking a stance and trying to create systems that allow us to have a healthy and sustainable planet for this generation, and generations to come.”