Green changes on campus

Dressed in a tie-dyed T-shirt, junior Abraham Arce, 22, a creative writing major, hides out from the rain in the Freudian Sip.

Today was a disappointment; they were out of his usual order of hot chocolate and a chocolate croissant.  So he had to settle for the chocolate-chip muffin and hot chocolate.
As he waited for his friend to clock out of her shift he read, “Girl with Curious Hair,” a short story compilation.

Arce is a supporter of all the eco-friendly changes around campus and plans on bringing his own hot chocolate mug to save on to-go cups.

“Green is good,” he said.

In the fall semester of 2009, the Freudian Sip saw changes that made it more eco-friendly.

The coffee shop has opted to use cups that contain no Bisphenol A remnants, more commonly known as BPA.  These new cups are now made from paper and come in two different containers, one for hot beverages, and the other for cold.

The Associate Director of Campus Dining at The University Corporation (TUC), Betsy Corrigan, said students should not be worried that a significant portion of their tuition costs goes toward products like these.

For the moment, prices to support the changes have not risen.  The only price increase is when someone orders food “to go,” which costs an extra ten cents for the packaging.

“Going green doesn’t always equate to increased costs,” Corrigan said.  “TUC’s goal is to deliver quality food at reasonable prices. That said, TUC partners with prime vendors to utilize best purchasing practices, which assists in keeping costs down. Some organic products are available and can come with a higher price.”

The Freudian Sip’s Bring Your Own Cup program allows students to save 15 cents when they bring a reusable container.

“This is a win-win program since it gives back to the conscientious buyer and supports the green message,” Corrigan said.

CSUN student Robin Smith works at the Freudian Sip at the Sierra Center and shares Corrigan’s excitement about the green changes.

“Right now we’re doing the best we can,” Smith said.  “For example, all of our boxes are recyclable.  Come in and bring your cup, save money and save the environment.”

There are also blue recycling bins at the doors of Arbor Grill and now Freudian Sip so students can recycle their receipts before they leave, said Abel Pacheco, president of Associated Students.

The Freudian Sip is also working with the CSUN Department of Physical Plant Management to plant the old coffee grounds in the flowerbeds around campus.  The grounds are typically used for mulching and compost building that will grow vegetables and plants quicker and healthier.

Tom Brown, the executive director and facilities manager of Physical Plant Management, said students can easily and cheaply start greening their own gardens.

“Coffee grounds and egg shells need not be decomposed any further to be directly added to a planter bed,” Brown said.  “We use everything they provide us.  They provide great nutrients and they can be taken right from coffee ground filter and put right on your planter bed. We do make the extra effort to be as sustainable as possible.”

The Matador Bookstore is now selling green books instead of blue books for testing.  “We thought it was a practical step in the right direction for the sustainability movement,” Pacheco said.  “They’re positive because generally speaking most students haven’t noticed the difference.  They feel the same, cost the same and the only difference is that it’s 30 percent recycled paper.”

The Associated Students are also taking student involvement a step further by implementing a survey during the government elections in April.

The survey will ask students if they would be willing to pay an extra $5 in their tuition to create green fund.  Other CSU campuses have a similar program to fund eco-friendly projects.

The Director of the Institute of Sustainability, Helen Cox, said CSUN will be making changes throughout the semester.

“The corporation is continuing to make the changes toward sustainability,” Cox said. “Currently within our working group, there has been greening of the campus.  The goal behind the Institute of Sustainability is to see the campus in a sustainable fashion and to cut down on our resource use.  But it’s also to see students educated about sustainability.”