Transportation focus of CSUN’s Sustainability Day

Aimee Lastrella

It’s gray outside, but this Wednesday, it is all about being green.

The CSUN Institute for Sustainability will host its second annual Sustainability Day.

“We are really excited about the event,” said Sarah Johnson, 26, an administrative analyst for the Institute of Sustainability. “We’ve been planning the event for about six months now and working with other universities who have dealt with the topic before, which is transportation.”

Campus Sustainability Day is a national movement started by the Society for College and University Planning. The society was established in 1965 and encourages the integration of urban planning in higher education, according to the Society for College and University Planning website.

Numerous sessions featured throughout the day all focus on alternative transportation and sustainable transportation technology.

The day is divided into separate sections, each focused on a certain aspect of sustainable transportation. Those sections then have numerous panelists who specialize in those areas to encourage open discussion, Johnson said.

“We’ve contacted numerous experts on our topics,” Johnson said. “We’ve also tapped in the knowledge of CSUN’s faculty and they will speak at a few of the sessions.”

Some of the sponsors for the event include the Valley Bikery and the Associated Students Environmental Affairs Committee, Johnson said.

She added some of the sessions featured are bicycling in Los Angeles, the history of transportation and vehicles, and alternative fuels with an exhibit. The documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car” will also be shown among the day’s later festivities along with a bike clinic.

“The bike clinic really intrigues me because I’m an avid bike rider,” said Andrew Skolnick, 21, urban studies major.  “Plus, I really want to know who killed the electric car by watching the documentary. I heard it was really good.”

Johnson, also added to the anticipation by revealing one exhibit the Institute for Sustainability features at the event: an Electric Vehicle version 1 (EV1) that was featured in the documentary.

“We feel that the film fit this year’s theme perfectly,” Johnson said. “It is such a powerful documentary and we hope it sparks a strong discussion.”

Fellow urban studies major Jose Tamayo, 29, said he was interested in Sustainability Day after hearing about it through word of mouth and seeing a few flyers around campus.

“I’m just curious about what the Sustainability Day has to offer,” Tamayo said. “I’ve heard about it and it’s free. I’m on campus that day, so I’m interested in going to a few sessions.”

Johnson said the Institute of Sustainability hopes for a good response in attendance.

“We actually expect full attendance, well over 400 students,” Johnson said. “We’ve invited classes to come to some of the sessions. The theater seats about 130 people, so we are expecting it to be pretty full each session.”

The one thing organizers of the Institute for Sustainability fear most about their second annual Sustainability Day is the weather.

“We are hoping it just doesn’t rain,” Johnson said. “We really don’t have plans if it does, but regardless of the weather, we hope the event will be helpful to the students and all who attend.”