Electric bicycles spark curiosity at 2nd Annual Sustainability Day

Aimee Lastrella

Robbie Villanueva owner of EZ Green Electric Bicycles featured his eco-friendly bikes during CSUN’s sustainability event. Photo Credit: Armando Ruiz / Staff Photographer

Although the weather was unpredictable, CSUN students and staff did not let it rain in on their parade, or rather Sustainability Day on Wednesday.

“The event was wonderful,” said Sarah Johnson, 26, administrative analyst for the Institute for Sustainability and part of the event planning. “We were full and past capacity in most of our sessions. We had to turn away people and had lots of students waiting outside.”

The sessions began at 9 a.m. with green transportation exhibits in front of Manzanita Hall.

The General Motors EV1, Honda CNG and Honda Insight Hybrid were not available to peruse around as scheduled, due to the unpredictable weather on campus, Johnson said.

“The EZ Bicycles were available for their exhibit,” Johnson said. “But unfortunately, the EV1 and Honda vehicles did not make an appearance as planned. We understood though, they are priceless vehicles and with the rain there might not have been that much student traffic.”

But the electric bicycles sparked heavy interest, due to EZ Green Bicycles.

“I did not expect this kind of event with so much student interest especially on a day like this,” said David Grijalva, 20, cinema and television arts major. “I thought the weather would have made it difficult, but those electric bikes looked awesome and a lot of people showed up.”

The panel discussions sparked a lot of interest, especially with students, which Johnson said was surprising to him.

“In the first session we didn’t have time for a question and answer period,” Johnson said. “But we made sure to give more time in the second and third session, but we still ran over time and students lingered in the hallways of Manzanita Hall to ask their questions.”

Faculty also helped with the success of Sustainability Day by volunteering, Johnson added.

“I volunteered because I just want to help engage the students with the idea of sustainability,” said Randy Thomson, director of publications for University Advancement. “I’ve been coordinating with the greening team since its inception and it is important to me personally that students gain a visibility and traction with the subject of sustainability on campus.”

Many of the faculty and the rest of the volunteers were very helpful to the success of Sustainability Day, Johnson said.

“We really could not have done it without their help,” she added. “They encouraged their students to come to the event, made it part of their curriculum and they helped a lot with the open discussions and questions.”

George Franco, 20, said he was very surprised and pleased with the event and its purpose.

“It was surprisingly a good, informative and interesting event,” said the psychology major. “Its good to see CSUN taking more steps towards providing their students with an ecologically friendly atmosphere and attitude. I was particularly surprised with how many questions students really had about the topics.”

Despite the lack of exhibits and the weather students and staff said they still had fun.

“It was more entertaining than I thought it would be,” Grijalva said. “Even though I went because of my class, I am still glad I went.”

Thomson agreed.

“The purpose is all worth standing in the cold weather,” he said. “The students have questions and want to discuss sustainability. I am more than happy to help spread the sustainable message and give them an answer.”

Johnson said that overall  CSUN’s 2nd Annual Sustainability Day was a success.

“Despite the weather, I don’t think we could have asked for today to have gone any better,” she said. “It was a huge success minus the few snags. I feel that we have a lot to top for next year’s sustainability day, but we aren’t thinking about the next theme just yet.”