Some people have big footprints. CSUN has a big footprint, carbon footprint that is.
In an effort to make the CSUN campus more eco-friendly, the campus Greening Project formed the Institute of Sustainability to increase awareness of environmental issues and promote student and’ faculty involvement.
The Greening Project, facilitated by Diane P. Stephens, director of Academic Resources, was a joint effort to enforce the overall green project on campus.
The Green Core Team emerged, comprised of faculty and staff, who expressed an interest in similar environmental issues. Dr. William P. Jennings, dean of the College of Business and Economics, led the movement to get the Institute of Sustainability approved.’ The institute was enacted with three initiatives in mind.
The first initiative involved creating an institute for research of campus sustainability, the second was to assess the impact of ecological effects on campus and the third was to change the cirriculum to involve one or two general education courses on sustainability, as well as to promote interdisciplinary teaching between departments.
In addition to the initiatives, The Stakeholder Group was formed to implement a forum for students to come together with ideas and projects for campus greening efforts. This group allows students to contact the institute to find ways to get involved with projects and events on campus.
Dr. Ashwani Vasishth, the director of the Institue of Sustainability who teaches courses on sustainability and international development, realized that the earth’s climate change combined with globalization would create issues in the environment and decided to take action.
Vasishth was met with enthusiasm and support from the Office of the Provost, who approved his manifesto for a greener campus.
‘A key constraint in making the campus more sustainable was finding a way to relay the information. The biggest complaint from students was how to get involved with campus efforts,’ Vasishth said. ‘There are a hundred-thousand things we can be doing on campus, from recycling to conserving water.’
Dr. Nancy Kurland, a professor in the Department of Management, who is involved with the Institute of Sustainability and currently doing research on water and water shortages, emphasized the importance of getting involved.
Getting involved ‘is critical to the sustainability on campus, the community and the earth,’ Kurland said.
The Institute of Sustainability is funded through Academic Affairs. It has applied for grants from the EPA, and should hear back within the next month.
The National Teach-In On Global Warming, a grassroots movement that enlists the help of colleges, universities, high schools and businesses, works to engage in better solutions towards global warming. Along with the Institute of Sustainability, National Tech-In On Global Warming will host an event on campus. The event is scheduled to take place on February 5 at 10:45 a.m. in the USU Grand Salon. The event will focus on campus sustainability and climate change.
Andy Lipkis, founder and president of the TreePeople, a nonprofit organization focused on using nature to help solve ecological problems, will be the keynote speaker for the event. Additional faculty concerned with climate change issues will also take part in the event.
For more information and ways to get involved, visit blogs.csun.edu/sustainability or call the Institute of Sustainability at 677-5929.