Sustainability is a crucial step to the success of a college campus. In a large community where students are constantly hustling around, it is easy to forget the importance of a system to remain diverse and productive.
In order to be a proactive campus, Sonoma State University’s Director of Sustainability Paul Draper has organized Sustainability Day, which will be held on Wednesday in the Student Center and Seawolf Plaza. The event is aimed toward inspiring, engaging, and informing students with programs centered around what Sonoma State is doing to be sustainable.
“There’s so much sustainability going on on this campus, and so many people doing it. Student leaders, faculty, Residential and Student Life, dining, housing, and facilities,” Draper said.
The day will feature guest speaker David W. Orr, a professor of environmental studies at Oberlin College. Orr sees climate change as not a tactical issue but an existential issue.
While on campus for a few days, Orr will also be meeting with school deans, the Sustainability Executive Committee and the Students for Sustainability Club.
Sonoma State alum Geof Syphers will also be speaking about his non-profit agency “Sonoma Clean Power”, which in a short period of time is producing a huge amount of Sonoma County’s electrical power without the use of fossil fuels, eliminating over 54,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air.
They will be discussing topics such as climate change, specifically the Keystone Pipeline controversy and renewable energy. All events are open and free to the campus community.
The day will be concluding with Sustainability Champions Recognition at 4 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom, followed by a sustainability fair in Seawolf Plaza where there will be live music featuring a musician plays a collapsable cello that runs off an amplifier fueled by bicycle-generated energy.
“So many people are pitching in to make the campus more sustainable and to teach students about climate change, environmental policy and planning, internships and service learning and courses,” said Draper.
According to Draper, in the last two years Sonoma State has added 10 new classes to a list that now totals over 70 classes that teach a wide range of sustainability topics, from physics to geography, environmental planning, math, biology, and even a philosophy course on the ethics of water use.
In addition to this, the university has installed new grasses that take far less water and placed water bottle refilling stations across campus, preventing thousands of empty water bottles out of the waste stream. Soon, the university will be implementing electric vehicle charging stations.
In residential halls, the university encourages students to take shorter showers by giving each person a designated shower timer.
Culinary Services promotes sustainability by buying fruits and vegetables from local food producers whenever possible in order to support the community. By doing this, it avoids driving long distances to transport the food.
The operation extends to composting food waste and using only recyclable plates, napkins, and cutlery in W+B, Sip, and Lobos.
“Having worked in Culinary and taken environmental studies classes, I can definitely tell that the school is making its best efforts towards making this a sustainable campus,” said Sophomore biology major Irina Zhuravskaya.
“I’m excited because as a campus we are moving in the right direction, and Sustainability Day is one way we are raising awareness and inviting more and more people on campus to do one thing today to stem the tide of climate change,” Draper said.
Sustainabilty Day is tomorrow with events in the Student Center and Seawolf Plaza.