Sonoma State University will commit itself to a higher standard when President Judy Sakaki signs the “President’s Climate and Leadership Commitment” on Friday, April 5, at 8:30 a.m.
Signing this commitment demonstrates Sonoma State’s adherence towards building a sustainable and resilient campus. The sustainability commitment began in 2006 via Second Nature and has taken off ever since with many universities signing the commitment since.
“The success and the support [the commitment] has been getting has caused more universities to see this as a good blueprint for many of the sustainability initiatives they are already getting,” said Paul Gullixson, Sonoma State’s spokesperson.
Signing this commitment is not Sonoma State’s first step towards better sustainability. Almost 80 classes offered at Sonoma State practice sustainability within their course work.
Sonoma State has been considering signing this commitment for a few years, but with Judy Sakaki taking the President’s office in 2016, it began coming into fruition.
“That is not to say that we haven’t been doing stuff. This is sort of a natural progression as many of the things in the commitment we have already been working on and doing in terms of sustainability and resiliency,” Gullixson said.
President Sakaki and her new cabinet have been consciously aware of making Sonoma State known as a campus that recognizes the changing dynamics of our current climate. “We want to be more a part of the solution than the problem,” Gullixson said.
Everybody talks about being greener, but singing this commitment verifies it and makes it aware to the campus community that Sonoma State cares.
“We are on our way to becoming a national model for sustainable practices, and we are doing it together,” President Sakaki said.
Renovations of Darwin and Salazar Hall, as well as the Recreation Center, exceeded Title 24 energy efficiency requirements by 40 percent, 40 percent, and 54 percent respectively. Those renovations happened years ago, starting Sonoma State’s trend of sustainability.
“I am excited and proud that we are making a campus-wide commitment to become an even ‘greener’ campus,” said Sakaki.
The President was the driving force in signing the commitment, but others were involved throughout the process. “It is important to note even though it is the President’s commitment, this is something that has been endorsed by the Academic Senate and the Associated Students,” Gullixson said.
The university will be integrating even more sustainability towards research and courses. They will be committing themselves by writing a Climate Action Plan by year three that will include deciding on a date to attain complete carbon neutrality. They will also start a baseline inventory of the carbon footprint on campus after year one.
“They are committed to moving our sustainability values forward,” said Joyce Lopez, Chief Financial Officer at Sonoma State, “I look forward to working with these terrific leaders towards fulfilling this commitment.”
Sonoma State Universities student body President Carley Chatterley emphasized that students have long engaged in making the campus more sustainable. “We are proud that our own university is stepping up its leadership in this critical area with the signing of the President’s Climate Leadership Commitment,” she said.w
The singing ceremony begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Seawolf Plaza on Friday, April 5. There will be coffee and refreshments with the conference beginning immediately after.