We are sustainability: Defining a legacy

Dear Editor, friends at the STAR and campus community,

What is “sustainability”? Is it simply something for “hippie folks” or something for “Zuckerberg”-like “green” entrepreneurs?  Perhaps it is a theoretical framework for addressing climate change and the human relationship with environment?

Maybe it’s a spiritual “way” of seeing, feeling, living and doing in the world; could it be all, some or none of these? These definitions in our culturally-scaffolded contexts on campus, at home and in life simply don’t fit from time to time.

A lot of the time, we can’t rely on one single definition, but instead we choose to strategically adapt operational models to fit the “shoe” so to speak. The argument is this really isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. But what thought process informs that? 

Here’s one of the many insights we can choose to rely on; whether cast as a frame of epistemology, a subsistence strategy, a philosophy, a social or ethical value, a pedagogical approach, a way of doing stuff simply, a trick of the trade or anything else for that incredibly diverse matter.

Sustainability does look, feel, function, structure and change differently for people in different sociocultural contexts. So it begs the question; what is our “sociocultural context” or “scene” of sustainability at SSU and who is part of it?

Where do we see it and perceive it most? Where do we miss what’s happening? What ends does it serve? So what, who cares and why should I spend my precious time on this?

We write you to celebrate Sustainability Day today. 

This meaningful day in campus history will be a very special occasion that could not be possible without the incredible amount of team effort, collaboration and planning that has brought so many campus community members together in making a sustainable Sonoma State University by “Doing One Thing Today” on campus.

To students; take 20 minutes out of your day; come out to the beautiful Green Music Center today. Be a part of the scene. Check out all the fantastic things people are doing to be and do sustainability and discover a part of SSU language and culture that will no longer rest beneath the surface of the campus.

From a bountiful campus garden classroom grown from a parking lot, the installation of water bottle refilling stations, to the Nomachella and Sauvapalooza nights on the Sauv Green advertised by salvaged televisions, and repurposed pallets, our campus has come together in the past and created a meaningful, unique experience founded in innovative concepts of a sustainable SSU.

With a tremendous amount of support from the university, we—Students for Sustainability—are working toward sustainable vision of the college experience in engaging, informed and passionate ways.

We possess the responsibility and the past experience necessary to define SSU not just as a beautiful campus with a fancy Student Center, but also as a student body that exemplifies the sustained commitment to stewarding a generative culture, ecology and economy at our university, in our communities and in ourselves.

 Come see what this looks like at SSU as of right now and how doing one thing today really can bring us together as a university and create a lasting tradition of sustainably cultivating Lux mentis Lux orbis.

Yours in community,

- Tomio Endo, Students for Sustainability, Sonoma State University