Environmental Club in San Jose

Discussion and action on sustainability with the I THINK program at SJSU

Campus Sustainability September 26, 2007

Campus Sustainability Strategy Meeting Report

September 12, 2007

Goals

The goal of this meeting was to start a dialogue with all interested parties about the current state of sustainability on campus and our potential next steps.

Overview

  • Sustainability is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
  • Education doesn’t stop in the classroom, every part of campus holds opportunities for learning, from the landscaping, to the dining halls, and even the buildings themselves.
  • Collaboration between students, staff, faculty, and administration is the key to success.
  • Summary of past accomplishments at SJSU
    • In 2004 many buildings were retrofit with new fluorescent light technology, yielding $600,000 in annual savings.
    • Recycled water is currently used on South Campus for irrigation and in the athletic facilities.
    • The 2006 waste diversion rate was 59.2%, well above the required 50%.
    • Global Climate Change, a new 9-unit Upper Division GE course, focuses on the social, environmental, and economic effects of climate change.
    • Last year a dedicated group of students put together the first annual Sustainability Week, which raised awareness about current environmental and social issues.
  • Campus Sustainability Strategy Meeting Presentation

Sustainability Fund Project

The Environmental Resource Center (ERC) and the Environmental Club are collaborating on a project to create a sustainability fund through a student fee referendum of $2 or $3 per student per semester. A Sustainability Action Plan will be created through a collaborative process, and would be used as a guiding document by a Sustainability Council, who would be the body in charge of distributing the funds. The fee referendum should go to student vote near the end of the spring 2008 semester.

Interactive Discussion

The main portion of the meeting consisted of small group discussions where everyone shared ideas about campus sustainability. We discussed the existing obstacles and possible solutions to making our campus more sustainable. Obstacles:

  • Our culture, difficulty of changing habits
  • Lack of awareness in the campus community
  • Driving cars everywhere, transportation
  • Too much waste is generated, particularly paper
  • Inefficient energy use
  • Communication on Campus; linking students, faculty, facilities and administration
  • Funding- initial costs high
  • Making things easy, workable
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Space on campus for recycling, and other projects
  • SJSU is decentralized, every department controls itself

 Solutions:

  • Awareness
    • Educate faculty, so they can incorporate sustainability into their lesson plans
    • Making a sustainability website where the campus community can join in on discussions and post events.
    • Using Spartan daily to regularly inform the campus about our progress in sustainable activities.
    • Get students involved with high profile projects
    • Competitions for Dorm floors: recycling, energy conservation…etc.
  • Environmental consultant, or paid Sustainability Coordinator with the money from the Student Fee Initiative
  • Funding:
    • Student fees
    • State funding, legislation for CSU’s
    • Possible corporate donation and funding
  • Amending the Master Plan, and working with the planning committee on the Strategic Plan 2010, and 2015
    • Combine the Strategic Plan and the Master plan into one document to simplify the planning process.
  • Include native plants on campus to limit water consumption, and change the cultural understanding of beauty.
  • Serve more local and organic food in the dining areas, along with education about the health, environmental, and social impacts of food choices.
  • Transportation on Campus
    • Encourage biking by having bikes students can rent with their tower card. Paint them blue and gold (our colors), and have more bikes racks in front of each building.
    • Allocate space on campus for lockers for students. Carrying big projects and being able to store stuff might limit their need to drive to campus, and encourage mass transit, or biking.
  • Recycling
    • Bins in every class room, more paper and plastic recycling on campus
    • Educating people about the importance of recycling.
    •  Encouraging people to bring their own drink containers to campus.
  • Procurement
    • Every department buys their paper and office needs separately. If we centralized and bought large quantities we could get large reams of recycled content paper at a huge discount.
    • Allocate a fund, from the fee initiative, to make up the cost difference for buying more environmentally friendly products, over the cheaper version.

 To join the SJSU Sustainability List Serv, visit http://lists.sjsu.edu/mailman/listinfo/sustainability 

For more info, contact Julia Kamoroff, 707.354.1272, info@sjsuenvclub.org

 

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