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CSUN Institute for Sustainability
Issue No. 23     |    November 7, 2016
CSUN Receives Two National Sustainability Awards
 
HACU award checkCSUN was recently awarded the Climate Leadership Award from the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and ecoAmerica's Solution Generation for our leadership in promoting awareness of climate change and sustainability. CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison is an advocate regionally and nationally on sustainability issues. She included sustainability as one of the seven planning priorities for the university and initiated a 10‐year Campus Sustainability Plan in 2013. She is also a charter signatory of Second Nature's Climate Commitment. CSUN was also recognized for our innovative closed loop food waste compost program.
 
President Harrison will use the $10,000 in award money to support the Sustainability Center and student internships at the Center. Associated Students (AS) is constructing the new 10,000 square-foot Center, the first in the CSU system, scheduled to open May 2017. The Center will be a multi-functional space, serving primarily as an expanded collections location for campus recyclables. It will also house the Institute for Sustainability and serve as a focal point for the University community for educational programs and services related to the environment and sustainability.

CSUN also received an Excellence and Innovation Award in Sustainability and Sustainable Development from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). The University won this award for incorporating sustainability into planning and administration, facilities and operations, education and curriculum, student government and life, and research and innovation. Some of the campus achievements instrumental in receiving this award were the 10-year Sustainability Plan, sustainability curriculum options, and leadership in climate adaptation and resilience on campus and in the community.
Social Equity Tree Planting in Pacoima
 
Volunteers planting treesAs part of the Social Equity Tree Planting Grant awarded to the Institute for Sustainability from California ReLeaf, 55 trees were planted on the Vaughn Next Century Learning Center G3 campus in Pacoima. All work done has been coordinated by the Institute with volunteers from the Sustainability minor faculty, CSUN’s CDSC, and V.I.S.A High School students. Over the course of six Saturdays, hundreds of volunteers have trenched for a watering system, dug tree wells, installed irrigation, and planted trees on the elementary school campus.

A Community Tree Planting event was held on Saturday, October 29th with over 150 community members, parents, students, and volunteers. Families and volunteers were guided by CSUN and high school student volunteers. Grid Alternatives, the US Forest Service, City Plants and the Institute had resource tables during the event. Families took home free trees, shower heads and LED light bulbs, signed up for free solar installations, and children painted rocks and explored the fire truck with Smokey the Bear and Woodsy Owl.

The tree planting will have long-term positive effects including lowering greenhouse gases, reducing area temperatures covered by the tree canopy, and providing green spaces for the elementary school children.
Institute Trains Teachers on Sustainability Education
 
Teacher training workshopThe Institute held two workshops in October to train K-12 teachers on integrating sustainability-based curriculum in their classrooms. The workshops were the first in a series that will be given throughout the 2016-17 academic year as part of the Community Partnership grant with LADWP. The workshops, led by Dr. Helen Cox, Dr. Loraine Lundquist (Sustainability), Dr. Matthew d'Alessio (Geologic Sciences), and Dr. Susan Belgrad (Education) focused on energy curriculum using problem-based learning. Teachers learned hands-on exercises using kill-a-watt meters to test the electrical usage of different appliances and experimented with Snap Circuit kits using alternative energy sources to light up an LED bulb. The teachers had a great time with all of the activities and had positive feedback about the training.

All curriculum being taught meets Next Generation Science Standards and is grade level specific. We are working with 36 teachers from 18 schools across Los Angeles over the next year to increase sustainability knowledge in grade school students and their families. Teachers will also attend a water curriculum training in January and will be taking their classes on field trips to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Discovery Cube Los Angeles, and the LA CleanTech Incubator to further engage their students. At the end of the school year, the Institute will host a culminating event at CSUN to showcase all of the student projects and recognize their efforts.
Student Spotlight: Marissa Ibarra
 
Darien SiguenzaMarissa Ibarra is currently obtaining a master's degree in Chicana and Chicano Studies, where her studies and thesis are focused on environmental diversity in the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). She has been instrumental in creating a dialogue between the USFS and CSUN’s Chicana and Chicano Studies department in an effort to increase the workforce diversity in the USFS. In her role as the Car-less California Manager for the USFS, she is working to increase access to federal lands for those that do not have a vehicle. Her latest pilot, the Chantry Flats Shuttle, aimed to reduce car traffic and connect visitors to the popular San Gabriel Mountains in a more engaging, convenient, and environmentally friendly way.

As an undergraduate at CSU Chico, Marissa first connected with the USFS as a volunteer. She later became a Social Science Trainee through an internship, which eventually led to her current full-time position.

Marissa recommends that current students or recent graduates interested in working with the US Forest Service or National Park Service apply directly for positions on the USA Jobs Pathways website or seek volunteer opportunities locally through the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument by contacting Chris Fabbro.
Sustainability Day Draws Large Audience
 
Sustainability Day audienceOver 600 people attended the Institute's ninth annual Sustainability Day event that took place October 19th. Approximately 21 professors brought their classes or offered extra credit for students to attend the symposium that featured presentations, a film screening, and outreach tables. The event was co-sponsored by the University Student Union.

The day opened with CSUN Geography professor Amalie Orme and Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics assistant professor Sami Maalouf discussing the state of water in California and options for dealing with the drought. “It’s up to us,” Maalouf told the audience. “It starts with me, it starts with us.”

In the second session, Cole Hershkowitz, founder and CEO of Chai Energy, shared his experience developing the company, a free mobile app empowering people with the tools to make better energy choices. The app collects home energy data, providing information to residents about where their energy use is coming from, which allows people to change their behavior to reduce energy costs. Kiana Lucero, Institute Project Coordinator, presented residential energy and water conservation strategies and rebates available through LADWP. Free low-flow shower heads, LED light bulbs, and sink aerators were also distributed.

Approximately 90 people were captivated by the documentary, A Fierce Green Fire, which illustrates the history of the environmental movement, spanning fifty years from conservation to climate change. The film highlights key players and events in the movement including David Brower and the Sierra Club’s battle to halt dams in the Grand Canyon, Lois Gibbs and Love Canal residents’ struggle against 20,000 tons of toxic chemicals, and Bill McKibben and the 25-year effort to address climate change. Students left with a call to action, encouraging them to be the change agents of the future.

Fabian Gonzalez from the U.S. Forest Service and Vanessa Torres from the National Park Service concluded the event with an inspiring discussion encouraging students to immerse themselves in nature. They discussed barriers Latinos face in accessing the great outdoors and initiatives that community members can take to access and sustain healthy relationships with nature. Gonzalez and Torres shared their personal experiences working for the agencies and encouraged students to consider careers with the Forest Service and Park Service. This session co-sponsored by the Civil Discourse and Social Change program.

Photo credit: Morgan Spadone
Innovate LA event

Clothing and Food Drive


November 7-16
Collection bin locations:

-Sierra Hall (1st floor)
-USU Welcome Desk
  (Sol Center)
-Bayramian Hall 
-Residential Life
  (Community Center)
-Matador Involvement Center

The 8th annual Campus Clothing and Food Drive is sponsored by Unified We Serve. All proceeds will benefit MEND, a non-profit organization serving families in need.

More info
Matadors for Sustainable Living

Sustainable Living Event


Tuesday, November 15
10am-2pm
Matador Square

(by farmers market)


Campus departments and organizations will share info on how to be sustainable in our daily lives including transportation, education, food, carbon footprint and purchase power.

Stop by the Institute table to learn about our programs and the Sustainability minor.
Native plants

Sustainable Lawn Alternatives Workshop


Thursday, December 7th
12:30 - 1:30 pm
Oviatt Library, room 16
Register here

California’s water supply continues to dwindle. It is in our best interest environmentally and economically to reconsider how we landscape our homes and communities.
-Learn the best way to prepare your existing lawn
-Discuss irrigation systems, plant types, and available rebates

LADWP StudentsFollow us on Social Media!
 
Follow the Institute for Sustainability on your favorite social media outlets to stay up-to-date with the latest sustainability news, events, and stories. Connect with @sustainCSUN on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.

Post something sustainable happening on campus or in the community, tag us @sustainCSUN and use #sustainCSUN and we can share your post!
Mailing address:
Institute for Sustainability
18111 Nordhoff Street
Santa Susana Hall 116
Northridge, CA 91330-8444

Phone: (818) 677-7710
Email: sustainability@csun.edu
  
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