CSUN Institute for Sustainability
Issue No. 30     |    April 3, 2017
CSUN Students "Race" to Help Villagers in Nepal
Race4Good TeamRace 4 Good is a competition designed to tackle life-threatening challenges in devastated communities around the globe. Teams of 5 students and 5 business leaders come up with unique, sustainable solutions to real-life social and economic crises and develop a formal business plan to implement their solutions. A group of CSUN students is currently participating in this 21 day challenge that is focusing on providing aid to Earthquake stricken Nepal.

Ryan Robles is a Sustainability Minor who learned about Race4Good when he was looking for a project for his Applied Sustainability class. He reached out to other CSUN students and was joined by two economics majors, Vardan Kajberuni and Silvina Alfaro Hernandez, as well as two engineering students, Apekshya Bajracharya and Apekshya Khanal, both who are from Nepal. Between March 11th and 31st, each team investigated many facets of Nepalese life, from health problems to education, and even religion. Ryan and his team are focusing their efforts mainly on agriculture and water sources, using a native herb with medicinal properties to help with local health problems. They are also researching Buddhism and the Eightfold Path to Enlightenment. Ryan says he and his teammates have learned so much about this culture, and they are eager to be able to implement their plan.

At the end of the three week period, all teams must submit a five year plan detailing their strategies to bring long-term, sustainable economic and social uplift to the area of Thangdor, Nepal. The teams are working with a virtual $5,000 budget, and the winning team will have that budget turned into action as they are flown to Nepal to implement their solution on the ground. The students are being mentored by business leaders and their plans will be judged by a panel that includes Nepalese villagers.

The CSUN team is competing against teams from UCLA, USD, USC, and CSU-LA.  When Robles first started the project, he admits he was focused on winning the competition. Now that he is so invested in the area, he says he "wants the best project to win, the one that will provide the most help to the community." He explained that many traditional aid organizations show up to disaster stricken communities and drop off supplies that provide a temporary fix. However, this competition focuses more on the "teach a man to fish" philosophy. Ryan is confident in the proposal his team has put together, and says that their goal is to "give the villagers a hand-up, rather than a hand-out."

CSUN Earth Fair 2017
Earth FairAssociated Students annual Earth Fair celebration will be held on April 13th from 10 am - 3 pm on Bayramian Lawn. There will be booths, games, and vendors educating students on global and local environmental issues. This artistic and creative event aims to bring our community together by creating a unified awareness of sustainable lifestyle practices.

This year, Graduate Studies is also hosting a speaker series in conjunction with Earth Fair, which will be held in the University Student Union (USU), Northridge Center.  There will be two sessions focused on environmental issues:

At 12:30 pm, Cynthia Barnett, an award-winning environmental journalist, will give a presentation titled "Rain: A History of Stormy Times." She will discuss our ancient connection to our climate and the great rains, as well as climate change and the theme of nature as truth. Barnett is a well decorated journalist who has reported on water from the Suwannee River to Singapore. Her latest book, Rain: A Natural and Cultural History has been long-listed for the National Book Award and is a finalist for the 2016 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.

The second session will take place at 2 pm, where the film SILA and the Gatekeepers of the Arctic will be screened. This film examines the impact of global warming on a once-thriving culture, now struggling to survive on our world’s northernmost frontier. Following the screening there will be a Q & A with director and producer, Corinna Gamma, a Swiss born photographer, filmmaker, and multi-media artist who's passion is delving into the complex relationship between people and their environment. 
Faculty Spotlight: Zeynep Toker
Zeynep TokerDr. Zeynep Toker is currently serving as a member of the Institute for Sustainability transition team while the search for a new director is underway. She is helping the Institute develop a strategic plan by reviewing past achievements and identifying a vision for the future. Dr. Toker has been a part of the Green Core team since 2008, and has previously served as a Chair of the Transportation Working Group. She was a contributing author on CSUN's Sustainability Plan and has helped with many other projects on campus such as improving bicycle infrastructure, consideration of green roofs, and the production of the farmer's market.  

Zeynep's background is in urban planning and urban design.  She holds a Ph.D. in Design with specialization in Community and Environmental Design from North Carolina State University and she did post-doctoral research in Architecture at the University of Cambridge. Prior to becoming a member of the CSUN community, Dr. Toker worked on projects such as designing dynamic environments for the performing arts in Cambridge, UK and urban revitalization of downtown Mebane, North Carolina. Since joining CSUN in 2006, Zeynep has been working on projects within the surrounding local communities.

The courses that Dr. Toker teaches focus on aspects of urban form such as connectivity, density, streetscape, open space, and non-motorized transportation infrastructure. Zeynep integrates hands on urban planning problems of local communities into most courses she teaches. Students learn how to address an urban planning problem by implementing the concepts and tools covered in class using real community issues that students can relate to.

Dr. Toker's classes also have links to sustainability issues like public health, air and water quality, and community development.  Her classes are closely interconnected with the Institute's mission of education and outreach, as her course efforts often reach beyond campus to improve sustainability practices. "Urban planning problems are invariably linked to one dimension of sustainability and the solutions students prepare include some form of intervention to the urban form," says Dr. Toker. "These hands on experiences for both graduate and undergraduate students are invaluable not only because they are exposed to professional practice, but also because they connect with local communities."   
March For Science

March For ScienceThis Earth Day, people will be gathering in Los Angeles and around the world in a March for Science. This march will be used to unify the scientific community and show the current US administration the importance of scientific research. The March for Science website explains that "it is imperative that we continue to celebrate and defend science at all levels - from local schools to federal agencies." The Los Angeles march will take place April 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Pershing Square, DTLA.

Students for Science is a collaboration of CSUN students who have joined together in response to the war on science. Their goal is to teach younger generations the importance of science through fun science based activities. They will be tabling at the LA March for Science, where they will be educating the public on ways to get involved in local movements and hosting activities that promote sustainable lifestyle choices. They will also be giving a speech at the event on community involvement and grassroots organizing.  Joshua Anderson, a sustainability minor and one of the founding members of the group, explained that "most of the important changes going on today are starting at the local level."  

Students for Science will also be doing educational activities on the CSUN campus the week leading up to the march. They will have a table outside Sierra Hall April 17th-20th from 10 am to 1 pm and encourage students and faculty to come learn about their organization and various aspects of sustainability.  They will also have a table at Earth Fair to help people prepare for the march.  If you interested in attending the march, stop by their booth to get information on carpooling, public transportation and even make a poster to take to the event.  They hope to get a large group together and show the world that CSUN supports science!
LA River CleanUp

Great LA River CleanUp

April 15 | Upper River 
April 22 | Mid River
April 29 | Lower River 
9 am – 12 pm

Roll up your sleeves and show your love for the LA River! The 2017 Great LA River CleanUp is happening over 3 weekends in April. Each date has multiple locations: 

April 15: Bette Davis Picnic Area, Sepulveda Basin at Balboa Blvd, Tujunga Wash at Haines Canyon Channel
April 22: The Frog Spot, Bowtie Parcel at Fletcher Drive, Los Feliz Blvd, Arroyo Seco Confluence, Marsh Street Nature Park, Steelhead Park, Sunnynook Footbridge
April 29: Compton Creek at Artesia and Del Amo Metro Stations, Golden Shore Marine Reserve, Willow Street Estuary

Last year, 9,000 volunteers shattered records and hauled off more than 70 tons of trash. They are hoping to break that record again this year! You can read about last year's volunteer’s experience here.

Sign-up to be part of the largest urban river cleanup in the US!

Climate Fellowship

Climate Change Fellowship

Put A Price On It is a national campaign that mobilizes young people to advocate for strong and fair carbon pricing policies at the state and national level. Students will train and organize other students, rallying public support for carbon pricing policy, and engage directly with elected officials. Fellows will work closely with Our Climate and Citizens' Climate Lobby staff to build a stronger and more diverse coalition of leaders needed to pass fair and effective climate policy. Fellows will be trained to conduct public outreach on the local, state, and national level.

The fellowship is 12 weeks. Start and end dates are flexible depending on students' school schedules in Fall, Spring, and Summer. Summer Fellowship positions can be based remotely. The Fall and Spring Fellowship will be based on your college campus. 

Get more information and apply hereThe application period will close on May 1, 2017 for Summer positions and June 18, 2017 for Fall positions.

Provost Colloquium

Provost Colloquium

Tuesday, April 18, 2017
4 - 6 pm
Oviatt Library, Ferman Presentation Room

This year's Provost Colloquium will feature CSUN's 2016-2017 Jerome Richfield Scholar, Dr. Peter Edmunds. Dr. Edmunds teaches in the Marine Biology department and his research focuses on the physiological ecology of tropical reef corals.  

In recent decades corals have served as the poster child of ecosystem destruction through the effects of global climate change, and now there is serious discussion of the possibility that these ecosystems will disappear. Dr. Edmunds will describe his research findings over the last 30 years and explain why there is reason to hope that the scattered pieces of these complex ecosystems can reassemble. The result will likely differ from what was once in place, but it can remain worthy of our attention, protection, and respect.

This presentation is free, but you must register here. Refreshments will be served.
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