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CSUN Institute for Sustainability
Issue No. 25     |    December 5, 2016
Sustainability Students Get Dirty
 
Students at recycling centerStudents in a Sustainability 310 course gained hands-on experience with materials management through two recent activities. The class visited Athens Services Materials Recovery Facility in Sun Valley to tour the site and learn about materials management. Athens recently started collecting all CSUN's waste and sorts everything at their facility. Students were able to see firsthand how each item is separated from a trash pile and organized by material type. The materials are then sold to be recycled and by doing so, are diverted from the landfill. CSUN has been able to reach a diversion rate of 57-60% through the use of waste sorting and our campus compost program

Students performing waste auditAfter the students learned about waste sorting, they conducted their own audit of CSUN's trash. Students sifted through over 400 pounds of trash, sorting by material type and weighing each category. They found that 78% of the materials they encountered could be diverted by being recycled or composted, and that only 22% were landfill items. Of the items sorted, paper towels were the most abundant, making up 23% of the waste. The field trip and waste audit were done as service learning hours required for the class and will help to advance campus diversion efforts.

SUST 310 is one of three core courses for the sustainability minor and covers topics including water, energy, food, transportation, and waste. Visit our website for more info on sustainability curriculum options.
In the News: 35 Mayors Sign Letter to Donald Trump
 
Mayors National Climate Action AgendaMayors from 35 American cities, including Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti, have signed an open letter to President-Elect Donald Trump on the urgency of climate action. The letter asks “that you [President-Elect Donald Trump] shift to embrace the Paris Climate Agreement and make U.S. cities your partner in doing so”. Each signatory city has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and set climate action goals. Many of the cities approved local measures to improve quality of life and reduce carbon pollution that total more than $200 billion. The letter emphasized that voters implemented and are willing to pay for these sustainable measures including, “seventy percent of voters in Los Angeles County, the car capital of the world, [who] approved a $120 billion, multi-decade commitment to public transit”.

Mayor Eric Garcetti was one of three founders of the U.S. Mayors’ National Climate Action Agenda (MNCAA), which includes 35 US mayors. The Climate Mayors have committed to working together to strengthen local efforts for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to supporting efforts for binding federal and global-level policy making. They affirm that “while we are prepared to forge ahead even in the absence of federal support, we know that if we stand united on this issue, we can make change that will resonate for generations.” 

Mayor Garcetti released L.A.’s first-ever Sustainable City pLAn in April 2015. The plan is a roadmap to achieve short-term results while setting the path to strengthen and transform LA in the decades to come. It is made up of short-term and long-term targets in 14 categories that will advance LA's environment, economy, and equity.

To get involved at the local level, participate in your neighborhood council.

To join the conversation on social media, use #ClimateMayors, #ActonClimate, and #ParisAgreement.
Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Craig Olwert
 
Craig OlwertCraig Olwert is an Assistant Professor in the Urban Studies and Planning Department. He teaches courses related to environmental planning, sustainable development of cities, and quantitative research methods and analysis. He also serves as an undergraduate advisor for the department. He recently completed two projects with students, one looking at retail usage around transit stations and another focusing on stranded cyclists on the Metro Orange Line. Many bus commuters that bring their bicycles to CSUN, were having to wait for several buses because the bike racks were often full. Through the study, they were able to find that cyclists tend to ride the bus at different times than pedestrians and by increasing evening service, the number of stranded cyclists was reduced.

Craig has recently taken on the responsibility of leading CSUN's Campus-Community Climate Leadership Task Force, which aims to share technologies and strategies about how to be more resilient in the surrounding community. The task force will be partnering with neighborhood councils and CSUN field work classes to educate residents, businesses, and contractors on adaptation measures that have worked at CSUN and can be implemented elsewhere. Craig hopes that CSUN can serve as a catalyst by providing plans or 3D mock-ups to neighborhoods so that they have a better understanding of projects that will make them more resilient to a changing climate. Some of these strategies include: more energy-efficient buildings, solar and wind energy, cool or green roofs, and permeable surfaces and green spaces to reduce the heat island effect.
Business Students Manage Sustainable Portfolios
 
Portfolio management classStudents in Finance 437, Advanced Topics in Finance, had the opportunity to invest between $1-2 million of real money this semester. The portfolios, sponsored the CSUN Foundation and the University Corporation, gave students real-world experience as money managers and financial analysts.

Starting November 2015, at the request of President Harrison, the class allotted $250,000 of the funds to develop a “sustainable” portfolio that emphasizes financial sustainability, “Socially Responsible Investing”, and “Environmental, Social, Governance” investments. The Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s rankings of “The 100 Best Corporate Citizens” and a combination of other sustainability rankings lists were used to determine which strategies they use for investing. Each semester the class uses a different investment strategy to determine best practices for sustainable investments.

The class is taught by Dr. Mike Phillips, who has been a leader among CSU faculty in sustainable investing, including serving as the CSU representative for the Intentional Endowments Network and speaking at conferences on the topic of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria. In Spring 2017, Dr. Phillips will be on sabbatical researching and developing an open-source sustainability ranking system that will help improve the work done in sustainable investing. He believes the sustainable portfolio is a great asset to finance students, stating, “there is a growing demand for investment analysts, money managers, and financial planners that have a grasp on sustainable investment principles”.

To learn more about finance course offerings visit the CSUN Finance website.
Put Textbooks Here

Book Drive


December 1-22

As the semester draws to a close, remember to recycle your old books! The Institute has a collection bin for used textbooks located in the Santa Susana Hall lobby. All books collected will be given to Better World Books where they will be sold to raise money for their non-profit literary partners or they will be donated and reused. Only textbooks can be donated; they must be in good condition and no more than 10 years old. See guidelines here. We have collected approximately 800 books in the last year, so keep the donations coming!
Native plants

Clinton Global Initiative University


CSUN students with a drive to change the world are encouraged to apply to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University 2017 (CGI U), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation to engage the next generation of leaders. Each student will make a plan of action that addresses a pressing challenge on campus, in the community, or in a different part of the world. 
CSUN is a member of the CGI U Network and has funding available for students accepted to CGI U 2017. Application deadline will likely be early 2017. Interested students can email CSUN's CGI U advisor Dr. Mary-Pat Stein for more information.
LACBC Open House 2016

LA County Bicycle Coalition Open House

Wednesday, December 7
6 pm
634 S. Spring St, Los Angeles

Join fellow cyclists for a great evening with food, drinks, music, and conversation about biking in LA.  RSVP

Ticket rates are suggested donations for members ($5) and non-members ($20) but everyone is welcome! 

All ticket levels include: food, drinks, a Where to Bike in LA book and special LACBC merchandise!

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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