CSUN Institute for Sustainability
Issue No. 24     |    November 21, 2016
Dr. Cox Bids Farewell to Institute for Sustainability
Dr. Cox's going away partyAfter years of dedicated service, Dr. Helen Cox has left her position as Director of the Institute for Sustainability to take on the role of Manager of the new Sustainability Division in the City of Thousand Oaks. Some of her new priorities will be developing a climate action plan for the city, bringing in more solar, developing an organics recycling program across the city, and negotiating Community Choice Aggregation, a state policy that enables local governments to obtain alternative energy supplies while maintaining the existing electricity provider for transmission and distribution services.

Dr. Cox served as Director of the Institute for Sustainability for seven years and as a faculty member in the Geography department for 16 years. Under Dr. Cox’s leadership, campus sustainability best practices are shared through a number programs including Green Core Working Groups, water, energy and solar workshops, campus-wide events such as Water Day and Sustainability Day, and student and employee orientations. Dr. Cox’s efforts to focus campus attention on climate change and sustainability led to the development of the Institute for Sustainability. She worked with a university-wide committee to create a sustainability minor, a General Education Path in Sustainability Principles, and an Interdisciplinary Studies degree track in Sustainability.

In 2012, President Harrison asked Helen to lead the development of a Campus Sustainability Plan. This Plan has engaged all university divisions and has impacted all areas of campus administration and operations. Dr. Cox’s cross-cutting efforts extend beyond the campus as she is working with several local jurisdictions and community organizations on topics such as climate action planning, mitigation, resilience, and adaptation. As a result of her efforts she was recognized this summer as CSU’s 2016 Sustainability Champion.

Dr. Cox left these parting words, “I have thoroughly enjoyed my position here at the Institute, which has made the decision to leave very difficult. Everyone here at CSUN, from President Harrison on down, has been so supportive of the work we are doing it has truly made coming to work a pleasure! We have built strong relationships with divisions all across campus, from Facilities to Associated Students and with all our colleges. With the great staff and faculty at the Institute, the tremendous support from our Facilities Division and our campus leadership I know that sustainability will continue to thrive and excel at CSUN. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to partner on initiatives in the future and to hearing about all CSUN’s great sustainability successes.”

Helen has been an exemplary leader and her ability to make positive change on and off campus have been truly inspiring to witness and experience. The Institute staff wishes her the best in her new endeavor and look forward to seeing the positive impact she has in the city of Thousand Oaks.
CSUN Receives Sustainability Award from CA Senate
Senate awardThe third regional California Renewable Energy and Storage Technology (CREST) conference was held at CSUN on November 12th. Rosalba Gonzalez, Field Representative for the Office of Senator Fran Pavely, presented Dean S.K. Ramesh with an Environmental Sustainability Award in recognition of CSUN's outstanding efforts in this area. The award highlights CSUN's commitment to reduce waste by 80% by 2020 and to reach climate neutrality by 2040. It also praises efforts such as the "Brown is the New Green" campaign to reduce campus water use and the integration of sustainability not just into operations and infrastructure, but also in education and research.

Dr. Sudarsan Rachuri from the Department of Energy was the plenary speaker of the conference. Rachuri is the Program Officer for the $70 M Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, announced this summer, which includes CSUN and 5 other CSU campuses (headquartered at UCLA).
Student Spotlight: Sean Robison
Sean Robison and black bearSean Robison is a Research Assistant at the Institute for Sustainability. He is pursuing his master's degree in Geography, currently working on his thesis using GIS analysis to study black bear home ranges and habitats. His research uses 14 female black bears and over a quarter million data points collected from GPS collars on these animals between 2009 and 2013. Robison stated, "No other black bear study to date has been able to accumulate the volume of qualitative and quantitative data that we have. This study is unprecedented."

Using GIS software, he is mapping the home ranges of the bears, looking at habitat suitability and selection, analyzing point clusters to see why individuals spend a lot of time in one area, and seeing how home ranges shift over time, including when mother bears relinquish a portion of their range to their cubs. Interestingly, he has learned from the point clusters that mother bears usually choose swampy areas to put their cubs down for a nap as these locations are usually very safe. "This research is important because it allows us to analyze how bears are interacting with their habitat and with each other on a minute by minute basis," said Robison. His research was conducted at the Wildlife Research Institute in Minnesota, though black bears are also abundant in the surrounding area as well. Sean chose to work with bears because he was naturally drawn to them and he wanted to study something different from his peers.

Robison is also a member of the CSUN Geography Club which has been using drones to do 3-D mapping and thermal imaging projects. He has been mapping flood plains in the Eastern Sierras and is also mapping sand dune migration. The students also hope to use the thermal imaging cameras to determine which areas of campus are hotter or cooler to increase campus energy efficiency. The Sundial recently wrote an article about the club's drone research.
Sustainable Office Program Wins Best Practice Award
SOP StaffCSUN's Sustainable Office Program (SOP) was recently honored with a "Best Practices Award for Student Achievement in a Physical Environment" at the 2016 CSU Facilities Management Conference. The award is given to the program that 1) conducts an intensive assessment process done by students, 2) creates incentives to motivate campus community participation in sustainability efforts and 3) educates new students and departments to participate each year. This is the second award the program has received this year.

The Sustainable Office Program seeks to educate and engage the campus community on sustainability best practices in the office setting. The SOP checklist and survey measure sustainability practices for individual offices, with scores of: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Under the guidance of Cyndi Signett, the Associated Students Sustainability and Recycling team implements programs to increase awareness of sustainable practices across campus.

Carlos Iglesias, one of the student leads for the program, beamed with pride as he explained the dedication and active involvement of the campus community: "So many of the personnel who work here on campus have been incredibly eager and open to altering previous, outdated practices in order to meet the criterion set by SOP.  It’s meant a lot to our team to see the tangible results of our efforts; to see that the campus is dedicated to decreasing our carbon footprint."

By: Ron Jaradat
Pictured left to right: Carlos Iglesias, Sanda Delgado, Basille Jimenez
REI Opt Outside

Opt Outside on Black Friday!

Friday, November 25

Last year REI started a movement for people to connect with the outdoors over the holidays. They closed their stores on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, paid their employees to spend time outside, and invited America to join them. More than 1.4 million people and 170 organizations chose to #OptOutside.

Find places to Opt Outside near you!

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

CA Friendly Landscape Classes

Free CA Friendly Landscape Classes

January 21, February 11 (Spanish), February 25, March 25, April 29, May 20
Saturdays 9 am – 12 pm

Workshop attendance and parking are FREE. SPACE IS VERY LIMITED. To register, email or call the Water Conservation Hotline (800) 544-4498, option #5. An email reply with the location details will be provided after registration is confirmed. More Information

LADWP StudentsFollow us on Social Media!
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Post something sustainable happening on campus or in the community, tag us @sustainCSUN and use #sustainCSUN and we can share your post!
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