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Sustainability: More Than a Buzzword

SDSU’s Center for Regional Sustainability will open the doors to a new student-oriented facility later this month.
Sustainbility efforts are central to SDSU
Sustainbility efforts are central to SDSU

Sustainability is more than a buzzword at San Diego State — it's a way of life.

To build on that dedication, San Diego State University will officially open the Student Sustainability Center on Jan. 19 as part of the Center for Regional Sustainability Studies. The center is located on the second floor of the Administration Building directly above the Undergraduate Studies office, and a grand opening geared toward students will occur in mid-February.

A place to meet and plan

The center will be the new home for the Green Student Interns, a group of students dedicated to energy efficiency who initiated a campus-wide energy assessment, as well as providing efficiency training across California. 

Additionally, the center will be used as a meeting place to discuss sustainability issues, and plan for and work on projects. It will also serve as a communication tool between faculty and students. Students will collect information on resources to notify faculty members, while professors will advertise green classes or programs to students.

“The main job of this facility is to connect like-minded students and faculty,” said Mariah Hudson, who will oversee facility operations.

Two students will be chosen to perform for-credit internships to assist with the operation of the center, Hudson said. She is quick to point out that students from outside sustainability majors will be considered as potential interns.

“Our director, Geoff Chase, dean of the Division of Undergraduate Studies, oversees this facility, and believes that sustainability is a theme that crosses disciplinary boundaries, so no matter what degree program you’re coming from, there is a connection,” Hudson said.

Green lunch

The opening of the center will be highlighted by the renewal of the Green Group Lunch, from noon to 1 p.m., Jan. 19. Green Group Lunch started in 2006 as an informal forum for staff and faculty to discuss green issues, but was canceled in 2009 as other organizations came in to provide the same service. Rekindled interest led to its revival as an opportunity to meet with other staff and faculty members while discussing "green" topics.

“The first lunch will focus on connecting with one another and beginning a conversation about connecting sustainability efforts, whether in curriculum or operations, across campus,” Hudson said.

Geoff Scott, vice chancellor at the University of Western Sydney and a leader in sustainability education in Australia, will join the first meeting of the lunch group to speak and answer questions from faculty and staff members.

A sustainable future

Hudson said the center will build on SDSU’s green foundation, but is still looking toward what more can be done, outlining two goals for the future of the center.

The facility's first priority will be to serve as a home for student groups who will expand efforts close to home, make the campus more energy efficient and work toward eliminating waste while increasing recycling efforts. The center's second priority will be the expansion of community projects that help San Diego County cities and neighborhoods embrace green innovation.

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