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SDSU Sustainability Star

Shannon Clark, '13, left a major impact on SDSU's sustainability culture without leaving a carbon footprint.
Shannon Clark working with students on her energy-saving light installation project.
Shannon Clark working with students on her energy-saving light installation project.

Shannon Clark, a recent SDSU alumnus, is a sustainability warrior.

During her time at SDSU, the political science major served as the Green Campus project coordinator for the Division of Undergraduate Studies, where she worked with the university and its auxiliaries to identify ways to help make the campus more sustainable.

As a Green Campus intern, Clark teamed up with SDSU Dining Services to establish composting services in East Commons, one of SDSU’s busiest dining areas. She also helped Dining Services save energy by performing a lighting retrofit and installing night covers for appliances which help keep refrigerated cases cooler and reduce the energy needed to maintain the cold temperatures.

Clark is also a recipient of the Udall Scholarship which is awarded to students who have demonstrated significant commitment to environmental or Native American issues.

Before graduating in May, Clark initiated a redesign project for SDSU buildings and parking structures harboring out-of-date lighting — a design that saves roughly 1,337,088 pounds of carbon dioxide and $293,864 per year.   

A significant difference

SDSU is one of 23 schools participating in PowerSave Campus, a student-driven energy efficiency education program that promotes energy savings and the importance of energy efficiency. As a PowerSave intern, Clark decided to focus on a project that would be cheap enough to be realistic, but also make a signigicant difference.

With a grant from SDG&E and help from SDSU Facilities and Services, Clark and a team of five PowerSave interns installed $50,000 worth of new and improved lighting around campus. The success of Clark's program contributed to increased funding for new lighting in several buildings on campus.  

Clark's efforts were acknowledged at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference last month, where she and her team took home the Best Practices in Student Energy Efficency award.

Clark credits her passion for the environment to Mariah Hudson, the director of the SDSU Center for Regional Sustainability.

"Mariah was a tremendous inspiration for me," Clark said. "She got me really interested in the sustainability field and made it easy for me to get involved and pursue opportunities in the sustainability realm."

Moving forward

Clark's sustainability efforts have inspired her to pursue a career in environmental law.

Clark is taking the year off to study for the LSAT exam and prepare for law school.  She hopes to study at the University of California, Berkely.

"SDSU made it easy to take what I learned and apply it to the real world," Clark said. "I'm excited to see what I can accomplish next."

About the SDSU Center for Regional Sustainability

The center's mission is to advance sustainability through regional collaborations in higher education, research, stewardship and outreach to ensure that generations of students will gain the skills and abilities that will allow the region to grow, prosper, and sustain itself in the long term.

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