The SDSU Center for Regional Sustainability will drive green initiatives for the region.
The center will coordinate regional efforts in water conservation and alternative energy creation, among other issues.
San Diego State claimed a permanent stake in California’s sustainable future with the launch June 25 of the SDSU Center for Regional Sustainability.
The center will coordinate regional efforts to generate and implement comprehensive sustainable solutions related to transportation, energy use, air quality, water resource management, sustainable workforce development and similar issues.
Through the center, educators, policymakers and researchers will collaborate with local residents and citizen groups to improve sustainability practices in San Diego and Imperial counties and northern Baja California. They will also issue occasional “report cards” assessing the region’s progress.
“Sustainability is preserving the quality of life on earth so that future generations have access to natural resources,” said Geoff Chase, director of the center and SDSU’s dean of undergraduate studies.
Chase said the university can contribute by applying the most current scientific and behavioral research to sustainability challenges.
In conjunction with the regional center, SDSU faculty and students will develop new technologies that enhance sustainability efforts and work to promote greater personal investment in conservation throughout the region.
At the same time, SDSU will increasingly prepare students to work across disciplines to solve real world problems for their own future.
A head start
Sustainability initiatives already in place at SDSU include:
Sustainable Tourism Management: SDSU is the only university in the U.S. to offer a sustainable tourism curriculum at the undergraduate level. The four-year degree allows students to explore issues at the intersection of the tourism industry and the community.
Green building construction, and renewable energy and green energy management programs:
Drought-tolerant landscaping, including these native cacti, appear throughout the SDSU campus.
Last year, the College of Extended Studies launched the first professional certificate programs
in green and sustainable industries.Interdisciplinary programs for undergraduates:
Majors in sustainability and environmental studies, environmental science and environmental engineering encourage students to adopt a holistic view of sustainability and the environment with focus areas in geography, the urban environment, social justice, public policy, international conflict resolution, environmental and outdoor education, and water resources.
Sarah Elkind, SDSU history professor and adviser for the sustainability and environmental studies program
, said the major emphasizes interdisciplinary course work that helps students develop a broad understanding of the issues. About 40 students have declared majors or minors in the program, and interest is rising, she said.
Outside of academia, SDSU students have also committed to a greener campus. Associated Students (AS) successfully campaigned to raise $250,000 annually through student fees for sustainability-related upgrades to campus facilities. The AS Executive Board approved construction of a LEED platinum-certified student union, and the AS Green Love Sustainability Advisory Board is in its second year of launching its Sustainability Educational Awareness Campaign to educate students about how to save energy, reduce waste and promote conservation within the community.A partner in Baja California
The Ensenada Center for Scientific Investigation and Higher Education (CICESE),
based in Baja California, is partnering with SDSU in the Center for Regional Sustainability.
CICESE is involved in several sustainability projects, including the development of a climate change contingency plan and a GIS system for monitoring environment information—both for the state of Sonora—and a joint project with Mexico’s state-owned petroleum company, Pemex
, to observe currents, temperatures and salinity levels in the Gulf of Mexico.