Public Affairs

CSU Community Service Helps Heal the Planet

April 22, 2011
By Erik Fallis

Students of the CSU annually dedicate more than 32 million hours to community service.  Increasingly, students spend their time on projects that promote sustainable practices.  These activities have picked up intensity as Earth Day approached.  Posted below are several examples of the type of activities taking place on CSU campuses.

CSU Channel Islands Biology and Environmental Science and Resource Management Programs presented the 7th Annual Poe Symposium: Hurricanes, Po' Boys and Tarballs.  On April 15, symposium speakers discussed the role of interdisciplinary science approaches in resolving environmental disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico.

On April 16, CI students demonstrated how biodiesel is synthesized from vegetable oil through a simple chemical reaction performed as an experiment in CI's CHEM 315 Organic Chemistry II Laboratory.

On April 22, CI Student Club, Animal Advocates host a showing of the documentary, The CoveThe Cove - an Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary of 2009 - documents a group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry, as they infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health.

On April 23, the Center for Community Engagement and All Green Electronics Recycling will be hosting an E-Waste Day. All types of electronics can be recycled including computers, monitors, printers, cell phones, mobile phones, televisions, VCRs, DVD players, scanners and many other outdated electronics.

CSU Dominguez Hills held numerous activities on April 21, including a celebration of the campus Japanese Garden, a speaker from the Undersea Voyager Project and rECOn Missions, and the Third Annual Labor, Social and Environmental Justice Fair designed to connect students and members of the community with local unions and organizations that are doing social justice work.

CSUDH will also hold its Inaugural American Indian Pow Wow: Honoring the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas on April 30.

Fresno State Earth DayFresno State held three separate service events to observe Earth Day.  On April 2, over 150 volunteers from Fresno State, the Kiwanis Club, the Key Clubs of McClane High School, and others removed 12 tons of corrals, barbed wire fencing, irrigation pipe, and other debris to expand wildlife habitat on the Spano Ranch property where Highway 41 crosses the San Joaquin River. 

In a separate event on April 2, approximately 40 Fresno State volunteers participated in the one-day service event, Spring Green.  Fresno State volunteers helped Sierra Foothill Conservancy rebuild a road on the McKenzie Table Mountain Preserve that had been partially washed out by the recent rains.  At Rotary Storyland and Playland, volunteers worked on refurbishment projects that included demolition and removal of a cement curb, painting of a storage facility and cleanup of the Old Lady who lived in a Shoe display. 

On April 9, 25 Fresno State students and community volunteers cleared five tons of barbed wire fencing along the San Joaquin River.  The final service day for Fresno State students for spring 2011 is April 30, when volunteers will re-cage, weed, and otherwise care for trees on restoration areas along the river.

CSU Fullerton, on April 5, held its first farmer’s market on campus featuring local & organic produce. In collaboration with local farmers in California, CSUF hosted the farmer’s market to increase access to fresh local and organic fruits, vegetables and many more delicious items to choose from.

The campus community also dedicated an entire week to Earth Day activities starting with a weekend, April 16 and 17, of outdoor gardening focused on composting, water conservation, organic gardening and sustainability.  The week will end on April 23 with the “iCare Festival,” designed to inspire a green and healthy lifestyle.

Humboldt State student research will be used by the city of Arcata to help inform its decision on whether to impose a citywide ban on single-use plastic bags.  The “Arcata Plastic Bag Project,” was a student-run project in Environmental Resources Engineering lecturer Lonny Grafman’s general education course, Technology and the Environment. The project, completed this fall, partnered students with the city of Arcata to research and analyze the environmental impacts of single-use plastic bags, and what kind of effect a citywide ban would have.

Cal State L.A. students, professors and friends joined together on April 16 to clean up Dockweiler Beach, which has been adopted by the university through the Adopt-A-Beach Program facilitated by Heal the Bay.

CSU Monterey Bay was recently been named one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible schools by the Princeton Review and the U.S. Green Building Council.  CSUMB service learners hosted three Earth Day events on April 16 and 17, in partnership with Return of the Natives Restoration Education Project.  The project aimed to bring people closer to nature and nature closer to people.  Volunteers met people in their community and learned how they can help protect their local water supply and natural habitats.  

CSU Northridge has a number of events underway in celebration of Earth Day.  This includes an Earth Fair and Orange Grove Pick.  Also, the Departments of Biology & Chemistry hosted an Earth Day Fair for middle- and high-school youth on April 9.

CSU San Bernardino is hosting a large number of events and activities.  Green Campus Club will have an information booth highlighting tips on conserving energy and giving away energy saving light bulbs.  The Santos Manuel Student Union Program Board will have educational tables, a faculty presentation, a student talent show and a plant give away.

SAGES (Student Association for Geography and Environmental Studies) Students are volunteering in support of the Chino Basin Water Conservation District at a Water Awareness event “Every Day is Earth Day.” Alumni Affairs is partnering with Toyota of San Bernardino and displaying the newest fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles.

Student Health & Psychological Counseling Center and P.E.E.R. (Prevention, Education, Empowering Results) will conduct a campus wide beautification effort to clean up cigarette butts.  ASI, the President's Office, Community-University Partnerships, Housing and Residential Life, and Facilities Services are sponsoring the e-waste recycling effort in two locations on campus.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Environmental Council is organizing three events in honor of Earth Day and the spirit of environmental progress. The campus will kick off the series on Friday, April 22nd with "Take on Earth Day." This day involves service at multiple sites organized by Focus SLO.  On Saturday April 23rd, Earth Day SLO will be held at El Chorro Regional Park. Environmental Council is offering The Kid Zone which will spark the imagination and interest of youth.

Additionally, there will be a film screening of Bag It. The movie speaks out about the overuse of plastic products specifically plastic bags. This wrapped up the month of April, but there are always new events to be involved with.

San José State continues its Green Wave program to train and deploy student-auditors to measure the amount of energy being wasted in individual homes and dorm rooms.  The program’s goal is to save over 2,000 pounds of CO2 emissions per household annually.

San Diego State undergraduate students conducted the second annual campus-wide cigarette butt waste cleanup on April 9. The cleanup is part of the Cigarette Butt Pollution Project, which aims to reduce the environmental impacts of discarded cigarette butts and advocates for the adoption of waste mitigation policies at the national, state and local levels. Last year, students collected more than 20,000 discarded cigarette butts throughout the SDSU campus in just one hour. Green Campus interns from SDSU and University of California, San Diego, are also CSU Stanislaus recycling event competing to see who can make the most impact on their campus and save the most money on energy costs in 2011.

CSU Stanislaus held a successful e-waste recycling event on April 9. The majority of items dropped off were old computer monitors and old televisions.  The event gathered one full pallet of computer hard drives, one pallet of electronic power cords, about four pallets of mixed electronics, about six pallets of televisions/computer monitors, and two wooden carts of LCD computer monitors/televisions.  A 26-ft truck was filled with recycled materials with a load of about twelve pallets.  The Geography Club did all the advertising for the event.