California State University, Northridge has made it a point in recent years to put extra attention into making CSUN a more sustainable, environmentally friendly campus. Now, those efforts are being recognized statewide.
The Associated Students (AS) Sustainable Office Program (SOP), a student organization formed in 2014, recently won the Student Sustainability Leadership award at the 12th annual California Higher Education Sustainability Conference Best Practice Awards Competition — an event that highlights the accomplishments of California campuses that have made innovative and effective energy efficiency projects and sustainable operations.
“Winning this award definitely feels like a step in the right direction, for both the SOP program and our campus as a whole,” said SOP Lead Assessor Carlos Chavez-Iglesias. “Winning an award tends to generate positive feedback and recognition, which can help further the program here on campus.”
The program — led by Recycling Coordinator Cynthia Signett, the Institute for Sustainability and a group of four CSUN students within the AS Recycling Team — provides information and resources to CSUN faculty and staff about what it means to “go green” at their jobs and offices.
“The students talk to designated staff and conduct surveys to evaluate existing practices and procedures in the workplace,” said Helen Cox, director of the Institute for Sustainability. “By participating, each department on campus is actively assisting CSUN in reducing waste, saving energy and achieving our goal of carbon neutrality by 2040.”
So far, the program has assessed more than 50 offices on campus. Moving forward, Signett said, the goal is to assess every office on campus and make all CSUN employees aware of what it means to be sustainable.
Being more sustainable is essential because, according to Cox, people are causing irreversible damage to the planet through development, deforestation, resource extraction, pollution and much more.
“Some people think it all comes down to heating, cooling and things beyond their control, but actually a big part of sustainability is about practice — changing attitudes toward turning off lights, walking [instead of driving], using public transport and switching from single-use disposable products,” Cox said.
CSUN and the SOP program will be recognized with the award during the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference on June 27.
For more information and to take part in the program, contact the Sustainable Office Program at (818) 677-4262.