California State University, Northridge officials made history Oct. 26 by cutting the ribbon at the first-ever Sustainability Center in the California State University system. CSUN Sustainability and Associated Students (AS) hosted the grand opening on the lawn near the corner of Lindley Avenue and Vincennes Street, adjacent to the University Student Union.
The new Sustainability Center is a multi-functional space, serving as an expanded collections station for campus recyclables, the administrative hub of AS sustainability programs and services, and as the administrative offices of the Institute for Sustainability.
The center also boasts sustainable resources such as “composting toilets” — which convert waste into clean compost and limit water use to as little as .2 liters per flush — and approximately 100 solar panels that provide enough energy to keep the administrative space completely self-sufficient.
One of the goals of the center is to educate Matadors about what they can do to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, said Ronaldo Valiente, recycling operations supervisor.
“We are striving to minimize waste and recycle as much as possible,” Valiente said. “But we also want to capture as much recyclables as possible through the five Rs: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and restore.”
The idea for a sustainability center was generated by CSUN student government leaders more than two decades ago, in the AS Internal Affairs committee, and student demand has been steadily growing, said Cynthia Signett, AS coordinator of sustainability and recycling.
“It started out in 1991 as a collaborative effort [for] a recycling program,” Signett said. “From that point, AS took over.”
AS student leaders aren’t the only ones excited about the center’s opening. Undergraduate student Michelle De Dios said she is proud to be a Matador, and CSUN’s commitment to sustainability is one key reason.
“This center in itself is showing that CSUN cares about the environment,” De Dios said. “It’s about learning and making a difference, starting with you.”