On Sept. 4, the “President to President” thought leadership series debuted the first chapter of its 2019-20 online series, penned by CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison. In the chapter, “Educating the Environmental Stewards of Tomorrow: Presidential Leadership and Climate Change,” Harrison examines the vital leadership role that colleges play in addressing climate change, on campus and in the larger community.
She also shares a few of the ways CSUN promotes environmental sustainability through education, activism and operational practices. CSUN has earned a host of stellar rankings from the nation’s largest organizations for sustainability in higher education. This month, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) ranked CSUN No. 5 among all master’s degree-level institutions in its Sustainable Campus Index. CSUN scores highly for water conservation, peer-to-peer education and student ambassadors through Associated Students Recycling. Some of the biggest accomplishments over the past several years include opening the CSU’s first Sustainability Center on campus, creating and implementing a campus-wide Zero Waste Plan, and reducing water consumption on campus by more than 55 million gallons per year.
The President to President series explores how higher education institutions are responding to ever-evolving student and parent expectations, learning needs, shifting demographics and more. Each chapter is authored by a college or university president who is a recognized industry leader.
In November 2017, President Harrison participated in the United Nations annual climate conference (known as COP23) in Bonn, Germany. Harrison was part of a delegation of leaders from government — including then-Gov. Jerry Brown — the private sector and higher education who gathered to voice their support for the Paris Agreement on climate change. She also serves on the Second Nature Board and is a past chair of its Climate Leadership Steering Committee.
CSUN is a signatory to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and an active member of the nonprofit organization Second Nature’s Climate Leadership Network. Through this commitment, campus presidents have pledged to improve their universities’ practices to reduce the emission of harmful greenhouse gases, as well as adapting to climate change through resiliency efforts.