Even as it hosts dozens of programs each year — from Grammy-winning jazz artists and the Moscow Ballet to Itzhak Perlman, one of the world’s most beloved and well-known violinists — CSUN’s Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya) has dedicated itself to maintaining sustainable operation practices.
This fall, that dedication was recognized by entertainment company Ticketmaster. During the 2019 Ticketmaster Arts Summit, Sept. 23-25 in the Coachella Valley, the company honored four event venues for their commitment to diversity, advocacy, innovation and sustainability. Among those honored at the summit, The Soraya received the Sustainability Commitment Award.
Ticketmaster founder Albert Leffler nominated The Soraya. The nomination noted the operation’s eco-friendly practices, which include using biodegradable materials and reusable drink tumblers for patrons at concessions, and launching an incremental program to reduce single-use plastics, especially among performers, cast and crew backstage. The venue also displays real-time water and energy consumption data on its Sustainability Monitor in the lobby.
“When Ticketmaster recently created various arts and theatre client awards, I was pleased to nominate The Soraya — with the ensuing award most appropriate,” Leffler said.
“The Soraya is the epitome of sustainability,” he said, commending its sustainable architectural structure, as well as its efforts in backstage and front-of-house operations to keep itself “as ‘green’ as possible.”
The venue also was recognized for its programs that highlight relevant environmental topics, such as the “Global Currents” music festival and 2019’s “Future Currents: L.A. River,” a large-scale collaboration between CSUN students and local and national artists to foster awareness of some of the environmental and sustainability challenges faced by the Los Angeles River.
Over the past several years, CSUN has earned a host of stellar rankings from the nation’s largest organizations for sustainability in higher education, including the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). In its 2019 Sustainable Campus Index, the association ranked CSUN No. 5 among all master’s degree-level institutions.
Some of CSUN’s biggest accomplishments in sustainability include opening the CSU’s first Sustainability Center, creating and implementing a campus-wide Zero Waste Plan, and reducing water consumption on campus by more than 55 million gallons per year.
The Soraya itself is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, which is the second-highest certification offered by the organization and a rarity among performing arts centers.
“The Soraya is a values-driven arts organization, with sustainability being one of our highest priorities,” said Thor Steingraber, executive director of The Soraya. “We strive to align with the CSUN campus strategic priorities in this regard, among others, and I’m proud to work for President Dianne F. Harrison, who is the pacesetter for our collective achievements.”