Sustainability at CSU: an update from the President’s Sustainability Commission

Dear CSU Community,
Last week, the Biden Administration announced that the U.S. will reenter the Paris Climate Accord, the landmark international agreement signed in 2015 to limit greenhouse gasses. The U.S. will once again collaborate with 197 other nations to address the global threat of climate change.
Colorado State University is already a national leader in higher ed sustainability, but we take the country’s reentrance in the Paris Climate Accord as a call to action. To answer that call, we commit to becoming an international leader in sustainability through teaching, research, engagement and service in support of our land-grant mission.  We also affirm that we see sustainability as a critical environmental, economic, and social justice priority. Sustainability contributes to the well-being and resiliency of our community, enabling us to address local and global challenges through transformational change.
CSU remains committed to, and continues to make progress towards, our climate action plan goals of 100% renewable electricity by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050. We are even exploring options to move that target date sooner. This fall, we completed one of the state’s largest geoexchange projects on the intramural fields and over the next 18 months we will add 21 solar arrays to campus, which will produce 4.3 megawatts of renewable electricity.
We also recognize the interconnectedness of environmental, social, and economic justice and commit to furthering efforts to address food insecurity, housing insecurity, and a living wage at CSU to ensure that all members of our campus community have access to a sustainable future.
This fall, the School of Global Environmental Sustainability and the President’s Sustainability Commission opened a call for proposals for Sustainability Curriculum Innovation Grants to integrate sustainability across the curriculum in support of the Institutional Learning Outcomes. Proposals from all eight colleges were submitted; five received funding and are currently moving forward; you can read about them here.
The President’s Sustainability Commission also launched the CSU Sustainability Fund this fall, open to any CSU student, faculty, or staff member to submit an idea or program to enhance sustainability across campus. Again, the response was excellent with more than two dozen submissions received. The submissions that received funding this year include a food recovery program and work on forest regeneration in the aftermath of the Cameron Peak Fire; read about them here.  And for those members of our community who have great ideas to submit, keep an eye out for the Sustainability Fund call for applications for 2021-2022 this summer.
We are proud to be the first institution in the world to earn a STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) Platinum Rating (we have since earned the rating three times) and to have been recognized as one of the top universities in the country for sustainability education, research, and engagement. This recognition is only possible because of the passion of you, our students, faculty, and staff. As we continue to strive to achieve our ambitious sustainability goals, we hope to show the nation and the world what can be accomplished by a community like ours, working collaboratively and creatively towards a better future.
Warmly,
Tonie Miyamoto and Carol Dollard, Co-Chairs, CSU Sustainability Commission
Joyce McConnell, President

 

Learn more about sustainability at CSU by visiting green.colostate.edu