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Sustainable SSU
Sustainable SSU

Opinion: Sonoma State University students should help campus stay sustainable

Apr 29, 2019

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By Emma Adalian and Justine Law

Sonoma State University prides itself in its sustainability. From advertising the use of reusable water bottles to using recycled water around campus to not using plastic in the culinary venues, the school has tried very hard to get the campus to be a sustainable environment.

As a culinary services worker, I have seen how the staff as a whole cares about keeping the school sustainable. I’ve even grown myself as far as being sustainable goes, and I know the school has a big impact on me and other students who are willing to make a change.

SSU’s culinary to-go boxes are designed to look as if they are made out of plastic, but they are actually from a brand called World Centric, which is a company known for their sustainable products. While they might be as light and strong as plastic, they are 100% compostable and biodegradable, as they are made out of recycled plants. This company is used around the whole campus, which consists of six different restaurants that provide the students with food.

On April 5, 2019, SSU hosted the 14th annual  Sustainable Enterprise Conference. The SEC is an event where many educational, business, government and community leaders from throughout the North Bay are expected to attend the conference, which will focus on different ways to grow our environmental, social, and economic resilience. At the beginning of the conference, PresidentJudy Sakaki signed “the President’s Climate Leadership Commitment,” which should help the school’s progress in sustainability.

"I am excited and proud that we are making a campus-wide commitment to become an even ‘greener’ campus,” Sakaki said. “We are on our way to becoming a national model for sustainable practices, and we are doing it together.” The commitment says the university will become a carbon neutral school for electric operations by 2045.

Sonoma State wants the students to be just as involved in the sustainable living that is going on on campus. As it’s April this month, that means it is sustainability month. The week of Earth Day is filled with events and activities open to all students that make everybody feel like they are truly part of the school. On Earth Day, there is an Earth Day Fair full of different stations which have many activities and brands and clubs involved.

I went to the fair last year and it was so interesting! Some of the tables included vegan groups, big companies with sustainable products, fun games about the environment, and DIY beauty products made from natural vegan resources. There is a lot of information given out there, as well as plenty of fun gifts to take home.

My personal favorite station was Lobo’s Pop-Up Pantry. Lobo’s Pantry is a resource on campus opened in February of 2018 to help ease some food stress for students. Open Mondays through Thursdays, Lobo’s Pantry gives students the opportunity to go in once a week and pick out nonperishable items for free. Different members of the community can donate their food to the pantry, so it recycles others’ food.

The items that are provided range from cans of vegetables, soup, tuna, and other canned foods to cereal to protein bars and more. They also provide students with hygienic products like body wash, feminine hygiene products, travel-sized toiletries, and diapers.

I have used Lobo’s Pantry as often as I can since it opened, and it has helped me when I couldn’t afford even transportation to the grocery store, let alone food on top of that.

People need that kind of security in their lives, and the school has done a wonderful job of keeping its students happy and content, while also keeping it sustainable.

SSU has spent countless hours trying to stay as sustainable as possible. Compared to other colleges, SSU has a much higher standard for sustainability on campus. From the student-run activities to big events like the Sustainable Enterprise Conference, Sonoma State

University tries very hard to get students involved with sustainability. With the way the campus is going with its efforts, there will be many other changes and programs to keep the school on a positive track towards a healthier campus for the environment.

If all of the students on campus get involved with the practices that are being shown, there could be a positive and dramatic change in the community. Perhaps that is what we need to keep our school as well practiced as it is.

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