Center for Sustainability opens, CSUF hosts forum

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Cal State Fullerton President Milton Gordon welcomed a new Center for Sustainability, which opened Thursday after the close of a forum discussing sustainability. Run by Dr. John Bock, the new center will provide CSUF an opportunity to become an educational leader in the field of sustainability.

Students, faculty and graduates gathered together for the all-day forum to discuss the implications and future of sustainability in the Pollack Library.

The forum, entitled “Sustainable Futures: Diversity and Green Initiatives in Graduate Education,” was a collection of student exhibits, panel discussions and career opportunities for those interested in entering the field of environmental sciences. Students from various majors were on hand to display their on-going projects regarding sustainability as it pertains to social, economic, cultural and educational aspects of daily life.

Information regarding sustainability was projected onto the brightly-colored walls of the Salz-Pollack Room, where people gathered to view student and faculty research projects on sustainability. A quote by John Carroll illuminated exactly what the purpose behind environmental science is: “Sustainability is living within one’s means at every scale-personally, regionally, and globally.” As professionals and students intermingled, graduate students walked amongst the exhibit, pointing out how their research could potentially help others lead more sustainable lifestyles.

Graduate student Richard George, who is currently studying anthropology and archaeology, was on hand to discuss how his group’s research project applied sustainable measures to analyze the history of trading networks between people living on the coast of California as well as inland. “We basically look at the behavior patterns of people through rocks,” said George, pointing to pictures of several artifacts on his display. “We test different samples using x-rays and lasers to examine the chemical composition of artifacts and natural sources of obsidian and we … analyze ancient exchange networks.”

Matt Rice, a third-year anthropology major who is also working on the project, pointed out that CSUF has one of the best programs around for research in sustainability. By allowing students to have the most materials available for research, the university has been able to expand its reach. ” We’ve tested about 58 samples so far, but eventually it will be around 700. We want to have the most accurate research possible,” said Rice.

Other students used techniques taught in civil engineering classes to demonstrate how buildings have the potential to be built green, and the impact of such green buildings on the environment compared to other structures.

Dr. John Bock, the discussion panel moderator and professor of anthropology, opened the first panel discussion of the day by introducing several of the speakers, including Director Willem Van der Pol, who oversees the physical plant operations at CSUF. Van der Pol, who manages the facility on campus, pointed out the little things that CSUF has been doing in order to leave a smaller carbon footprint on the world.

“Every building has an impact on the environment,” said Van der Pol. “This campus has doubled in size over the past decade, yet (by using sustainable measures) we have been able to cut energy consumption in half, and drastically reduce our carbon footprint.” Several new buildings, including the Student Recreation Center and Mihaylo Hall, have been built using green technology. By using strategies such as conservation and cleaner energy sources, Van der Pol illustrated how CSUF has embraced sustainable measures in order to better the environment. Even little things, such as using electric cars on campus, have been implemented in order to lower pollution and promote sustainability.

Fullerton Arboretum Director Greg Dyment also spoke about the efforts being made by the campus to be more sustainable. “We try to get people excited about flora,” Dyment said during his lecture. He explained several of the classes that the Arboretum offers to learn about composting, gardening, and other landscaping techniques that can conserve water and energy, as well as encouraging people to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Brian Maddock, an environmental studies graduate student and representative of Associated Students Inc.’s Environmental Advocacy Committee, said that his hope was to engage more students in being aware of the environment. He highlighted the 2010 Earth Week, which runs April 19-22 on campus, as a way for students to get more information and to learn about living a sustainable lifestyle.

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