Buying bottled water is a tough habit to break for many people, but the associated cost and environmental degradation might make you rethink that $3 bottle in the vending machine.
80% of the single-use plastic bottles consumed nationwide ends up contributing to the amount of trash that crowds our landfills. And since plastic doesn’t decompose, but degrades into endlessly smaller pieces of plastic particles, bottles often end up in waterways and in the stomachs of wildlife.
A common misconception is that bottled water is safer to drink than tap water, but public water systems have been strictly monitored and regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency since 1974. In Los Angeles, the Department of Water and Power test the water supply every single day to ensure safety.
In an effort to reduce plastic waste from single-use water bottles, the Associated Student Environmental Affairs Committee and PPM have retrofitted water fountains with taller spouts for easy reusable bottle refills in eight buildings and with FloWater systems. FloWater refill machines are another option for those willing to pay a nominal fee for filling their bottle with crisp, reverse-osmosis filtered water. So far, there are five FloWater refill stations on campus.
Breaking the single-use plastic bottle habit isn’t so tough after all. All you need is a quality stainless steel or glass bottle to enjoy clean, cool filtered water on-the-go throughout the day. It’s a move that will save you money, and keep thousands of single-use plastic bottles out of landfills and waterways. It’s a win-win!
If you’re interested in seeing CSUN’s wildflowers and native vegetation up close you can download the free Self-Guided Tour that covers multiple locations. Among them are the EcoRegion Demonstration Garden, the Rainforest and fuel plant, the Botanic Garden, and the Food Garden. Each location is unique and displays the wide variety of plants present in the Southern California ecoregion.
The subtropical rainforest and connecting fuel plant is definitely worth a visit, either to explore the many beautiful plants or just to sit peaceful and enjoy the scenery. The high humidity is courtesy of more than 9,000 gallons of waste water and CO2 delivered daily to the lush landscape via an intricate gravity flow system.
The botanic garden was started in 1959 with only California native plants, but has since expanded to include more than 1,200 different species from a variety of climates and eco-regions. The diversity attracts butterflies, birds, and insects, and students and faculty from a variety of departments visit the garden for research purposes.
Also, if you are interested in viewing some of CSUN's native and drought tolerant landscaping conversions, please click here.
Energy Use and Carbon Emissions
According to the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2014, the main sources of CO2 emissions in the United States are electricity, transportation, and industry.
Even little changes in our behavior can helps us to control the amount of electrical power consumed.
- COMPUTER POWER MANAGEMENT: IT power management recommendations to reduce power consumption: www.csun.edu/it/power-manage
- CSUN TRANPORTATION PROGRAM: Find out about alternative transportation through Parking and Transportation Services: (818) 677-2157; http://www.csun.edu/parking
- ELECTRIC VEHICLES ON CAMPUS: For more information on permits and location of charging stations visit:http://www.csun.edu/parking/electric-vehicle-charging-stations. Contact Astrid Logan to be added to the Electric Vehicle user group email list at email@example.com
- Register your bicycle and sign-up for the Matador Bicycle Compound through Police Services: 677-2266; http://www.csun.edu/police/bike-security
Equity and Diversity
Members of the California State University, Northridge community have a right to work, live, and learn in an environment free from unlawful discrimination based on a protected status. CSUN is committed to maintaining an environment where no student, employee, visitor, or recipient of services and/or benefits provided by the University is subjected to any form of prohibited discrimination in any University program or activity.
To that end, the Office of Equity & Diversity affirms the University's commitment to the core principles of diversity and inclusion, to the policies and practices that ensure equitable consideration and opportunity in education and employment, and to a culture that embraces a multiplicity of talents, knowledge, beliefs, abilities and experiences.
We value inclusion as a necessary condition for achieving institutional excellence, and we strive to provide leadership that extends beyond the fulfillment of basic regulatory requirements. Every member of our campus community plays an integral role in contributing to our diversity and in addressing fundamental issues of bias and exclusion.
ABOUT THE GARDEN
The CSUN food garden was established to educate students about sustainable food gardening techniques and healthy food choices, to promote direct community involvement and provide service-learning opportunities. A food garden working group, chaired by Dr. Erica Wohldmann and Jean Porter, was started in July 2009. The group met with campus leaders and students to develop the CSUN food garden.
The garden is currently managed by Dr. Mario Giraldo and the food garden working group. A student assistant helps to maintain the garden together with dedicated volunteer students. With over 400 square feet of raised beds, more than a dozen fruit trees, and low-water irrigation, all built and planted by dedicated student, faculty, and staff volunteers the garden has grown tremendously and continues to thrive.
Location: The garden is located on the North East side of the California State University, Northridge campus between the baseball and softball fields and directly behind Northridge Academy High School. Find it on CSUN’s map. Visit the Garden Resources for information on organic food production, gardening.
Faculty Involvement: If you teach a course related to sustainability or want to bring your class outdoors to learn more about organic food production, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how to bring your class to the garden!
Students Service Learning: Students can do their service learning hours with the Institute for Sustainability, where working in the garden is one of the activities students will be engaged in.
CSUN continues to lead the way in sustainable energy practices by replacing inefficient light bulbs with light-emitting diode lights. LEDs have an average lifespan that is 25 times that of regular incandescent lights, while using 75% less energy in the process. That means a lower energy bill, fewer light bulbs in the trash, and no additional heat emitted from the bulb itself.
Several campus LED replacement projects are already completed, and pedestrians using Jacaranda, Cleary, and Lindley Walks enjoy the directional and crystal clear light overhead. The lighting along Cleary Walk is also “smart,” which means programmable, dimmable, and has motion and light sensors. Additional LEDs are installed in the B4 and B5 parking lots, outside University Hall, and next to Chicano House. Even swimmers using the campus pools enjoy the benefits of LEDs.
Implementing energy savings at home can be a costly affair, but it pays to start small by installing one LED light at a time. The higher upfront cost will be offset by the reduced energy consumption that follows. And keep in mind that you can take your LED lights with you when you move, and re-install them in your new place of residence. There are many LED light bulb models to choose from, and most are available in hardware stores. Great places for LEDs include the kitchen, bathroom, hallways, and even holiday lights.
A marketplace exclusively for CSUN students to buy, sell, or trade items with other CSUN students. The Matador Exchange is a market for items from furniture, electronics, and sports equipment to textbooks and school supplies. Sponsored by the Associated Students Environmental Affairs Committee. Based on sites like “Freecycle” and “Craigslist,” The Matador Exchange seeks to encourage students to reduce the waste of unneeded items that may be of use to other students.
Matasphere Themed Living Community
The Matasphere Themed Living Community (TLC) brings together students who are interested in sustainability and environmental conservation to plan and implement efforts to reduce waste and consumption here in Student Housing. Residents will be on the front lines of sustainability efforts in the residence halls, and will engage with community partners on new practices and programs to conserve resources.
Residents who live in the Matasphere TLC will pave the way for reduced energy consumption here in Student Housing and role model responsible behaviors and practices to limit excess waste for those living here in Housing.
A native plant is considered as a plant which has evolved to develop naturally in a particular region, with specific ecosystem or habitat without direct or indirect human intervention.
Native plants are also the backbone of CSUN’s Native Plant Restoration project where certain lawn areas are replaced with native plants to reduce maintenance and water cost. These plants, including succulents and chaparral, thrive in our climate without heavy doses of pesticides and fertilizers, and are far less water demanding than their imported relatives.
If you are interested in viewing some of CSUN's native and drought tolerant landscaping conversions, please click here.
How to start a native and drought tolerant garden?
Most of the nurseries offer a broad variety of native plants, to start a native plant garden you only need to know which plants are better adjusted to your location and select the one that suits your requirements.
The benefits of sticking to native plants for your garden–even if it’s just a few potted plants by your front door–are many.
The CSUN campus enjoys the benefits of multiple Photovoltaic installations, two of them covering busy parking lots where they also provide much-needed shade. The PV panels generate electricity as they absorb solar rays which are converted into alternating current and fed back to the campus power grid. Utilizing solar energy to keep campus buildings operational also reduces the reliance on electricity generated from non-renewable fossil fuels like natural gas or oil.
The first PV project was installed in 2003 and comprised more than 3,000 solar panels producing up to 225 kW of power, a $30,000 annual energy saving for the university. The second project was completed in 2005, and the electricity generated saves campus close to $70,000 annually. Other PV locations include the Student Recreation Center and the Boeing site.
Installing a solar farm in the back yard may be beyond the energy consumption of most people, but installing a few rooftop panels may be a great way to reduce your reliance on fossil fuels while shrinking your energy bill. There’s plenty of freely available information to help you decide if solar panels are right for you and your dwelling.
The Associated Students on campus is in charge of handling recyclables from CSUN students, faculty and staff offices, and student housing via the extensive Campus Recycling Services Program. Established in 1991, the program diverts recyclable products from landfills while also providing students with volunteer and leadership opportunities.
A wide variety of items can be recycled: bottles and cans, cell phones, laser and inkjet cartridges, office paper and cardboard, pallets, and recyclable waste from special events. To recycle batteries, visit the CSUN Environmental Health and Safety. The Associated Students provides a map that can help you locate your nearest recycling collection location. Students can also sell or donate their gently-used items to other CSUN students via the Matador Exchange website.
If you’re curious about recycling and would like to leave a smaller ecological footprint as you go about your business, then consider these easy options: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Simply reduce the amount of single-use items that you consume, find other ways to reuse items that you were about to discard, and either donate or recycle what you no longer want to keep.
For more information, see CSUN Transportation Services
A student exclusive ride matching system that allows you to connect with potential carpool partners at CSUN based on your location and schedule. Save money and the environment and make new friends by commuting to campus together!
Tree Campus USA
Tree Campus USA
CSUN received recognition for the first time as a Tree Campus USA in February 2015. This is a program that was developed by the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota. These two organizations came together to recognized Universities that properly care for and maintain their Urban Forest. These organizations developed 5 standards that each university must meet in order to be considered for recognition as a Tree Campus USA.
Standard 1 - Campus Tree Advisory Committee
A Campus Tree Advisory Committee comprised of members representing the diverse audience of those with a stake in campus trees is established and meets regularly. While responsibility of the campus trees often ultimately lies with the campus forester, arborist, landscape architect, or designated facilities department, the Campus Tree Advisory Committee can assist in providing guidance for future planning, approval of a comprehensive campus tree plan, education of the campus population as to the benefits of the campus trees, and development of connectivity to the community.
- CSUN Tree Advisory Committee (clickable link to a page with the below info)
- Committee Members
- Claudia Hasenhuttl
- Mario Giraldo
- Jim Logsdon
- Austin Eriksson
- Craig Crotty
- Committee Members
Standard 2 - Campus Tree Care Plan
A Campus Tree Care Plan should be flexible enough to fit the needs and circumstances of the particular campus. The Tree Care Plan should be goal oriented and provide the opportunity to set good policy and clear guidance for planting, maintaining, and removing trees. It also provides education to the campus community, citizens, contractors, and consultants about the importance of the campus forest and the protection and maintenance of trees as part of the growth and land development process.
- CSUN Urban Forest Management Plan
- Make the above a link to the document in the PDF I sent titles “Campus Tree Care Plan 1”
Standard 3 - Campus Tree Program with Dedicated Annual Expenditures
A college campus, to be designated a Tree Campus USA, must allocate finances for its annual campus tree program. Evidence should be shown that an annual work plan has been established and expenditures dedicated towards that work plan.
It is suggested, but not mandatory, that campuses work towards an annual expenditure of $3 per full-time enrolled student.
- 2014/15 Annual Expenditures
- Tree Planting and Initial Care Costs: $116,250
- Campus Tree Management Costs: $280,000
- Volunteer Time from Students and Civic Organizations: 2,835
- Total Calculated Costs: $460,179
Standard 4 - Arbor Day Observance
An Arbor Day observance provides a golden opportunity to educate the campus community to the benefits of the trees on their campus property and in the community. The Arbor Day observance can be on the campus or held in conjunction with the community where the campus is located. Your event may be held at an appropriate time for your campus.
- 2014/15 Arbor Day Event Pictures
Standard 5 - Service Learning Project
The Service Learning Project should be an outreach of the spirit of the Tree Campus USA initiative. This project should provide an opportunity to engage the student population with projects related to trees and can be part of a campus or community initiative. The project must be done within the course of the year application is submitted.
- 2014/15 Service Learning Pictures
Review & Confirm Details General Information
Your Contact Information
College or University Name: California State University Northridge
Name: Austin Eriksson
Title: Sustainability Program Manager
18111 Nordhoff Street Mail Drop # 8219
Northridge CA 91330
Communications Office Contact
Name: Jeffery Noblitt
Title: Associate VP, Marketing &
Title: CSUN President
18111 Nordhoff Street Office of the President
Northridge CA 91330
How did you hear about the Tree Campus USA program?:
arborday.org or arbordaynow.org
Recognition Event Date
Recognition Event: March 7, 2015
Date Committee Was Established: Oct 1, 2014
Meeting Dates for Application Year:
Nov 15, 2014
Claudia Hasenhuttl Claudia.Hasenhuttl.email@example.com
Mario Giraldo firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Logsdon James.email@example.com
Austin Eriksson firstname.lastname@example.org
Craig Crotty Craigcrotty@arborconsultant.com
Campus Tree Care Plan Establishment
Date the Campus Tree Care Plan Was Established: Oct 17, 2014
Campus Tree Care Plan:
Tree Planting and Initial Care Costs: $116,250
CampusTree Management Costs: $280,000
Volunteer Time from Students and Civic Organizations: 2,835
Other Costs: $0
Other Cost Description: n/a
Total Calculated Costs: $460,179
Additional Campus Details
Number of Trees Planted: 125
Number of Trees Removed: 95
Reason for Tree Removal: These trees were removed because of disease and age. It is important that these trees were removed because of safety concerns, being a heavily populated campus we can not afford to have the potential of a tree falling on our campus community.
Number of Trees Pruned: 750
Tree Canopy Cover Percent: 0%
Campus Population: 32,516
Date of the Event: Apr 28, 2014
Short Summary of the Event:
This event was held to recognize Arbor Day and Earth Day. It consisted of various environmental vendors and clubs supporting the event. They set up booths to discus and advertise what they were doing and y as well as how to get involved. The event also had games and events to attract interested parties. We also provided giveaways, crafts as well as music and live entertainment. One of the major companies that participated in this event was the Aquarium of the Pacific, who brought their display "on wheels". This event was sponsored by the Institute for Sustainability and our Associated Students.
Service Learning Project Details
Date of Service Learning Project: Apr 13, 2014
Short Summary of the Event:
The Institute for Sustainability at CSUN held two orange picks this past academic year. One was in September, which we had a small turn out of 30 students and there was 1,089 pounds of oranges picked. Another orange pick was in April which had a much larger turn out with 375 volunteers who picked 18,554 pounds of oranges. the fruit that was picked during these events was donated to local food banks. These two events lasted for 7 hours each! The University's Sustainability Institute also employs several students who work on various projects, including developing the Campus Tree Inventory and map.
Number of Students Involved: 405
Waste Minimization and Purchasing
- Request a bin to recycle bottles and cans and recycle old cell phones and toner cartridges through A.S. Campus Recycling Services: 677-4262; www.csunas.org/recycle
- Recycle old batteries through Environmental Health and Safety: 677-2401; http://www.csun.edu/ehs
- Buy environmentally preferred products from Office Max: www.officemaxworkplace.com