By Eric Sanchez |Staff Writer|
CSUSB joined the nation in celebrating the 41st annual Earth Day with games and entertainment as well as free recycling of electronic equipment on April 22.
Events were held throughout the campus to both educate people about the environment and bring people together.
“Our goal is to bring students and faculty together in unity, as well as eco-friendly businesses,” said Johnson Lo, president of World of Works (WOW), which organized one of the events.
WOW’s event included demonstrations from the Chemistry Club on water purification as well as live music and a display of hybrid vehicles from local dealerships.
Both the campus and local communities were also invited to recycle their used electronic equipment such as laptops and cell phones at no charge.
The recycling of such “e-waste” offers an alternative to simply throwing it away in traditional trash receptacles, which in California is illegal according to calrecycle.ca.gov.
“Electronic waste contains significant quantities of heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, as well as petroleum plastics, that can leach into our environment with unhealthful impacts,” said Michelle Dyck-Turner, CSUSB Utilities and Waste Management specialist.
The proceeds from items recycled Friday will benefit the United Way’s local 211 program, which is a 24-hour telephone referral service for people in San Bernardino County, said Dr. Diane Podolske, director of CSUSB’s Community-University Partnerships (CUP).
The service helps people with such diverse issues as domestic violence and finding free health clinics as well as environmental issues, Podolske said.
Other organizations on campus focused on a resource conservation message.
“We are trying to get people to be more cognitive of the energy they are using,” said Michel’le Jones, Green Campus intern.
Green Campus encouraged students to sign a pledge to practice conservation techniques in their daily lives such as taking shorter showers.
CSUSB is one of eight campuses in the CSU that offer Green Campus, which is a student-led initiative that promotes energy efficiency outreach through educational campaigns, as stated in the CSU report “The CSU Commitment to Sustainability”.
All of this coincides with the CSU’s month-long focus on sustainability issues in which energy independence endeavors throughout the system are highlighted.
The CSU is focusing on reducing its carbon footprint by utilizing several types of alternative energy sources on its campuses.
Solar power capacity at the CSU has more than doubled in the past five years, and it is proposed to double again by the end of 2012, according to a CSU press release.
“Universities are the training ground for a better, greener future,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed in the release. “We teach our students to deal with tomorrow’s problems and our campuses are living laboratories of sustainable practices.”
The sustainability report showed that CSUSB is the only CSU campus to obtain portions of its energy from both photovoltaic solar panels and wind turbines.
According to a CSUSB press release, a fuel cell which is another type of alternative energy producer will be installed on campus in early 2012.
Exactly 41 years after the first Earth Day took place, the words of its founder still rings true here on campus.
“If we could tap into the environmental concerns of the general public and infuse the student anti-war energy into the environmental cause, we could generate a demonstration that would force the issue onto the national political agenda.”
Look to Omar Guzman’s article for what steps California is doing to bring environmental issues to the forefront of the nation’s political agenda