SSU’s ‘Do One Thing Today’ program to promote sustainability
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Look around the Sonoma State University campus this week and you will see bright yellow and blue posters that read “Do One Thing Today.” That poster is the new face of “Sustainable SSU” to highlight the campus’ sustainable accomplishments.

“Do One Thing Today/Sustainable SSU” campaign was created to connect and inform the SSU community about sustainable efforts across campus, from classrooms to research to facilities to Earth Day events to semester-end-move-out-of-the-dorms recycling drives to policy discussions and more.

“Do One Thing Today” or “DOTT” was developed in February when several faculty, students and staff made a short video about sustainability on the SSU campus.  There are many substantial achievements in sustainability for which SSU can be proud. But there is a sense that SSU’s efforts are sometimes disconnected.

“There are many things going on (in sustainability), but each thing is separate so we don’t know what others are doing,” said Allison Jenks of Associated Students. “There are student activities through JUMP, composting in dining, an AS resolution about more water bottle filling stations, and students farming food that students eat in the kitchens. It just seems we need a way to connect all the parts.”

That sentiment was echoed by Provost Andrew Rogerson who said, “Sustainability is the best kept secret on campus.”

Working with the East Bay consultants Green Flash, the tagline “Do One Thing Today” was created to bring the campus community together as a means of advocating even more sustainable action and engagement on campus and in the community.

For example, next week is Earth Week.  Associated Students has organized a week of events including an Earth Day Fair on Tuesday, April 22. The Fair will be held in the plaza between Darwin and Stevenson Hall from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and will feature live music and a Tesla “S” car.

Other actions and events planned for the week are a Santa Rosa Creek cleanup, a plastic bag and clothing drive, a nutrition workshop and a Toward Route Zero College Sustainability Tour.  Event times are posted on the Sustainable SSU website.

Paulette Loubet, Director of Sustainability for Join Us Making Progress (JUMP) has been working with Nicole Hendry from Housing Services and Facilities Management to increase student participation in recycling and waste diversion during move-out week.

On Thursday and Friday of Move Out Week (May 8 and 9) from 11a.m.-5 p.m., student volunteers groups will be stationed near the resident buildings to help direct students to sustainably dispose of their unwanted goods. Four “team captains” will have volunteers by the dumpsters and laundry rooms to help students with recycling.

Another accomplishment is recent building construction and renovation. The new Student Center, Darwin Hall, Salazar Hall, Tuscany and Beaujolais Villages and the Environmental Technology Center are designed to a LEED Silver Standard. The Recreation Center is designed to Platinum Standard. LEED stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” and is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.

Earlier this spring, the Sustainability Executive Committee and WATERS Collaborative announced four “Sustainability in the Classroom “ awards to support faculty in developing course content on sustainability topics.

Grant recipients were announced last week and include Drs. Ben Ford, Sunil Tiwari, and Martha Shott of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics for “Mathematical and Statistical Modeling” (MATH 470); Dr. Merlin M. Hanauer of the Department of Economics for “Sustainability Intelligence” (BUS 555); Drs. Martha Shott of Mathematics and Statistics and Nathan Rank of the Department of Biology for “A Watershed Year” (SCI 120A/B with extensions to MATH 160: “Pre-calculus”) and Dr. John Sullins III of the Department of Philosophy for “Ethical Analysis of Sonoma County Water Use” (PHIL 301).

These new courses add to more than 35 existing courses in sustainability offered at SSU in disciplines as diverse as Environmental Studies, Geology, Biology, Economics, Communications Studies, Philosophy, Geology, Anthropology, Political Science, Sociology, and Liberal Studies.

The new courses will be presented to the campus at a “Sustainability Expo” to be held at the GMC on Oct. 21. Courses with water-related issues also will be presented at the SSU Science Symposium with other WATERS Collaborative posters to be held at the Student Center in April of 2015.

The “DOTT” effort follows last year’s successful “Water Works” campaign led by engaged faculty and students Schools of Science and Technology, Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences and the WATER Collaborative through live performances, lectures, art exhibits and poster sessions.SSU Director of Sustainability Paul Draper said, “When I started in this post I had an inkling of what many were doing through the Sustainability Work Group, the work on campus buildings and student activities through JUMP. I have since learned that there is so much more to celebrate and encourage. It is evident that a lot of folks are doing a lot of things, not just one thing, and not just for a day.  So Sustainable SSU needed a visual and media strategy to connect all the different efforts.  “Do One Thing Today” is intended to connect the dots…pun intended,” Draper said. 

For more info, contact Draper at paul.draper@sonoma.edu.

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