The Associated Students Green Love Commission hosted “Building a More Sustainable Future” on Nov. 13 in the Aztec Student Union theatre. The event was a part of the Green Lunch Bag series that features monthly speakers who present on sustainability.
The event educated students on how to make existing buildings more sustainable and energy-efficient, in addition to how buildings can get Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified.
“When I see people work together, that’s when I have the most hope (for the Earth’s future),” A.S. Green Love Sustainability Commissioner Courtney Ransom said. “When they work hard, they make hope exist. Without passionate people, there wouldn’t be hope.”
LEED certification is granted based on buildings or neighborhoods’ construction and design and how energy efficient they are, San Diego Green Building Council Community Coordinator Bridget Rickman said. Buildings have surpassed cars in carbon dioxide emissions and the LEED standards continually evolves to hold buildings to a higher and higher standard, Rickman said.
The speakers for this series are chosen based on environmental topics pitched by students. Through incentives such as free pizza and extra credit for classes, Green Love, which has one of the biggest commissions in A.S., has increased attendance significantly through the semester.
“It’s super cool to see students so into it,” Ransom said. “Today we’re learning about green buildings, and it’s really cool because this semester, all our A.S. buildings got LEED certified of gold or better. Students set that goal in 2009 when they first instituted all the green A.S. programs … It’s super cool to see that finally happen.”
Ackerstein Sustainability President Dan Ackerstein spoke about making existing buildings more green and energy efficient.
“We don’t have time to design our way out of this problem,” Ackerstein said. “We must adapt existing buildings.”
SDSU buildings that meet LEED standards include the Aztec Student Union, the Mission Bay Aquatic Center, the Aztec Recreation Center, the Children’s Center, the Viejas Arena and the Aztec Aquaplex.
Despite the increased emphasis on sustainable development around campus, Ackerstein said environmental work will be met with protests in whatever field students go into.
“Every step of the way, people will resist environmental changes,” Askerstein said. “It’s not glamorous work, but it is important work.”
He also said not to forget their role in the move towards sustainability happening in many job fields. He urged them to continue modeling sustainable behavior, like using reusable water bottles, and to being advocates for the cause.
Ackerstein said career opportunities in sustainability are increasing rapidly. Students who interned at sustainability companies also got jobs right after graduation, Ackerstein said.
“There’s room in this field for all different skill sets you can offer,” he said.
Many goals for sustainability include getting buildings to create net positive energy, Rickman said.
Different rating systems also take into consideration how buildings can benefit people’s mental health and creativity. Architects and engineers are designing buildings to support better mental health since most people spend about 90% of their time indoors and are substantially affected by their environment, Rickman said. Some features include allowing more natural light in buildings to foster more motivation, she said.
“When I thought about buildings before, I never thought about how they affected us environmentally,” international business in Latin America transfer student Lino Ponce said. “So much waste is coming out of buildings.”