San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

SDSU Sustainability Summit showcases university’s eco-friendly ambitions

Students, staff, faculty and alumni gathered to discuss the progress and future of campus sustainability solutions
Student leaders took part in a panel session about student sustainability efforts. Courtesy of San Diego State University.

San Diego State University community members came together to explore campus sustainability practices at the second annual Sustainability Summit in Montezuma Hall on April 17.

The event was broken into four sections, covering various aspects of campus sustainability. Audience members learned about research and campus curriculum advances in sustainability, green building at SDSU, the school’s Climate Action Plan and student leadership.

At the beginning of the event, four members of the SDSU community were awarded as inaugural SDSU Sustainability Champions. 

The awards were presented in four categories: staff, faculty, students and alumni. 

Glen Brandenburg, Geoffrey Chase, Antonella Girogi and McKenna Avery were recognized for their outstanding efforts in sustainability.

After reviewing SDSU’s faculty work on sustainability in classrooms, members of the planning, design and construction team took the stage to present green building plans.

Antonella Giorgi, Associated Students Green Love commissioner, Charlotte Roberts, Green Love advisor, and the Associate Director of Facilities and Sustainability for A.S., Reggie Cabanilla, joined the panel to discuss sustainable implications behind the Aztec Recreation Center.

“From the beginning of the project until opening the new facility completely in 2022, students were involved in designing and constructing the building to the highest possible sustainability standards,” Cabanilla said.

Construction of the ARC focused on making the building as efficient and sustainable as possible to ensure it has a low environmental impact. Further initiatives are being introduced to make the facility more eco-friendly, such as the implementation of additional solar panels.

In the last session, students of all majors and several sustainability groups on campus took the stage to speak about student initiatives and perspectives. 

The reach of sustainability also goes beyond the student organizations and majors. Various faculty roles and departments are looking to implement more sustainable practices into their positions.

Abigail Hernandez works in the Business Financial Affairs Division in the Department of Shared Services at SDSU. She attended the Sustainability Summit because her department recently incorporated sustainability into their mission statement. 

Hernandez wanted to gain inspiration on how to develop more green and efficient ideas in her department. 

“I really appreciate everyone’s research, and that they didn’t say that sustainability was just a checkbox, but something that we’re all working toward,” Hernandez said. “It’s our goal to make our lives sustainable, not just to say, ‘Cool, we checked a box, we can move on.’”

Similarly to the students on the panel, Hernandez believes that sustainability is vital across the board.

“San Diego is a huge hub of innovation and new tech. We need to be able to have all of these new students that are going into the workforce understand that sustainability is super important,” Hernandez said. 

At the end of the event, emcees Jessica Whiteside and Associated Students’ incoming President Kat Hernandez provided an overview. 

While acknowledging that the climate crisis can be overwhelming and scary, Whiteside also recognized progress on campus and viable solutions. 

“Here in Southern California, we’re in an area that has tremendous amounts of hazards — both natural and human-induced. We heard about some of those today, but we’re focusing really on solutions,” Whiteside said.

The screen projected initiatives that are already underway on campus and day-to-day steps anyone can take to be more sustainable, including, composting, thrifting and donating to organizations promoting sustainability.

“Please consider donating to the SDSU Campus Sustainability Project Fund or asking someone you know who has a bigger wallet to do so to amplify your impact,” Whiteside said.

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to review the university’s sustainability strategic plan and share their input online for its next phase.