Cougars Creating a Sustainable Campus


Save the trees. Save the Amazon. Think about the sea turtles.

You might have heard these phrases in the past couple of months, all of them concerning the environment and the sustainability of the place we call home. Advocating for and spreading the word concerning this issue has spread in a multitude of ways. Through doing so, we learn from each other and find new ways to create a more sustainable environment.

As a community, we have done a great job spreading sustainability awareness on our campus. All around campus and in every building, there are trash bins and recycle bins. Although that is typical with every college campus, the bins at CSUSM have little reminders on them as to what we can and can’t recycle, which helps maintain sustainability awareness. 

It isn’t that hard for students here to establish a sustainable environment. Everywhere you look, there is someone holding a Hydro Flask (me being one of those people) or fellow students drinking their Starbucks with a reusable straw (or completely-straw-free with their new sippy cup format). From my observations, we are on the right track to creating a sustainable culture on campus.

There are clubs students can join that advocate for the sustainability of the environment. The Environmental Stewards Association is an organization on campus comprised of a collection of four such clubs that, at one point, individually advocated for environmentalism and sustainability.

Administrators are also playing a part in creating a sustainable community.The establishment of the Sustainability Program has aided in the effort to spread awareness through social justice, student engagement and service-learning. The program partners with different organizations and academic departments that are as equally passionate to maintain a sustainable environment on and off campus.

In addition to the Sustainability Program on campus, CSUSM created a Sustainability Master Plan: a detailed roadmap to “provide clear holistic guidance on how [our] sustainability goals will be achieved and how the plan aligns with and meets the needs of the CSUSM mission and priorities.” The plan aligns itself with the California State University Systemwide Sustainability Policy, which states that the CSU “will pursue sustainable practices in all areas of the university,” including student services, food services, information technology and facilities operations along with student housing, student unions and parking.

The CSU System has also implemented the Single-Use Plastics Policy which has been in place since Jan. 2019. CSUSM has been complicit with this policy as the campus uses compostable straws and does not give out plastic bags at restaurants on campus or at the university bookstore. By 2023, the university plans to eliminate the sale and distribution of single-use water bottles on campus.

As you can see, CSUSM is doing everything and anything possible to maintain a sustainable campus. With support from the administration, the goal to create an eco-friendly campus is well on its way. Hopefully these efforts create an impact outside of our little university upon a hill and spread to other communities.

Let’s keep it up Cougars!