This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series May 2016


by Tonie Miyamoto and Carol Dollard
Co-Chairs, President’s Sustainability Committee

Since our first campus farm started in 1870, Colorado State has fulfilled its land grant mission with hands-on education and engagement on campus, across Colorado, and around the world.

Today, CSU is recognized as a leader in the field of sustainability. We are the first institution in the world to earn a Platinum STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System) score and one of just five institutions to earn a Platinum Bicycle Friendly Campus designation. Our research in smart-grid technology, food security, climate change, and water patterns has local and global impacts. More than a third of our academic courses incorporate sustainability, and 86 percent of CSU students say that sustainability is important to them. Sustainability majors and minors are available in all eight colleges and 90 percent of our academic departments are engaged in sustainability research.

While we celebrate our progress, we also recognize that the increasing pressures of a growing population and a changing climate make sustaining and enhancing the environment, ensuring human well-being, and balancing economic growth top priorities. What sets CSU apart is our collective approach to these challenges — we don’t have one office or one person on campus responsible for sustainability. We are all responsible, individually and collectively, to act.

We believe it is our responsibility, and our privilege, to engage CSU students in a deeper level of sustainability knowledge that we hope will stay with them throughout their lives. Experiential education and service learning — through field courses at our Mountain Campus, alternative breaks, and immersive trips abroad — are core to our mission to connect classroom learning with real-world application.

Through CSU’s Commitment to Colorado, one out of every four CSU students is a first-generation student. We believe that access to a college education and a lifelong connection to our campus community is the first step in ensuring that all of our students leave CSU with a holistic definition of sustainability that acknowledges the precarious balance between our environment, social justice, and economic growth.

Our recent achievements also remind us that we have a long way to go and we must consider future generations as our campus grows. CSU has committed to reducing our net carbon emissions 75 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050. The energy-efficient buildings we are constructing today are just the first step in saving precious resources down the road. The sustainable transportation infrastructure we are creating on campus now is just one part of the revolution needed to change greenhouse gas projections. Our research and application of renewable energies is just one aspect of a global challenge to identify long-term energy solutions.

The technologies we are researching in our labs today will provide answers for tomorrow’s challenges, and our students are tomorrow’s leaders who will guide preservation and progress in ways we cannot imagine today.

We invite you to join us in our mission to enhance, nurture, and grow our State of Sustainability.