Sustainability at Sonoma State University

Whereas, in 1987 the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development introduced the term Sustainability—now commonly used as in the present context—when it declared that “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."1 And,

Whereas, SonomaState University embraces principles of sustainable development that promote:

A vital and sustainable economy based on the “triple bottom line” (attention to environmental, social, and financial performance).
Commitment to social justice that includes the rights of future generations.

Respect and care for the greater community of life in all its diversity, including protection and restoration of the earth's ecosystems. And,

Whereas, the Talloires Declaration (2) and American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (3) can serve as guiding documents to SonomaState University in these efforts. And,

Whereas, SonomaState University aspires to be a national and international model for sustainable practices in all dimensions of its operations (teaching, research, business and finance). And,

Whereas, SonomaState University has an obligation to help prepare citizens for participation in a democratic society. And,

Whereas, SonomaState University has an obligation to help students become environmentally literate citizens who understand the principles of sustainability. And,

Whereas, the State of California has adopted Executive Order S-20-04 (4), which recognizes that state institutions such as the California State University are major consumers of energy and natural resources, and asks these institutions to reduce the use of non-renewable resources as well as increase energy efficiency. And,

Whereas, the State of California has adopted Executive Order S-3-05 (5), which recognizes that California is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and that we must take action to reduce the use of fossil fuels and reduce our carbon footprint. And,

Whereas, the California State University has an obligation to the citizens of the state of California to be wise stewards of scarce resources and to assure the continued economic and ecological viability of the state. Be it therefore

Resolved that the SonomaState University Academic Senate support actions to make climate neutrality and sustainability a part of the curriculum (including campus facilities and grounds as learning laboratories) and other educational experiences for all students. And be it further

Resolved that the SonomaState University Academic Senate support the expansion of research or other efforts necessary to achieve climate neutrality and sustainability including sustainability practices on the SSU Campus. And be it further

Resolved that the Sonoma State University Academic Senate charge the Structure and Functions subcommittee to explore the appropriateness of, and charge to, a Committee on Sustainability as described in the Addendum. And be it further

Resolved that the SonomaState University Academic Senate call upon the California State University to make sustainability a major focus in its new strategic plan. And be it further

Resolved that the SonomaState University Academic Senate transmit this resolution to President Ruben Armiñana, Chancellor Charles B. Reed, and to the Board of Trustees of the California State University.

ADDENDUM

Committee on Sustainability:

1. Sustainability refers to practices designed to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It encompasses teaching, research, and practice in a variety of areas including but not limited to policy development, building design and construction, waste management and recycling, energy production and use, water use, and transportation.

2. The charge to a standing or ad hoc Committee or Subcommittee on Sustainability could include:

  • Coordinating various planning efforts in the sustainability area.
  • Study sustainability issues related to the campus and make recommendations to improve sustainable practices,
  • Receive copies of executive orders or other instructions to the campus dealing with sustainability and report on them to the senate,
  • Develop resources to assist faculty wishing to undertake research or propose curriculum in sustainability,
  • Maintain a sustainability web site.

3. Such a committee should explore with the administration and the Associated Students the feasibility of a campus sustainability coordinator position.

4. In the interim, the Sustainability Work Group, which began as a subcommittee charged with making recommendations to the University Planning Steering Committee (UPSC) in the Sustainability Goal area of the University Strategic Plan, will continue to coordinate and support sustainability initiatives on campus and to maintain the SSU Sustainability Web Site.

Rationale:

1. Sustainability has become a national and state-wide concern. In response, the CSU has issued Executive Order 987 (6) and established a Sustainability Advisory Committee. The State and the CSU Chancellor’s Office have mandated specific sustainability goals. It is important that the University Senate be kept aware of the issues in order to participate in these conversations.

2. Given its faculty and resources, Sonoma State is in a position to become a leader in research and teaching on sustainability and to help the community benefit from our expertise.

3. The Sustainability Work Group currently involves representatives of various campus constituencies committed to sustainability, and it invites the participation of other interested programs and groups.

Notes

  1. http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=23543&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html
  2. http://www.ulsf.org/programs_talloires.html
  3. http://www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org/
  4. http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/energy/ExecOrderS-20-04.htm
  5. http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/energy/ExecOrderS-3-05.htm
  6. Executive Order 987 Policy Statement on Energy Conservation, Sustainable Building Practices, and Physical Plant Management for the California State University

Approved by the Senate on February 21, 2008