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What is Sustainability?
The term was originally applied to the conservation of natural resources from a long term perspective. Today it is routinely applied to many disciplines, including economic development, the environment, safety and health, food production, energy use, land use policies and social organization. Sustainability and sustainable development refer to the attitude and discipline of seeing the end from the beginning or by thinking "cradle to cradle" rather than "cradle to grave". In other words, making today's decisions without compromising future generation's needs. The campus has named Edward Johnson as our Sustainability Officer, and their web page on sustainability can be found on their website.
California State University San Marcos’ Commitment to Sustainability
Because there will always be new and better ways to become more sustainable, we are building a sustainable campus - invoking the multitude of meanings for this verb. California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) is committed to continuously assessing current practices in order to incorporate best available technologies into University sustainability efforts.
We will view our efforts as part of a continual improvement process. The implementation of sustainable practices should not be considered an extra activity or appendage. Conversely, the campus will begin to incorporate these practices into our operational activities and in the basic design for construction, and renovation of facilities. It is prudent to identify and track critical performance indicators which are used to keep these practices and strategies on course.
Our focus includes, but is not limited to, the following indicator categories:
Risk Management and Safety (Environmental, Health and Safety Programs)
A comprehensive Risk Management program involves planning, organizing, leading, and controlling operations of the University to minimize the adverse effects of accidental and avoidable losses while promoting activities that support the educational objectives of the University. Risk Management efforts focus on minimizing risk through an understanding of the University’s risk appetite and strategic objectives. It involves risk identification, analysis, recommendation of techniques and monitoring techniques to ensure their success.
An important facet of sustainability is the health and safety of campus human resources (Employees & Students). CSUSM’s Health and Safety programs protect the physical health of the entire campus population, ensuring a safe and welcoming environment for faculty, staff, students, and visitors. Significant resources are committed to indoor and outdoor air quality along with ergonomic programs.
-Workers Compensation (RM&S)
-Risk Assessments & Loss Control (Fiscal resources)
-Management of Environmental, Health and Safety regulatory compliance. Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, OSHA (Human and Environmental Resources)
-Safety Training and the Injury Illness Prevention Program (RM&S)
Academics and Governance
We promote and support campus activities that achieve economic vitality, environmental health, strong families, and communities. We encourage stakeholder, internal and external involvement. Committees that address Campus Risk Management, Radiation Safety, Chemical Hygiene and Environmental Health and Occupational Safety are managed by RM&S as part of Financial & Administrative Services Division. RM&S will be researching sustainability systems such as the Environmental Management System recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for Colleges and Universities.
We promote excellence in learning and responsibility for the environment, with a commitment to preserving our resources as an inheritance for future generations.
All colleges, schools, and program centers on the campus strive to infuse their organizations and educational activities with sustainability strategies that improve economic development, environmental health, campus safety, food production safety, energy conservation and social organization.
CSUSM is committed to preserving our natural resources, which is a key feature of sustainability. Where practical, we utilize renewable energy sources to reduce costs and energy use.
We maintain and promote a computerized energy management system designed to reduce the amount of energy use as is reasonably possible considering occupant comfort and program needs.
When replacing and repairing worn out or damaged equipment, facilities personnel strive to identify replacements and apply techniques and technologies that reduce the consumption of energy.
Such equipment includes installing motion sensors that turn off lights when rooms are unoccupied; replacing old lamps and ballasts with the most energy-efficient lighting systems available; turning off heating and cooling systems after hours; maintaining temperatures within certain parameters; installing high efficiency motors and boiler systems; taking advantage of new strategies as they are available and shown to be reliable.
Planning, New Construction & Building Renewal
CSU System Sustainability web page
In keeping with this commitment, we use building design techniques and guidelines, such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and the NFPA 70E Standards, to construct new buildings and remodel existing facilities.
The Office of Procurement and individual departments who do their own ordering are committed to implementing technologies that promote the purchase and use of goods that are made from recycled materials and renewable resources. Working with our purchasing partners and vendors, we implement policies and procedures that ensure that all hazardous materials, whether for academic or maintenance purposes, are acquired in amounts that serve but do not exceed our needs.
Campus efforts focus on purchasing materials that are environmentally friendly and can be easily and efficiently recycled. In this manner, we reduce the amount of waste generated by the campus. Educational programs implement micro-laboratory/chemistry techniques in the chemistry department that reduce the amount of non-renewable materials purchased and hazardous wastes produced.
Recycling and Waste Management
Campus programs promote the collection and recycling of beverage containers, paper, tires, waste oil, metals, green waste and other recyclable products. Construction projects are carefully monitored to ensure their work is done in accordance with environmental best practices.
All campus organizations at CSUSM are actively engaged in reducing the consumption of natural resources through the implementation of conservation strategies, which include: Reducing the use of resources, reusing materials and equipment to the fullest extent possible and recycling all materials that can be recycled. CSUSM is a five time winner of the National Recycle-mania collegiate competition, and this clearly demonstrates the commitment of the Campus Community in protecting ongoing sustainable resources.
The campus maintains active recycling and hazardous waste management programs. Waste streams (municipal, hazardous, universal, etc.) are separated to promote the recycling of used materials to the highest degree possible.
Creative and environmentally friendly techniques (e.g., a paperless work environment) are promoted in our classrooms, in the administration of the institution and in our facilities construction and maintenance functions.
Easy access to refuse and recycling containers throughout the campus promotes the proper disposal of waste, as even cigarette butts, paper and chewing gum have the potential to enter into and diminish the beauty of our environment and the health of the local streams, lakes storm water and sewage drain systems.
Parking and Transportation
Parking and Transportation Services promotes the benefits of alternative transportation and carpooling. Their efforts result in reduced vehicle and highway use, reduced air pollution and reduced personal transportation costs. The campus has a large fleet of alternative fuel vehicles which conform to the vision and best practices of sustainability. Our Bike to Work and Sprinter connections provide viable alternatives to CSUSM personnel who can utilize these modes of transportation.
The collaboration of Facility Services, Planning Design and Construction with Risk Management and Safety in addressing storm and waste water management programs, along with our spill prevention program, protects the local streams and on Campus wetlands from potentially harmful constituents that can flow into local water systems as a result of our operational activities.