Sustainability has become a growing topic for college campuses across the United States, and Cal Poly Pomona is no exception.

The university has made it its mission to incorporate and teach sustainable practices throughout the campus.

“Sustainability occurs on campus every day, whether it’s in the form of sustainable outdoor trash can liners, receptacles for plastic bottles, the LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] certified buildings or the water treatment plant on campus,” said Monika Kamboures, Sustainability Coordinator.

“It’s not just a concept, it’s a way of life.”

Students can do their part by disposing of trash in the appropriately marked cans. (Melissa Lopez | The Poly Post)

The way of life has prompted the university to set and strive for goals that will positively impact the planet for the better, all while doing its part.

President Soraya M. Cole signed the Carbon Commitment, pledging to end CPP’s greenhouse gas emissions over the years to come.

The pledge includes but is not limited to: creating an expected date and milestones along the way to becoming climate neutral within two years, establishing a climate task force in charge of actualizing the commitment and incorporating sustainability into the curriculum, and educational experience.

“We’re making progress, but we still have work to do in order to reach the 50 percent reduction by 2020,” Kamboures said.

However sustainability is nothing new to the campus.

Facilities Planning and Management, in 2009 installed a 500-gallon biodiesel tank which would provide fuel to many of its vehicles and all its landscaping equipment.

In 2011 CPP became the first public university in California to complete the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System report, earning a silver rating.

Just last year, Building 80 was awarded the 2017 Sustainability Innovation Award for Health and Well-being to the Collins College of Hospitality Management by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Los Angeles Chapter.

The building was certified LEED Gold.

The university knows that it can’t do this alone, which is why it is informing and motivating the campus community more than ever to get involved.

Earth Week began Monday and several student organizations have already taken initiative.

Liz Acuna, a fourth-year biotechnology student and President of the Science Council is excited to get students involved in the university’s sustainability efforts.

“We really want students to know that contributing to this effort can be really easy and fun at the same time,” Acuna said.

“Committing to this only means even better practices by future generations.”

She, along with the rest of her council, will be asking people to participate in decorating 100 percent degradable bird houses, which they will later hang in the Rain Bird BioTrek.

Students have shown interest in the cause through various friendly competitions as well.

From Jan. 23 to Feb. 23, Alamitos, Aliso, Cedritos and Palmitas residence halls aimed to lower their power usage in attempts to win the Bronco Energy Trophy.

Last year, 773 kilowatt hours were saved by the residence halls in the competition.

Cedritos won the trophy for 2017.

In the latest competition, the City of Pomona is asking for help from residents in University Housing.

Residents are currently participating in the Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation.

The month-long competition seeks to help Pomona win the crown of the most water conscious city in the country.

The competition is open to residents in the Residence Halls, University Suites, the John T. Lyles Center for Regenerative Studies and University Village.

Participating residents are eligible to win $5,000 toward their utility payments.

The challenge ends April 30.

Kelly Knowles, a second-year environmental biology student, has taken notice of the several things the university is doing towards becoming more sustainable.

“Our school is doing really well in acting sustainably as they compost a majority of the food waste in the Village and the pumpkin patch,” Knowles said.

“This is a much better alternative than sending it to landfills.”

The campus community can help decrease CPP’s carbon footprint by participating in the following:

  • Turn off unnecessary power draining sources.
  • Choose vegan and vegetarian food option, whenever possible.
  • Take public transportation or carpool. If driving is a must, consider electric vehicles for transportation. Walking or riding a bike will always be preferable.
  • Limit water usage to only essential tasks.
  • Recycle and put waste in respective bins.

Although sustainability efforts have been implemented into the university, the only way change will be made is if the campus community makes it a priority.

“Through the programing we’re doing and partnership with various student organizations on campus, we can plan the future growth of the university for the next generations of students,” Kamboures said.

For more information about what CPP is doing to reach sustainability visit, http://www.cpp.edu/~sustainability/

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