Chico State hosts open sustainability forum


Multiple discussion groups took place in small groups. Photo credit: Julian Mendoza

An open forum was held in Colusa Hall on Tuesday to discuss measures to move campus in a more sustainable direction. The goal of the forum was to hear ideas from Chico State affiliates and community members. It featured small group discussions about different topics.


A group of people in one of the small group discussions. Photo credit: Julian Mendoza

Each topic had its own table with a leader describing its general theme while gathering information given by attendees. The topics of discussion and their hosts were:

  • Education (Nate Millard).
  • Climate Action Plan (Jason Whitely).
  • Conference (Cindy Daley).
  • Innovation (Eli Goodsell).
  • Civic Engagement (Susan Roll).
  • Student Engagement (Denise Crosswhite).
  • Adaptation and Resilience (Cheri Chastain)
Another small group discussion. Photo credit: Julian Mendoza

“Last year, the university dissolved the Institute for Sustainable Development,” said Mark Stemen, a professor in the Geography and Planning Department. “So this is a forum—this is the second of two forums—to try to figure out how to re-envision and repurpose our sustainability efforts on the campus.”

Stemen said cutting the institute seemed to be a cost-saving measure, but one taken with no plan as to what is going to happen next.

“I, with my colleague, Jeni Kitchel, who was the Interim Chief Financial Officer, have been working to revitalize the campus’s approach to sustainability,” said Debra Larson, Provost and Vice President for student affairs.

Larson said that this was part of engaging the campus after recognizing that there needed to be more focus on sustainability.

Chico State students also shared their ideas and future plans at the event.

“I guess at the student level offer my opinions and my ideas as to how I would want to see our campus transform in the future,” said Tania Ruiz, Chico State Associate Students Commissioner of Sustainability.

Chico State student Jessica Rodriguez described a project in one of her classes where they are trying to incorporate climate change into every major on campus. They are currently figuring out how to implement this idea.

In the final 10 minutes of the event, the room went quiet so the leader of each small group could announce which ideas they felt were important enough to be heard by the room.

Julian Mendoza can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JulianMTheOrion