SF State celebrates Earth Month

SF State will celebrate Earth Month with two events designed to build community and showcase the University's commitment to sustainability.

The first event, the sixth annual Farm to Fork lunch, will take place April 16. A vegetarian meal made exclusively of organic food grown within 250 miles of campus will be prepared by Chartwells and served on the quad.

A photo of people eating lunch on the quad during Farm to Fork 2014.

The annual Farm to Fork lunch will take place on the quad on April 16.

"It's a good chance for attendees to interact with people from other parts of campus, and we also get a lot of people who are new to vegetarian food," said Sustainability Coordinator Nick Kordesch. "Having the lunch right on the quad, with the tables decorated nicely, is a fun and friendly way to bring attention to food choices."

Tickets to one of Farm to Fork's two seatings, held at noon and 12:30 p.m., cost $8. They are available in person at the Bursar's Office or on the web at https://commerce.cashnet.com/FARMTOFORK.

On April 21, the campus will celebrate Earth Day on Malcolm X Plaza. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., student organizations and local nonprofits will provide information about various sustainability efforts in the Bay Area as well as opportunities to get involved though volunteering, internships and jobs.

"Sustainability isn't just a hobby, it's a response to the most critical issue of our time, and though any environmentalist would say, 'Every day is Earth Day,' it's valuable to focus on the issue on a designated day to bring more people into the conversation," said Liana Derus, sustainability manager for Associated Students. "We want to make this event interactive and fun for the entire SF State community so we can talk about an important issue in a way that is accessible to everyone. "

While Earth Day puts sustainability in the spotlight during the month of April, SF State is focused year-round on making the campus more environmentally friendly. Recent and upcoming initiatives include:

  • Installing "smart" irrigation controllers that can be controlled via a computer or smartphone. The controllers monitor the weather and water flow and can automatically turn on and off by determining how much water the landscape needs and how much water is being used. A pilot of the new technology on the Maloney baseball field has resulted in a 30 percent reduction in water use, and the University plans to have most lawns and flowerbeds onto the new system by the end of this year.
  • Three bike fix-it stations that will be up and running by the summer, making it easy for bicycle commuters to perform minor repairs like changing a flat tire or adjusting their seat. One station will be located near the bike racks by the administration building, another at the West Campus Green and the third outside the Bike Barn. A 2014 survey showed that nearly four percent of SF State's 33,000 students, faculty and staff commute to campus by bike, and 7.3 percent of the campus community uses a bicycle at some point during their commute.
  • Three new water bottle filling stations currently being installed at Cox Stadium, Mahoney Field and the West Campus Green, which will help encourage students and others to bring reusable water bottles to campus rather than purchase plastic bottled water.
A photo of food served during the 2014 Farm to Fork lunch.

As during last year's event, the Farm to Fork lunch will feature an organic, vegetarian meal prepared from locally grown ingredients.

SF State will also host the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference from July 20 to 24. Nearly 1,000 representatives from University of California, California State University, community and private college campuses are expected to attend.

"Universities are a place where we should be trying out new sustainable technologies and policies," Kordesch said. "SF State is committed to sustainability, and it's important to our mission."

The University's new strategic plan calls for SF State to become a nationally recognized leader in campus environmental sustainability.

To learn more about SF State's sustainability initiatives, visit http://sustain.sfsu.edu

-- Jonathan Morales