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SF State Magazine highlights University’s environmental efforts

New issue focuses on Gators thinking globally and acting locally (and beyond)

SF State Magazine’s Fall/Winter 2023 issue puts the environment in the spotlight. Now available online, the issue includes articles about the many ways San Francisco State University alumni, students and faculty are working to explore and protect the planet.

In some ways San Francisco State’s best-kept secret, the Sierra Nevada Field Campus gets some much-deserved attention in a feature story about this bastion of earth science, art and learning in the middle of the wilderness. Another feature, “Money Matters,” explores the ways forward-thinking alumni, students and faculty are demonstrating how investors can bankroll environmental sustainability (and turn a profit doing it). The feature “Forces of Nature” offers up 14 ways the University is engaged in environmental stewardship. And a special video feature, “Driven to Help the Planet,” highlights an enterprising student’s efforts to create a mobile “tiny home” using recycled and renewable materials.

The magazine’s departments are filled with environmental angles, too, including a story about a new Sustainable Materials Learning Library that’s helping students get a handle on earth-friendly design. SF State Magazine columnist (and legendary journalist and Gator) Ben Fong-Torres contributes a conversation with alumna Allison Crimmins, director of the federal government’s Fifth National Climate Assessment. The magazine’s Five Questions Q&A department expands to more questions (and more subjects) than usual with a discussion with the three co-directors of the University’s new hub for climate change-related activities, Climate HQ. Alumna Lisa D. White (B.A., ’84), director of education at UC Berkeley’s Museum of Paleontology, offers up a very personal “My SF State Story” exploring how her and her sisters’ endowment for scholarships for SF State students honors their remarkable parents, who met on campus in the 1950s. And, as always, the magazine is packed with profiles of amazing Gators, including:

  • Activist and “environmental pit bull” (according to The Wall Street Journal) Randy Hayes
  • Sustainable gardening expert and entrepreneur Lori Caldwell
  • Sausalito Resiliency and Sustainability Manager Catie Thow Garcia
  • And many more!

Check out the full issue of SF State Magazine now.

SF State awarded gold rating for campus sustainability

The ranking, given by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, was one of the highest for a CSU campus

San Francisco State University has been awarded one of the highest rankings available for campus sustainability: a gold from the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). A program of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), STARS assesses the practices of colleges and universities across the country — only 150 of which achieved a gold rating. Of the 22 California State University (CSU) campuses taking part in the STARS assessment this year, San Francisco State was ranked third, behind only CSU, Chico and Cal Poly Humboldt.

“We have been working for a year to document our many sustainability initiatives and are very excited our score reflects SF State’s expanding sustainability program,” said Director of Sustainability & Energy Caitlin Steele.

Among the new efforts featured in SF State’s 2023 STARS assessment were Climate HQ, the University’s new communication hub for climate action, and a Climate Change Certificate program that gives students a foundational understanding of climate change’s causes, effects and solutions. Other highlights included policy changes that deepen the San Francisco State University Foundation’s commitment to socially responsible investing and efforts to ensure that new campus buildings are constructed with sustainability as a top priority. The three-year-old Manzanita Square mixed-use residential center has won another top national ranking for sustainability — a LEED Gold certification — while the Science & Engineering Innovation Center and a new West Campus Green housing unit, both currently under construction, have been designed to do so, as well. Manzanita Square is an all-electric building that supports the state of California’s decarbonization efforts. The Science & Engineering Innovation Center and the new West Campus Green housing development will also be all-electric.

Steele also points to the University’s hiring of its first climate action coordinator, Taylor Mogavero, as an indication of its commitment to sustainability. Mogavero will develop and implement campus sustainability programs, build relationships both internally and externally to support sustainability initiatives and support a campus culture that reflects sustainability, social justice and climate action values. Current projects include analyzing the University’s 2023 transportation survey and updating its transportation demand management report, analyzing greenhouse gas emissions and creating a new climate action plan.

“It’s been amazing working at SF State so far. The sustainability initiatives here are already so strong, and there is great potential to be even better,” said Mogavero, who came to work for the University in August. “Starting my experience at SF State by completing the AASHE STARS report was really enlightening. The report is so detailed and really makes you think about every aspect of the University. We received a great score, but there’s always room to improve.”

Learn about how SF State’s Office of Sustainability works to create a more a sustainable and equitable University.