Welcome to the first Sustainability newsletter of CSUMB! This newsletter will provide a platform to highlight sustainability activities, share information and successes, and encourage continued progress towards reaching our sustainability goals.

Sustainability is more than “going green;” bringing your reusable bag or recycling. Those actions are important but as Annie Leonard, developer of the “Story of Stuff” and recently appointed Executive Directory of Greenpeace, once told me, “that is just adult personal hygiene.” Those are the gimme’s. You should brush your teeth, you should shower, you should recycle and bring your mug to the coffee shop.

The true depth of sustainability involves addressing some of the most fundamentally challenging questions of our culture. It is about the inter-connections between people, the economy and the environment. Looking at these elements as systems to solve the problems of today and the future. The most striking recent example of these elements working against each other comes from Flint, Michigan, where a state-appointed emergency city manager switched the water supply from Detroit to the heavily polluted Flint River to save the city money. The chemicals in the water stripped lead from the old pipes, poisoning the population of Flint, leaving the most vulnerable in the community, poor, primarily Black children, to suffer from skin rashes, hair loss, cognitive impairment, learning disabilities and damage so deep that it will continue to show in the next three generations.

Examples like this show up time and time again throughout our world, our country, our state and our own community. At CSUMB, a campus dedicated to serving our community and bettering the futures on the students who attend, we have a responsibility to be part of the solution. We do this through education and learning opportunities, research and community engagement, through the systems we put in place, the buildings we build, the water we save, the waste we divert and by caring about each other. Student learning and success incorporates sustainability, both through coursework and research but also by living and learning in an environment that integrates sustainability into its infrastructure and daily operations.

We can help shape our campus and our community to care for the wellness of the people and the longevity of the environment, while still being fiscally responsible. It is not always easy and tough decisions may need to be made, institutional and personal habits often need to shift, but I firmly believe we can and we already are.

This newsletter, ¡Verde!, is intended to provide CSUMB and the surrounding community with a platform to connect us to each other and to the broader meaning of sustainability. It will highlight a sustainability champion, provide information and opportunities to get involved, and provide tips and resources. It will be a platform for everyone to share, connect, stay informed and take action.

¡Verde! was chosen as the name of the newsletter to subtly highlight both the environment or “green” aspects of sustainability while also recognizing the Latino heritage of a large portion of the campus and regional population. Additionally, “verde” is from the latin verb “vireo”, meaning “to be verdant, to sprout” and the latin adjective “veridis”, which means “lively” and “youthful,” all of which aptly describe our campus.

We welcome and encourage you to submit your news stories, events, achievements and a sustainability “champion” you know for inclusion in this newsletter. This is a platform for the entire campus to share. A campus “sustainability events” calendar has also been developed for people to share sustainability-related events and happenings on campus and in our community.

In future articles I will share more details on our campus sustainability goals and what are doing to achieve them. Until then, please visit and feel free to drop me a line or an email with any thoughts you have - I look forward to working with you to continue to shape our amazing campus.

Lacey Raak, Sustainability Director

Published Feb. 01, 2016