The Associated Students of San Diego State University (SDSU) is no typical student government. As one of the largest student governance organizations in the California State University system, the Associated Students at SDSU employs 90 full time employees and 2,000 part‐time student employees, manages seven facilities with 450,000 square feet and directs a $20 million budget, none of which is derived from state funds.
Given their experience in managing major projects and their dedication to sustainability, it is not surprising that the steering committee of the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference selected the Associated Students of SDSU to host their 2014 Conference, June 16th to 20th, 2014.
In past years, the conference has been hosted by a variety of departments from colleges and universities all over the state including facilities, academic departments, and even the campus administration. This will be the first time, however, that students will be taking the lead. This should not come as a surprise insofar as students have long been active members of statewide sustainability committees and initiatives directed at reducing the environmental impact of college and university campuses.
The California Higher Education Sustainability Conference is co‐organized by the California State University and California Community College Chancellor’s Offices; the University of California Office of the President; and private and independent colleges in California. Close to 1,000 attendees from throughout California will be traveling to San Diego State University to share best practices and lessons learned in implementing sustainability on campuses.
Most of the conference sessions will be held in the newly opened Aztec Student Union, which is on track to be the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certified student union in the California State University system. Platinum is the highest rating for green buildings in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system. Conference attendees will have an opportunity to see a variety of sustainability best practices in action, including a commercial scale rainwater collection system, the largest radiant flooring system in San Diego County, and trusses made from layers of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood.
Conference sessions will highlight the wide spectrum of sustainability practices being implemented around the state. Specific tracks will include climate action planning; curriculum; energy; food systems; green building; health and wellness; institutionalizing sustainability; operations of medical schools, health centers, and clinics; procurement; research; social equity; student affairs, athletics, and housing; transportation; waste management; and water conservation. The call for proposals is open and the proposals will be due on February 21st, 2014. Staff, faculty, and students from higher education campuses, and utility providers are encouraged to submit a proposal. Non‐profits, government agencies, and companies are encouraged to partner with a campus proposer to co‐submit a proposal.