With a reputation as a national leader in sustainability, Colorado State University has more to celebrate than a single Earth Day can do justice.
Throughout April, CSU is hosting a variety of events and activities, including talks and challenges, designed to promote sustainability as part of its annual Earth Month celebration.
The month also includes some significant infrastructure improvements, with the ongoing installation of new solar arrays on campus.
For Earth Day on April 22, CSU will host a virtual festival featuring fun, interactive sustainability challenges and information about student organizations, CSU departments and colleges, and Fort Collins community sustainability programs and initiatives.
This year’s month of festivities also will include a talk with President Joyce McConnell and University Distinguished Professor Diana H. Wall, a world-renowned ecologist and director of CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability, as part of the Tell Me More conversation series. The recorded talk will premiere on April 21 at president.colostate.edu/tell-me-more.
Additionally, Earth Month organizers are encouraging university community members to sign up for the Shift FoCo Challenge, a community initiative through the City of Fort Collins that aims to reach the city and CSU’s climate action goals of 80% reduction below 2005 atmospheric carbon levels by 2030 and to be carbon neutral by 2050.
The latest and complete list of Earth Month activities are available at green.colostate.edu/earth-month.
Student Affairs Communications and Sustainability Director Tonie Miyamoto, who co-chairs the President’s Sustainability Commission with Carol Dollard of Facilities Management, said Earth Month will provide a variety of virtual experiences for the entire university community.
“This year’s Earth Month lineup offers annual favorites, like the Earth Day Festival, and some exciting new events around environmental justice and the connection between animal health and climate change,” she said. “Events will be virtual again this year and we look forward to engaging with folks wherever they may be, as Earth Day is everywhere.”
On April 24, CSU’s One Health Club is hosting a virtual symposium on climate change and health for the veterinary profession.
The Animal Health Advocates in a Changing Climate Conference is designed to begin equipping clinicians, technicians and students in the veterinary field with knowledge and tools to be effective contributors in protecting animal health in a changing climate. The conference will feature leading scientists, advocates and veterinarians.
Registration information is available at climatechangeisanimalhealth.com/animal-health-advocates-in-a-changing-climate-conference.
Additionally, CSU Extension is hosting afternoon virtual talks for Earth Month on herb gardening on April 8, tree planning on April 14, and pollinators on April 27. There also will be a session on vegetable gardening presented in Spanish on April 3. Registration information is available at green.colostate.edu/earth-month.
A leader in sustainability
Solar arrays like these on the Lory Student Center will be added to other buildings on campus this year.
A major expansion of solar energy at CSU is kicking off during Earth Month, with the first of 21 new solar arrays slated for installation at Laurel Village in mid-April. The new solar arrays will be installed over the next 18 months, doubling the university’s current production of renewable electricity.
Recently, CSU also completed the largest geo-exchange project in the state when 342 geothermal wells were installed under the intramural fields, providing renewable energy for Moby Arena and capacity for future construction projects. The GeoX project will employ geothermal energy – also called ground source heat pump – for heating and cooling to reduce energy consumption and costs for the Moby complex.
These kinds of efforts have regularly earned CSU high national and international honors from leading sustainability organizations.
In 2020, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education rated CSU at its highest level – Platinum – for a record third time in its STARS report. The independent program measures comprehensive sustainability efforts at 990 universities around the world.
CSU is the only institution in the world to receive the STARS Platinum rating three times and currently has the highest score in the United States.
CSU also has been listed as one of the nation’s most sustainable higher education institutions by the Sierra Club’s Cool Schools for seven consecutive years.
The Princeton Review also has named CSU to the Green Honor Roll, one of only 30 schools to receive the distinction, which recognizes an institution’s environmental awareness, preparedness and performance.
Zahra Al-Saloom contributed to this story.