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Campus Beat

Purple, Gold—and Green

Photo of S.F. State Students recycling

Members of the new Towers Residents Environmental Organization sponsor building-wide recycling contests—one way they're helping SF State shrink its carbon footprint.

From the residence halls to the classroom, SF State students are taking action to tread lightly on the environment.

Sarah Jennings is one of 56 students who moved into SF State's new green-themed living community at the start of the fall semester. The three environmentally friendly floors inside the Towers Residence Hall are open to freshmen interested in sustainable living.

Jennings had already logged a number of volunteer hours cleaning the coastline near her home in Seal Beach, but she found new inspiration in the Towers Residents Environmental Organization (TREO). "Collaborating with enthusiastic people has inspired me to be more proactive," Jennings says.

She and her TREO colleagues have joined forces with the Housing Echo Friendly Organization (open to all student residents) to promote greener living across campus. Together they are encouraging their peers to use compact fluorescent lightbulbs, which use 75 percent less energy, and planning a community garden behind Mary Park Hall.

According to Jim Bolinger, associate director of Residential Property Management at SF State, all food waste from the dining hall and Seven Hills Conference center is composted along with all yard waste. Other recycled items on campus include fluorescent lamps, batteries, metal from storage areas, even mercury when thermostats are changed.

"This is just a fraction of what we can do for society at large," says Bolinger. "We're teaching residents a lifestyle they can take with them when they leave and bring to their own families and communities."

The interest in all things green is also flourishing in the classroom. Along with bachelor's degrees offered in environmental studies, students can take courses on the restoration and ecology of Bay Area wetlands at the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies, SF State's marine field station and the only academic research facility situated on San Francisco Bay.

In addition, the College of Business launched the M.B.A. Emphasis in Sustainable Business this fall. The program was ranked fifth in California and 37th in the world on the Aspen Institute's list of schools that offer socially and environmentally responsible business school curricula.

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