Tag Archives: Sustainability

Sustainable Eats: A Recipe for Success

By Kacey Gardner, Editorial Assistant 

When student Grace Kerfoot became the AS Sustainability student dining coordinator last fall, she was immediately off and running on bringing more dining choices to Chico State.

Grace Kerfoot
Nutrition and food science major Grace Kerfoot, who serves as the AS Sustainability Dining Coordinator

A nutrition and food science major, Kerfoot was actively involved in events like Food Day and organizations like the national student group Real Food Challenge that celebrate and advocate for foods that are healthy, local, and green.

She had also already signed, along with many others, the “Real Food for CSUs” petition calling for the CSU system to set policy regarding sustainable food spending. But she knew that, in her new position, she could do more.

“Chico State is a small school with a unique food service operation and a drive for sustainability,” Kerfoot said. “This combination, linked with the fact that we live in California and are surrounded by some of the best produce year-round, is a recipe for success.”

Kerfoot forged ahead, tracking the success of current initiatives; promoting the local, organic, and fair-trade food products already being sold at campus convenience stores, cafes, and Sutter Dining; networking with sustainable vendors; and providing educational resources to the campus community on better food choices.

The myriad efforts by Kerfoot and AS Dining administrators throughout the past year resulted in a Best Practice Award in Sustainable Food Service this spring, around the same time the CSU Board of Trustees approved a long-awaited sustainable food policy that will govern the more than $100 million spent on food across the 23-campus system. Under the new policy, each campus will have until 2020 to ensure that at least 20 percent of all food spending goes to farms and food businesses that meet Real Food Challenge guidelines.

At Chico State, this will mean formally committing to the Real Food Challenge Commitment and figuring out exactly how far the University is from that 20 percent mark. AS Dining is already using the Real Food Calculator to track how much of its food is “real” and is well on its way toward the goal, said Eli Goodsell, who coordinates AS Sustainability efforts overall.

Elisabeth Quick and Kim Tracy assist Paula Woods and Charles Barnes (left to right) at the Organic Vegetable Project (OVP) weekly market, which includes squash, tomatoes, lettuce mix, and herbs, across from the library near the Student Services Center.
Elisabeth Quick and Kim Tracy assist Paula Woods and Charles Barnes at the Organic Vegetable Project (OVP) weekly market, which includes squash, tomatoes, lettuce mix, and herbs, across from the library near the Student Services Center.

“We’re not at 20 percent, but we are doing a good job,” he says. “Our administrators in AS Dining are extremely committed to this process. We would have gotten there anyway.”

Examples of AS Dining’s current offerings that meet the Real Food criteria include the Marketplace Café’s weekly Local Lunch; organic beverages such as GT Kombucha and Guayaki tea; local, fair trade coffee; and veggies from the Organic Vegetable Project.

“Food is one of the largest overarching sustainability themes because everybody uses it, every day,” Goodsell said. “Eating local, organic, fair trade food is always better for our bodies, but it’s also better from an environmental and economic perspective.”

Kerfoot added, “At Chico State, people are making goals and seeing them through. For a long time, food was not really on the radar with sustainability, and now it’s taking center stage.”

’Cat Tales: Maintaining a Legacy

By Quinn Western, social media and photography intern

Leaving an Arboreal Legacy

On a cold and damp Friday morning, students dug five holes at the corner of Third and Chestnut street to plant trees in honor of Arbor Day.ArborTreePlanting3

The Interfraternity Council teamed up with the campus Institute for Sustainable Development to do something special for the last day of Earth Week, and that was to receive Tree Campus USA Designation.

Surprisingly, Chico State was not yet recognized. The criteria are establishing a committee, a campus tree-care plan, a program with dedicated annual expenditures, Arbor Day observance, and a service-learning project.

Last week’s Arbor Day observance was one of the last items to cross of the list.

Each fraternity chapter took part in buying trees and did the work of planting them.

“Once you finish it and you actually take a step back and look at it after hours of work, it’s really satisfying,” said senior mechanical engineering major Geoffrey Leeds.

Josh Berglund, a senior sociology major, was one of the leaders in organizing the tree-planting along with Fletcher Alexander, the campus sustainability coordinator.

“I’ve been amazingly impressed with how many people showed up and how quickly we got it done,” Alexander said. “We were expecting to be done around 5, and we’re done at noon.”

Luckily, they finished early and narrowly missed the rain and hail later that afternoon.

Berglund looks forward to returning with his future children and seeing the trees.

“Coming back here in like 20-30 years and saying, ‘No big deal, but I planted those,'” he said.

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Students Bring Home Coveted Awards From Sales Competition

The Chico State sales team took first place at the Western States Collegiate Sales Competition—for the fourth year in a row.

After months of preparation, including meeting for hours each day in the month leading up to the late-April competition, Chico State beat out University of Texas at Dallas, Baylor University, and Arizona State University, to name a few.

The team included Morgan Ardito, Alyvia Berryhill, Jennifer Bosse, and Jaypinderpal Virdee. They were led by the director of the professional sales program, Tim Heinze, and professor Bill McGowan.

“We owe the world to Tim and Bill for everything they’ve done for us and this program,” said Virdee, a senior organizational communications major and minor in marketing.

The students are judged on their role-playing, ability to come up with sales solutions, and overall presentation.

“You have to be very critical, very strategic, and very articulate,” Virdee said. “During the competition, I reminded myself to have fun, because it’s just role-play.”

Virdee said that the team just wanted to represent Chico State and continue the streak.

“I think this is one of the proud moments for the College of Business, the sales program—you really get to show the elite school Chico State really is,” Virdee said.

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A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the 48-Hour Film Festival

How hard could it be to film a disaster movie with a party hat? It would lead to an interesting plot, but it sounds doable. At least, until you realize it has to be done in two days.

Last week, students split into teams and drew the random genres and props out of a hat. These would shape each team’s project. They then had 48 hours to write, film, and edit a short film. Here’s a behind-the-scenes looks at my team’s experience, which consisted of Jeff Barron, Cammi Carter, Zach Rotter, and Corryn Fleming.


4 p.m. — The genres and props are given. The clock starts.

4:30 p.m. — I walk in late to find out that my group was given a party hat and is supposed to make a disaster film. Great.

5:30 p.m. — We meet at my house to start spitballing ideas and write a script.

7:30 p.m. — We’ve gotten nowhere. Let’s eat instead.


2:04 p.m. — We’ve moved our spitballing idea party to Tehama Hall. Our ideas range from an evil party hat causing natural disasters to a sacred party hat retrieved from an Aztec temple. The hard part about acting on these ideas is creating these special effects in less than 48 hours. But we did have a 30-minute discussion on how we could possibly create a pyramid in Chico.

3:29 p.m. — We start to make a list of our top pet peeves, or as we referred to them, our “personal disasters.”

4 p.m. — Who needs a script? We’ll just improv, but at least we’re filming. We’re starting to feel agitated and fatigued. Nothing coffee can’t solve!

4:27 p.m. — We start to have our own personal disasters including broken tripods, full SD cards, and cranky actors.

5 p.m. — I am referred to as “towel-less scum.” Good thing I’m not on camera, because I can’t stop laughing. Then a loaf of bread is thrown at my face. I’m starting to wonder if I’m being picked on.

5:30 p.m. — In-n-Out break.


2:30 p.m. — “Hey Jeff, did we film an ending?”

2:40 p.m. — I rush to film Ben Mullin, a student we convinced to do a cameo, as he is… well… you’ll have to watch the video.

3:30 p.m. — It’s crunch time. Jeff is doing quick edits, and I have convinced myself that there is no way we would have this exported and uploaded to YouTube in time.

3:57 p.m. — And again I am convinced: Jeff is a magician. Uploaded to YouTube! Time to grab a bite to eat.

Check back next week to see the winning video.

10 Reasons to #ChooseChico

On the fence about making one of the biggest decisions for the next chapter of your life? You’ve probably taken the tours and seen the brochures that talk about our exceptional academic programs, and of course we are slightly biased, but we’ll see if we can sway you with a list of 10 more reasons you should #ChooseChico!

1. Best bang for your buck.

YES Chico State has been named a top-10 public university in the West by U.S. News since 1998, when the magazine started its ranking. We have also made Forbes magazine’s “best bang for your buck” list.

2. Chico may be prettier than your hometown.


We’re not kidding. Chico State has nine beautiful bridges on campus over Big Chico Creek. The same creek that runs through Bidwell Park (No. 5) also runs through campus. Chico State is the only California State University with a creek coursing through campus.

3. You don’t go unnoticed.

tumblr_lfgs5qywbw1qgxm4ao1_500 There is roughly one professor for every 22 students on campus. To put this in perspective, 64 percent of courses last year had less than 30 students in a single class. Students get to know their professors well and have a more hands-on learning experience — and professors always notice if you’re not in class.

4. We log more volunteer hours than you’ve been in high school.


Volunteering is more than just lending a hand. It’s giving back to a community that students feel a part of. Students logged 40,360 hours of community service during the 2012-13 school year – the equivalent of four and a half years.

5. Our backyard.

LIONKING2 Bidwell Park is the third largest municipal park in California and one of the 25 biggest in the nation. And it just might be the No. 1 most beautiful. Think of it as a Central Park a hop and a skip away from campus. Lower Park is greener and more urban, with One Mile, a popular community swimming hole. Upper Park has more wild space, with hiking/biking trails, Bear Hole (another swimming destination), and Monkey Face (a rock formation that’s great for climbing).

6. Not your average gym.

WorkingOutCat The Wildcat Recreation Center is equipped with a suspended indoor track, a climbing wall, three basketball courts, a multi-purpose court, a pool and hot tub, latest cardio and weight-lifting equipment, and group exercise rooms that feature tons of free classes.

7. Our scenery is cinematic.

TheAdventuresOfRobinHood Classic Hollywood movies like Gone With the Wind, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and The Red Badge of Courage filmed in Chico.

8. Don’t fret, you can be out in four (or two).

tumblr_muyq7n15Ze1rtbloio1_500 Chico State is one of the top schools in the CSU in graduation rate. And we plan to be number one!  Our new Aim 4 Four and Take 2 programs emphasize that graduating in four years for first-time freshmen and two years for transfer students are totally reachable goals.

9. ‘Cats clean up in the classroom as well as on the court, field, course and diamond.

wildcat You get the gist. Forty-seven student athletes received California Collegiate Athletic Association All-Academic awards last year. Oh yeah, this was all while competing as one of the top Division II athletic programs in the nation. Eight teams competed for national titles last year. It was also our third consecutive year claiming the CCAA Commissioner’s Cup.

10. It’s not easy being green — actually, it is.

tumblr_mb6vsaRrNP1rhubw5o1_500 Chico State hosts the largest student-run sustainability conference in North America. This Way to Sustainability brings together, students, faculty, administrators, and public officials to explore ways toward a sustainable future. Students’ passion for sustainability is also visible through the work done by Associated Students Recycling, which collects 600,000 pounds of recyclables each year with the goal of being zero waste by 2015.

BONUS: Wildcats in the house!

Wildcats dancingYou get to say that you were a Wildcat along with Troy Bolton and Sharpay Evans of High School Musical. The community feeling on campus is a reminder that “We Are All in This Together.”

Image sources: PixyGigglesRedFordTheatrethelifeinexilekadethebabegiphyTeamliquidGleewikinelsonmontyteen.com, Berahtee

’Cat Tales: Saving Lives and the Planet

By Quinn Western, social media intern

The Value of Being a Living Donor

Dr. Nandi Crosby, wasn’t nervous in the months leading up to surgery. It wasn’t until she lay in a cap and gown on a gurney next to her brother in the same attire that she started to feel the jitters. Their mother cried.NandiCrosby

The professor of sociology and multicultural and gender studies was undergoing surgery to give her brother a kidney.

“I’m making jokes and my brother’s saying thank you 50 million times,” Crosby said.

Her brother learned as an adult that he had a genetic kidney disease—eventually both his kidneys would fail.

After a successful transplant, Crosby’s brother traveled and lived a normal life for two years, until he got sick of pneumonia and had to have the kidney removed.

Crosby, now on the committee that selects the speakers for TEDx Chicoperformed a spoken-word TED Talk in November 2013 about being a live organ donor.

“Most days I don’t even think about missing a piece of my body the size of my fist any more than I think of hair and nails trimmed away,” Crosby said in the talk.

Her message was clear. There are thousands of people waiting for organs, like her brother, who now takes medication and is on dialysis to supplement the absence of any kidney.

Some die waiting.

And now her brother’s son has been diagnosed with the same disease at 15 years old. He will also likely require a transplant, Crosby said in her speech.

“The real tragedy here is not just that my brother cannot save his own son’s life because he has no kidneys to give him, but that so many other daughters and sons will suffer because there is too little inspiration being spread about the splendor of becoming a living donor.”

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Sustainability Conference Applicable for All Students

This Way to Sustainability is the largest student-run sustainability conference in North America. This year’s event is being headed by student coordinators Jordyn EllorinSheridan Ex, and Avalon Brown with the assistance of more than 100 student volunteers.

The conference, which is being held March 6–8, will include keynote speakers from places including Oregon State and North Carolina State.

“It’s a regional conference now, which is awesome,” Ellorin, a freshman animal science major, said.

The theme this year is agriculture, chosen in response to surveys of last year’s attendees. Topics will include drought, soil management, sustainable cosmetics, and many more—more than 150 speakers are scheduled. There will also be workshops, the Greenie Awards, and a local lunch at University Farm, where Secretary of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross will speak.

“It covers all of the global issues we are facing today,” Ellorin said.

More than 9,000 people have registered so far, 700 of them students, she said. Online registration ends on Friday. Attendees can also register in person, provided there is space available. There are already more than 1,000 people signed up for breakfast at the University Farm next Saturday.

Ellorin stressed how valuable it is for students to attend. It’s not just applicable to agriculture or environmental students, it’s applicable to everyone, she said.

“It’s important for students to be aware about the global issues we have and how they can participate and make it better. [Things are] changing no matter what, we want to change it for the better.”

Click here to learn more and register for This Way to Sustainability.

Chico State Explores the Way to Sustainability

evg_1354139175By This Way to Sustainability lead student coordinators Michelle Libman, Senior, Recreation Administration, and Brittany Williams, Senior, Environmental Science

This Way to Sustainability is a student-run conference that hosts more than 100 speakers and 1,400 participants at California State University, Chico. It provides a forum to discuss current issues that are relevant to us all and includes workshops, seminars, posters, and facilitated discussions. The eighth annual conference is happening this Thursday and Friday, March 7 and 8.

A student-chaired conference steering committee is responsible for determining the themes of each year’s conference. TWTSVIII_groupThe Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) hosts the conference steering committee, whose membership consists of student leaders from campus organizations, faculty advisors, and ISD staff.

We were chosen to be the two lead student coordinators to execute the day-to-day functions and planning, and to coordinate other volunteers. This event requires over 100 volunteers each year. Teri Randolph, assistant to the director of ISD, aids the student coordinators with planning, logistics, and coordination of the conference.

Many students also work behind the scenes aspects to make this conference happen. Students coordinate all the session moderators. Students who work with AS Catering to provide participants with food and beverages. Students organize all the smaller events within the conference—planning the entertainment, the decorations, the activities, and the flow of a particular event.

twts6Without the help of students, this conference would not happen. Chico State students are passionate about sustainability and work year-round to make this conference possible.

While there is so much going on at the upcoming This Way to Sustainability VIII, we are both very excited to see Chris Jordan’s keynote presentation. We are captivated by the way he incorporates mass consumption and waste into beautiful pieces of art. They provide a dramatic, yet moving, illustration of how we as humans are affecting the world we live in.

Chico State is known for being a sustainable campus, but do you know all the reasons why? Many people are probablytwts5 unaware of the numerous outstanding sustainability programs, many of which are student started and student run. During the conference, we will be showcasing these organizations in the Bell Memorial Union Auditorium from 8–10 a.m.

This Way to Sustainability VIII is open to the public. Registration is free for all students and $20 a day for all other registrants. Online registration is currently closed, but you can register the day of the event. Registration includes continental breakfast, over 70 workshops, featured films, and much more. Individuals can view our full conference program by visiting our website or download our mobile app by visiting http://my.yapp.us/BDZLBH on their mobile device.

Campus Construction Update

ConstructionWhen students come back for fall semester, they will notice a few changes to campus. The 1st Street Promenade’s third phase of construction is expected to be completed in early August. The Normal Avenue parking structure construction, which started in January, is looking better every day. The parking structure itself is on schedule for its August 2012 completion date, while the single-story administrative building is now getting its walls framed. The administrative building is also on schedule for its October completion date.

The 1st Street Promenade has been under construction the last two summers, and the third section, between Kendall Hall and PAC, is to be completed this summer.

1st Street Promenade

1st Street Promenade

What does the 3rd phase of the 1st Street Promenade construction include?


  • New storm drain system for 1st Street, PAC landscaping, and Kendall Lawn.
  • New irrigation system for  portion of Kendall lawn, Kendall node, and PAC landscaping.
  • Continuation of new steam line from Trinity node down 1st Street for the new Arts & Humanities Building.
  • Extending 12kV & 480V electrical conduit towards Normal Street for the new Arts & Humanities Building.


  • Recycled original pavement, approximately 2,500 yds. (about 400 dump truck loads worth of material), reused as base rock for new promenade.
  • Recycled construction debris (wood, concrete, steel, vegetation, cardboard, etc.).
  • LED pole lights.
  • Grass area used for storm water filtration.
  • Efficient new sprinkler system for new landscaping & Kendall Lawn.
  • On-site storm water treatment.

1st Street Promenade


  • 2 Seat walls
  • 12 Benches
  • Brick Pavers
  • ADA Accessible throughout

Design sketch of 1st Street Promenade

The Normal Avenue Parking structure will consist of 359 automobile parking spaces, 11 motorcycle stalls, 242 bicycle parking stalls, and a single-story administrative building.

Normal Avenue Parking Structure

Normal Avenue Parking Structure

The administrative building is starting to get framed.

Normal Avenue Parking Structure

The parking structure should be ready for student, faculty, and staff use before fall semester begins.

Normal Avenue Parking Structure

For more information on the construction projects on campus visit the Business and Finance website: http://www.csuchico.edu/fcp/projects/index.shtml.

Hidden Gems: Creekside Educational Garden

The Creekside Educational Garden is quite the hidden gem due to its location behind Colusa Hall. Directly south of Big Chico Creek sits an 8,000-square-foot section of land that has been set aside for this special project.

The project began in the spring of 2011 as the third part to the larger Creekside Plaza Landscape Project. Numerous faculty and department members, as well as the Mechoopda Indian tribe, worked together to create a garden using plant species that are historically found adjacent to riparian areas for this geographical zone. Such species include the California Poppy, the Valley Oak, and the Western Redbud.

Located throughout the garden are small informational markers, which give specific information for each plant, including the common name, the scientific proper name, and other interesting facts. There are also a few larger signs that map out the multitude of plants scattered throughout the garden.

The walkway, winding along with the garden, was inspired by Big Chico Creek, which sits only a few feet away. The overall aesthetic of this section of campus is soothing and reaffirms our strong connection with nature in Chico.

Recently, artists have applied to create a beautiful piece of public art for the garden. Three of the qualified artists have been chosen and are now working to develop project proposals, from which one will be selected. The installation of the selected piece will begin in the spring of 2012 and is scheduled to be finished by May.

If you have a spare moment or want to take a different route to class, meander over to the Creekside Educational Garden to soak in the calm environment and possibly learn a thing or two about plant species that are native to Chico.

This post is part of a recurring theme, Hidden Gems of Chico State.

The piece is also featured in the latest issue of Inside Chico State.