Public Affairs, The California State University

Doing a World of Good

by Elizabeth Chapin

CSU Dominguez Hills student volunteers
CSU Dominguez Hills student volunteers

Earth Day was founded by San José State alumnus and U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson. His proposal gathered 20 million Americans to celebrate the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. 43 years later, the CSU continues its strong commitment to the environment by encouraging sustainable practice and global thinking.


  • CSU Channel Islands was recently named a “Tree Campus USA” by the Arbor Day Foundation. The campus’ Earth Day celebration includes an official presentation of the new designation.
  • K-12 students in Madera, Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties were invited to enter the American Chemist Society’s Illustrated Poetry Contest, an element of Fresno State’s Earth Day celebration. Later this month, Fresno State will announce the winning poems based on the theme: Our Earth: Handle with Care.
  • Cal State L.A. will educate students about sustainability efforts and opportunities to get involved. CSULA has also planned performances, demonstrations, and speakers that will focus on environmental activism and the green movement.
  • In addition to the music and activities planned for Sonoma State’s Earth Fest, environmental groups and organizations will be available to provide information and volunteer opportunities.


  • Students, staff and faculty at CSU East Bay will fill a “sustainability tree” with commitments and strategies to maintain earth friendly efforts.
  • Humboldt State’s Center for Appropriate Technology will screen an environmental documentary. The center is a student-run demonstration home for sustainable living and educates over 2,000 people a year through tours, student-taught courses and hands-on projects.
  • In addition to its Earth Day fair, CSU Northridge will host an orange-picking event at the university’s orange grove. All of the fruit will be donated to a local food pantry.
  • San Diego State’s annual Greenfest includes some fun ways to look at alternative transportation methods: a “Bike Brunch” and a sustainable boat challenge, where students build an eco-friendly boat and show it off in a parade.
  • A garden tended by San Francisco State faculty and students produces cilantro, chard, sweet peas and mustard beans—some of which will be used during SF State’s Farm to Fork Lunch, an annual event that uses locally grown food from sustainable sources.


  • CSU Chico’s Institute for Sustainable Development will sponsor events including an outdoor “Earth Day Extravaganza,” two film screenings, and a panel discussion titled Whose Business is Sustainability?
  • Earth Week at CSU Fullerton features an environmental capitalism discussion and a food study conference. CSUF will also hold a green vehicle expo, health and fitness fair, fun runs, and an e-waste collection.
  • An Earth Day mixer at Cal State Long Beach’s Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden will unite several campus and community eco-entities.
  • CSU San Bernardino’s Palm Desert campus will host its fourth annual Environmental and Sustainability Expo, which includes guest speakers and a science fair for local students.

Cleaning Up Campus and Community:

  • CSU Dominguez Hills biology students will restore an area of campus called Heritage Creek Preserve. The CSUDH Ecology Club also plans to plant a tree there to commemorate the day.
  • Students at CSU Monterey Bay will kick off Earth Week by cleaning up nearby Casa Verde Beach.
  • Approximately one dozen trees will be planted on campus during Sacramento State’s Earth Day festivities. The campus tree plantings are sponsored by the National Panhellenic Council and the Sacramento Tree Foundation.
  • Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s second annual “Beneath the Surface” celebration and cleanup in Avila Beach is organized by a biology student and sponsored by the Surfrider Foundation and EcoSLO.
  • In recognition of Earth Day and Pay It Forward Day, students, faculty, and staff at Cal Maritime will participate in a day of service in the nearby Carquinez Highlands neighborhood. Volunteers will perform various tasks for homeowners in the community, many of whom are senior citizens.
  • Volunteers at CSU campuses including San Bernardino, Fresno, Sacramento, and East Bay have planned cigarette butt cleanups. These campus cleanups also aim to generate awareness that smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs—it hurts the environment too. Cigarette butts are not biodegradable!