CSU Voices and Views

CSU’s Green Alumni

Just to clarify, this blog entry is not about the Martian invasion of California’s university campuses.  That attack is actually scheduled for next year.

CSU’s Green Alumni are a prominent group of leaders that have pushed their industries in new directions and dedicated their lives to sustainable practices.  All of these individuals are featured in “Working for California,” a project that demonstrates the profound impact that CSU graduates have on the state’s economy, society and environment.

Compelling Positive Change

James Berk graduated from CSU Northridge in 1981.  He is the CEO of Participant Media, the group known for films such as ''An Inconvenient Truth.''  Under Berk's leadership, Participant Media continues to generate film and television documentaries that highlight environmental and social concerns.

James Berk graduated from CSU Northridge in 1981. He is the CEO of Participant Media, the group known for films such as ''An Inconvenient Truth.'' Under Berk's leadership, Participant Media continues to generate film and television documentaries that highlight environmental and social concerns.

A Growing Voice

Merlyn Calderon graduated from CSU Monterey Bay in 2001.  She is the national vice president and California political director for United Farm Workers of America.  Calderon did not wait to graduate before making a difference.  While attending CSU Monterey Bay, she helped found a community empowerment organization called ''Mothers of Chualar.''  The group ultimately helped secure a source of safe drinking water for the Salinas Valley farming community.

Merlyn Calderon graduated from CSU Monterey Bay in 2001. She is the national vice president and California political director for United Farm Workers of America. Calderon did not wait to graduate before making a difference. While attending CSU Monterey Bay, she helped found a community empowerment organization called ''Mothers of Chualar.'' The group ultimately helped secure a source of safe drinking water for the Salinas Valley farming community.

Force of Nature

Michael Crooke first graduated from Humboldt State in 1986 and then earned a Humboldt State MBA in 1989. He is the former CEO of Patagonia, Pearl Izumi, and Revolution Living – integrating sustainability values throughout all corporate pursuits. Crooke leads Pepperdine's new certificate program in Socially, Environmentally and Ethically Responsible (SEER) business practice – teaching a capstone course on responsible business practices. In addition, he serves on multiple boards: Earth Day Network, 1% For the Planet, Santa Barbara Channel Keepers, and the Conservation Alliance.

Michael Crooke first graduated from Humboldt State in 1986 and then earned a Humboldt State MBA in 1989. He is the former CEO of Patagonia, Pearl Izumi, and Revolution Living – integrating sustainability values throughout all corporate pursuits. Crooke leads Pepperdine's new certificate program in Socially, Environmentally and Ethically Responsible (SEER) business practice – teaching a capstone course on responsible business practices. In addition, he serves on multiple boards: Earth Day Network, 1% For the Planet, Santa Barbara Channel Keepers, and the Conservation Alliance.

Star Builder

John J. Finton graduated from Cal Poly Pomona in 1989.  He is an internationally renowned builder who actively seeks reclaimed materials to build homes of numerous celebrity clients.  Currently, Finton is working on a fully sustainable resort community in Loreto Bay, Mexico.  It will generate its own water and electricity, and the building materials will enhance the efficiency of the structures.

John J. Finton graduated from Cal Poly Pomona in 1989. He is an internationally renowned builder who actively seeks reclaimed materials to build homes of numerous celebrity clients. Currently, Finton is working on a fully sustainable resort community in Loreto Bay, Mexico. It will generate its own water and electricity, and the building materials will enhance the efficiency of the structures.

Healing People and the Planet

Elisabeth Freeman graduated from CSU Channel Islands in 2006.  She founded and is the executive director of Legacy Direct, Inc. – a nonprofit healthcare organization committed to empowering the people of Zimbabwe.  Freeman initiated the Jatropha Tree project for the people of Africa, which provides low maintenance trees that can produce biodiesel that can be sold to pay for medication.

Elisabeth Freeman graduated from CSU Channel Islands in 2006. She founded and is the executive director of Legacy Direct, Inc. – a nonprofit healthcare organization committed to empowering the people of Zimbabwe. Freeman initiated the Jatropha Tree project for the people of Africa, which provides low maintenance trees that can produce biodiesel that can be sold to pay for medication.

It’s in the Bag

Andy Keller graduated from CSU Chico in 1997. He is a leading advocate for plastic ban legislation. Keller's passion for replacing disposable plastics with more sustainable products led to ChicoBag™ – an industry leader in the compact reusable bag movement. ChicoBags™ are sold at more than 3,500 retailers, including Whole Foods, REI, Raley's and GreenFeet.

Andy Keller graduated from CSU Chico in 1997. He is a leading advocate for plastic ban legislation. Keller's passion for replacing disposable plastics with more sustainable products led to ChicoBag™ – an industry leader in the compact reusable bag movement. ChicoBags™ are sold at more than 3,500 retailers, including Whole Foods, REI, Raley's and GreenFeet.

Setting a Sustainable Course

Captain Lynn D. Korwatch graduated from the California Maritime Academy in 1976.  She serves as executive director of the nonprofit Marine Exchange of the San Francisco Bay Region.  Prior to leading the Marine Exchange, Korwatch served as general manager of marine operations at Matson Navigation Co.  At Matson, she was instrumental in creating the ''Zero Garbage Discharge Program'' designed to avoid the overboard discharge of any solid waste into the ocean.  This was the first of its kind in the world and one that significantly exceeded all government regulations.

Captain Lynn D. Korwatch graduated from the California Maritime Academy in 1976. She serves as executive director of the nonprofit Marine Exchange of the San Francisco Bay Region. Prior to leading the Marine Exchange, Korwatch served as general manager of marine operations at Matson Navigation Co. At Matson, she was instrumental in creating the ''Zero Garbage Discharge Program'' designed to avoid the overboard discharge of any solid waste into the ocean. This was the first of its kind in the world and one that significantly exceeded all government regulations.

A Bright Light

Pervaiz Lodhie graduated from Cal State L.A. in 1971.  He is founder, president and CEO of LEDtronics, Inc. – one of the world's leaders in designing, manufacturing and packaging energy-efficient, environmentally friendly light-emitting diode (LED) lamps.

Pervaiz Lodhie graduated from Cal State L.A. in 1971. He is founder, president and CEO of LEDtronics, Inc. – one of the world's leaders in designing, manufacturing and packaging energy-efficient, environmentally friendly light-emitting diode (LED) lamps.

Photograph by Al Seih. Copyright © 2010 Los Angeles Times. Reprinted with permission.

The Green Team

Twin brothers, Kevin (left) and Kent (right) Peterson graduated from CSU Long Beach in 1986.  The bothers founded the Long Beach-based consulting, engineering and commissioning firm, P2S Engineering – a building industry leader in promoting high-performance green building standards.  They regularly present on best practices in green building designs at conferences and meetings around the world.  The Peterson brothers have also received many top industry awards for building designs and retrofit projects.

Twin brothers, Kevin (left) and Kent (right) Peterson graduated from CSU Long Beach in 1986. The bothers founded the Long Beach-based consulting, engineering and commissioning firm, P2S Engineering – a building industry leader in promoting high-performance green building standards. They regularly present on best practices in green building designs at conferences and meetings around the world. The Peterson brothers have also received many top industry awards for building designs and retrofit projects.

Going Global

Matt S. Petersen graduated from CSU Chico in 1990.  He is president and CEO of Global Green USA, a organization which engages in a number of high-profile issues include eliminating weapons of mass destruction, fighting climate change, promoting green building and renewable energy, and ensuring access to clean water for all of humanity.

Matt S. Petersen graduated from CSU Chico in 1990. He is president and CEO of Global Green USA, a organization which engages in a number of high-profile issues include eliminating weapons of mass destruction, fighting climate change, promoting green building and renewable energy, and ensuring access to clean water for all of humanity.

Out of the Box Thinking

Ralph Rubio graduated from San Diego State in 1978.  He is the chairman and co-founder of Rubio's Restaurants, Inc.  An industry trendsetter in eco-friendly practices, Rubio's introduced the recyclable "Bottle Box" salad bowl made in California from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles.

Ralph Rubio graduated from San Diego State in 1978. He is the chairman and co-founder of Rubio's Restaurants, Inc. An industry trendsetter in eco-friendly practices, Rubio's introduced the recyclable "Bottle Box" salad bowl made in California from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles.

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