HSU Eyes Ambitious Emission Cuts

HSU Eyes Ambitious Emission Cuts

In an effort to address climate change, Humboldt State University unveiled an ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, eventually, become carbon neutral.

HSU’s Climate Action Plan, which offers strategies to guide the campus to reaching CSU system-wide emissions goals, is now available online.

The 26-page report includes more than 50 strategies that can be implemented to address greenhouse gas emissions that come with operating a modern university campus. HSU joins other CSU campuses in developing the plan to align with the CSU Sustainability Policy.

The plan sets a course for the campus to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, followed by a reduction to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2040, and finally to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. It also positions the University to potentially make greater reductions on a shorter timeline.

The University is currently on track to meet or exceed the 2020 target and will need to implement strategies outlined in the plan to reach the 2040 goal. That would call for reducing emissions by roughly 1,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide—or the equivalent of about 3,500 barrels of oil—every five years to reach the 2040 goal.

Humboldt State has committed to trying to go well beyond the requirements of the CSU Sustainability Policy. Last fall, HSU President Lisa Rossbacher introduced carbon negativity as a “moon shot” goal. She said the campus would seek to reach or approach carbon neutrality by 2030, and then continue to progress and become carbon negative.

Developing the report relied on the input of a faculty, staff, students, and community members who were tasked with developing emissions reduction strategies focusing on several areas: * Natural gas, electricity, and fleet fuel use

  • Commuter and business travel
  • Solid waste, purchasing, and food
  • Curriculum, research, and student engagement

Examples of these efforts would include installing rooftop solar photovoltaic systems on campus buildings, developing a bike share or bike rental program; requiring paper towel composting; and developing a sustainability minor.

The report comes after more than two years of research and analysis. It outlines ways to implement the strategies, starting with the recommended formation of a Sustainability Committee that will be tasked with carrying out the plans.

The report builds on some of HSU’s important achievements in addressing environmental responsibility. In 1987, students created the Graduation Pledge, committing its supporters to social and environmental responsibility. Establishment of programs like the Schatz Energy Research Center, the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology, and the Humboldt Energy Independence Fund have moved the campus forward. In recent years, HSU has become a national leader in greening up its endowment investmentsdiscontinuing sales of plastic water bottles, and ending the use of plastic shopping bags. The campus completed a greenhouse gas inventory in 2014, and in 2016 became a Charter Signatory for the Campus Climate Commitment, which encompasses the goals of achieving carbon neutrality, as well as improving community resiliency.

HSU Sustainability Efforts Earn Gold Rating

HSU Sustainability Efforts Earn Gold Rating

Humboldt State University has earned a STARS gold rating in recognition of its sustainability efforts and achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

STARS—the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System—includes a wide range of sustainability measures and is used by hundreds of colleges and universities.

HSU’s STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website.

“This STARS Gold rating is a wonderful recognition of the effort by HSU’s students, faculty, and staff to ensure HSU is a responsible steward of our environment in a way that’s accessible to all members of our community. It is a major accomplishment, and I look forward to seeing more sustainability initiatives become fully developed in the future,” says HSU President Lisa Rossbacher.

HSU compiled the report during the 2016-17 academic year, with input from across campus. The report describes widespread efforts to enhance sustainability in academics, student and public engagement, and campus operations. The University previously earned a silver rating in STARS in 2013.

Humboldt State has a longstanding commitment to environmental responsibility. The University broadly incorporates sustainability across academic and service learning disciplines, as well as many student volunteer programs. Princeton Review consistently rates HSU as a “Green Campus”.

Last year, the University became a signatory to Second Nature’s Climate Commitment, and recently completed a comprehensive Climate Action Plan. Longer term, the University has set ambitious goals of becoming carbon neutral near 2030, eliminating the “achievement gap” often faced by underrepresented or low-income students, and ensuring that sustainability and social justice are at the core of the HSU educational experience.

With more than 800 participants on six continents, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance.

STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “HSU has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Gold Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”

Unlike other rating or ranking systems, this program is open to all institutions of higher education, and the criteria that determine a STARS rating are transparent and accessible to anyone. Because STARS is a program based on credits earned, it allows for both internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions.

For more information about HSU’s sustainability programs, visit http://www2.humboldt.edu/green/.

For more information about the STARS program, visit stars.aashe.org or the Sustainability Office’s website.

[Blog] Security Beat: Avoiding Break-Ins This Holiday Season

What could ruin a holiday faster than an overcooked turkey or a canceled flight? How about thieves ransacking Christmas presents and other valuables during what’s supposed to be a magical time of year? That will surely put a damper on the holidays.


Recently, CNN reported that Californian’s can expect an 18 percent increase in burglaries during December, so many of our friends and family will experience this unfortunate event. But why are thieves more active during this time of year? After all, most of us have nice TVs and jewelry in the home all year, so why all the illegal activity around Christmas and the New Year?


A few reasons seem to stand out.



Christmas trees are a beautiful holiday tradition, but they’re also advertising to burglars where they can find the gifts in your home. Keep them away from front windows if possible because if thieves are casing your neighborhood Christmas trees are a quick way of spotting who is likely to have expensive gifts in the home.



Leaving for vacation often makes it seem obvious that your home is empty. Investing in timers for lights, motion-activated lighting outside the home, and exterior security cameras will deter would-be criminals. Consider setting a radio on a timer, so music plays during in the morning and evenings, further creating the impression someone is at home. If you live in an area where it snows, like the hills of Humboldt County, a snow-covered driveway can be a dead giveaway that no one is at home, so work out a plan to keep snow cleared.



Big boxes with Samsung, PlayStation, and Apple emblazoned on the side are tell-tale signals that you recently got some great new electronics. Don’t let thieves know your house is newly outfitted with the latest and greatest gadgets by leaving these boxes on the curb where anyone driving past can see. Instead, break down cardboard so it fits in your recycling bin, or keep it in the house until you can remove it without leaving it out.



Adobe Digital Insights reported that shoppers spent more than $90 billion online during the 2016 holiday season and that figure is expected to rise 3 to 4 percent this year. All that online shopping means packages will be shipped all over the country, leaving easy targets for thieves on porches from coast to coast. A few smart tactics can prevent your package from being stolen.

-First, reroute the package if possible. If your workplace allows, have the package delivered there where a receiving department will sign for the package.

-If you’re shopping at online retailers with brick-and-mortar stores, consider having items shipped to the store where you can securely pick it up at your convenience.

-At the very least be sure to track your packages. Logistics companies like UPS, the U.S. Postal Service, and FedEx all offer free online tracking and many will send text messages to your phone once the package is dropped off.

-Insuring your package and requiring a signature for delivery can also cut down on the chance of theft.



A fully-functional alarm system, with glass-break sensors, motion detectors, and security cameras is both a deterrent to crime and the best way get immediate notification if something does happen at your house. You can also invest in shatterproof window film, driveway alarms, and patio door locks. Smart door locks, like SkyBell from security equipment manufacturer Honeywell, send a video of who’s knocking directly to your smartphone.


Other tips include hiding valuables out of view and being diligent about locking doors to both your home and car. Taken together, these tips can help keep you and your family secure and thwart would-be thieves from ruining your holidays.