Group works toward future sustainable campus

Julie Frank

Julie Frank

A new group aiming for a future sustainable SDSU emerged onto campus on Sept. 19.

“We have a long way to go,” Jane Hegland, one of the group’s founders and head of apparel merchandising and interior design departments, said. “We can do better in many ways.”

According to, sustainability “meets needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations…” This is obtained by sheltering ecological systems and rejuvenating them, improving citizens’ lives and bettering economic sufficiency.

Hegland was approached by President Chicoine to work with architectures on a sustainable design. In return, Hegland asked Chicoine to support efforts to make SDSU a more sustainable campus.

As a result, Hegland, along with colleagues and friends, formed a new, yet untitled, group to push for the change.

The group currently consists of a variety of students, faculty, professors and a Brookings citizen. These participants represent a wide variety of areas on campus including construction management, interior design, landscape architecture, chemistry, biology, economics, electrical engineering, sociology, members of the Students’ Association and more.

“I’m glad there is a group who can do something about it and not just talk about it,” Deon Simon, an employee of the animal science department, said.

Simon said she would like to see the group begin with a recycling project that allows everyone to participate.

“Sustainability was something I’ve always been interested in for a long time,” sophomore apparel merchandising major Haley Wood said.

Wood would like to see more recycling and non-motorized transportation, including additional bike racks and easier ways to navigate through campus on foot and bike.

Martin Maca, associate director of McCrory Gardens and a landscaping architecture professor, would also like to see more recycling along with other “little things.” He said the campus would benefit by planting trees on islands in parking lots. The trees would contribute to lower temperatures and reduce carbon dioxides. A diversity of planting materials such as buffalo grass, which takes time to develop but doesn’t need to be watered, would also help the environment.

“I truly believe in the power of the students,” Maca said.

Others in the group share Maca’s belief of student power. They expressed the need for outreach and education for students, faculty, staff and members of the community.

Goals of the group have not yet been set but they hope to address possibilities at their next meeting on Oct. 3. Members would like to work on an array of issues including non-motorized transportation, water conservation, agriculture, locally grown foods, environmentally friendly buildings, household energy, green chemistry and more.

Hegland expressed interest in following the examples of University of Minnesota, Morris, Black Hills State University and University of South Dakota’s presidents who signed the Presidents’ Climate Commitment. The commitment “provides a framework and support for America’s college and universities to go climate natural” and reduced the level of greenhouse gas released in the atmosphere, according to its website. The Presidents’ Climate Commitment currently has 400 signatories.

For more information about sustainability or about the group, contact Jessica Miller at [email protected] or Jane Hegland at [email protected].