Legislation & Resolutions
Associated Students | San Diego State University

A Resolution Calling for SDSU’s Commitment to Climate Action, Justice, and Leadership

Author:  Green Love Sustainability Commission


WHEREAS, the climate crisis exacerbates social, environmental, and economic injustices— disproportionately impacting vulnerable communities;1

WHEREAS, to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change, the United Nations details how global warming must stay below a one point five degrees Celsius increase, requiring a worldwide emission reduction of seven point six percent each year until 2030;2

WHEREAS, globally, a mass movement of young people continues to protest climate injustice and inaction.3 In the United States, the youth-led movement has succeeded in swaying many lawmakers to support a Green New Deal—a Resolution introduced in the House of Representatives on February 12, 2019;4

WHEREAS, on September 20, 2019, more than 500 students, staff, faculty, and community-members participated in the Global Climate Strike at SDSU to call for a plan for University-wide full carbon neutrality by 2030, the establishment of a Chief Sustainability Officer position in the President’s office, and full carbon neutrality at SDSU Mission Valley;5

WHEREAS, the State of California is dedicated to full carbon neutrality by 2045 via institutional actions and programs; State initiatives to achieve the 2045 neutrality goal include a “100 percent renewable energy standard” (requirement) in Senate Bill 1006 and Executive Order B-55-18 to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045;7

WHEREAS, located in San Diego, the University is obligated to participate in local programs and must follow municipal rules and laws;8 San Diego’s Climate Action Plan dictates how, by 20 2035, the City must achieve one-hundred percent renewable energy, fifty percent reduction in GHG emissions, and ninety percent waste diversion;9

WHEREAS, San Diego is the sixth most polluted city in the United States10, with a majority of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation usage; Greenhouse gas emissions from commuter-related transportation represents over 40 percent of total emissions at San Diego State University;11

WHEREAS, San Diego’s 2016 ballot measure, “Measure G,”12 and the University’s 2019 SDSU Mission Valley Environmental Impact Report13 affirm that the SDSU Mission Valley project and location must participate in the City’s climate action goals, following the San Diego Climate Action Plan;14

WHEREAS, the A.S. Green Love Sustainability Commission joined thirty government and community groups in submitting an official comment letter in response to the SDSU Mission Valley Draft Environmental Impact Report, calling for improved sustainability measures;15

WHEREAS, the California State University’s 2014 Sustainability Policy establishes broad requirements and recommendations in areas including: facilities operations, design, and construction; transportation; business operations; food services; auxiliary operations; student housing; student services; parking; student unions; and children’s centers;16

WHEREAS, new and/or updated CSU sustainability policies and plans have rapidly formed, passed, and begun implementation with progressive goals; Four CSU campuses have a goal and plan17 to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030: Chico,18 Long Beach,19 Monterey Bay,20 and San Luis Obispo;21

WHEREAS, many universities, including SDSU, document and share environmental implementation measures with the Association of Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking Assessment Rating System (STARS);22 STARS encourages high-level Sustainability Officer positions and collaborative decision-making;

WHEREAS, in thirteen out of twenty-three CSUs, Sustainability or Energy Officers operate at a director-level or higher position.23 Recycling coordinators work at eight CSUs to implement waste diversion goals.24 Until the position was recently vacated, the SDSU Sustainability Officer worked as an Assistant Director, with help from a part-time Energy Analyst. The University has never staffed a Recycling or Zero Waste Coordinator;

WHEREAS, Staff and Faculty in the San Diego State University Senate support and actively collaborate with students to recommend University-wide environmental action, including a working plan to pass a 2020 University Senate Resolution for Sustainability Policy and Implementation from the Senate’s Committee on Sustainability;25

WHEREAS, in 2013, the University Senate’s Committee on Sustainability successfully passed a resolution: “A Resolution on signing the America Colleges and Universities President’s Climate Commitment urging SDSU’s President Hirshman to complete a Climate Action Plan.26 The University published its Climate Action Plan in 2017 under President Heirshman;

WHEREAS, students choose to adopt an A.S. referendum in 2008 that mandated progressive environmental action from the A.S. with the “Evolve, Enhance, Innovate” Referendum. A.S. sustainability staffing, infrastructure, and initiatives with 475,000 dollars each year.27 The Resolution passed much in part from the collaboration of A.S. SDSU’s Enviro-Business Society.28 Since, the A.S. continues to successfully mobilize resources with an institutional structure composed of collaborative staff and student leadership to achieve sustainability goals;29

WHEREAS, the A.S. has achieved/is on track to achieve the progressive goals set by students more than ten years ago. Achievements include the certification of all A.S. facilities as United States Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design “Gold” or “Platinum.” In total, A.S. facilities have seen a fifty percent reduction in net energy consumption since fiscal year (FY) 2007/08, powered by 912 kW of on-site photovoltaic (PV) solar.30 Energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts from FY 2007/08 to FY 2027/28 are projected to save the A.S. nearly seven million dollars, averaging at 340,000 dollars each year;31 

WHEREAS, chartered in 2011, the A.S. Green Love Sustainability Commission has grown a passionate student community to expand the worldwide fight for a healthy environment. Through advocacy, infrastructure, education, outreach, and programming, Green Love’s mission is to lead the University to a full-scale sustainability movement;32

RESOLVED, the University has a duty to the SDSU and global community to achieve full carbon neutrality by 2030 through a fair and just transition;

RESOLVED, to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, the University will immediately form a cohesive and collaborative plan with specific actions and benchmarks for the Mesa campus, Imperial Valley campus, Mission Valley campus, and other satellite locations/facilities;

RESOLVED, the University will use proven roadmaps, including LEED and AASHE STARS for academics, engagement, and planning and administration to pursue sustainability improvements;

RESOLVED, included in the benchmarks to carbon neutrality by 2030 will be the complete decommissioning of the Mesa campus’ co-generation plant within the next four years. Within five years, the University will decarbonize through electrification and reduce net energy use by at least fifty percent, increasing renewable energy with a minimum of five megawatts of solar;

RESOLVED, public-private partners at SDSU Mission Valley will be included in the University’s climate action goal to achieve full carbon neutrality by 2030 and will participate in University initiatives to reduce environmental impact;

RESOLVED, the University and its auxiliaries will continue to pursue environmentally responsible investing. By 2025, The Campanile Foundation (TCF), a philanthropic organization which manages the University endowment, will use an inclusionary screen for funds invested in positive environmental industries and an exclusionary screen for funds invested in specified fossil fuel industries. TCF will create an advisory board to the Finance and Investment Committee consisting of students, staff, faculty, and TCF Board Members to formalize and manage goals and strategies;

RESOLVED, the University will establish a robust University staffing structure with power to implement climate actions—mirroring other successful California State University institutions. Included in the structure will be a Sustainability Director to report to the President’s Office, a Vice President, or an Associate Vice President;

RESOLVED, the University will make decisions through shared governance, including student stakeholders in climate action planning, implementation, and enforcement. A permanent SDSU Climate Action Committee will be established in the University President's Office, consisting of students, staff, and faculty representatives. The Committee will meet twice per month, recommend actions for implementation, and share monthly reports with the President;

FURTHER RESOLVED, this resolution is to be distributed widely—including, but not limited to: the SDSU President; Business and Financial Affairs; Academic Affairs; Graduate and Research Affairs; University Relations and Development; Student Affairs; University Senate; Office of Diversity and Innovation; Facilities Services; Alumni Association and Campanile Foundation; SDSU Research Foundation; Aztec Shops; Daily Aztec; and other organizations and auxiliaries directly associated with SDSU.



  1. https://www.environmentalhealth.org/images/PDF/PDFs_Archive/EJReport.pdf
  2. https://www.unenvironment.org/resources/emissions-gap-report-2019
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/27/climate-crisis-6-million-people-join-latestwave-of-worldwide-protests
  4. https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-resolution/109/text
  5. https://thedailyaztec.com/95595/news/sdsu-community-takes-part-in-global-climate-strike/
  6. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB100
  7. https://www.ca.gov/archive/gov39/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/9.10.18-Executive-Order.pdf
  8. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=EDC&sectionNum=67504.&highlight=true&keyword=local+municipal+university
  9. https://www.sandiego.gov/sustainability/climate-action-plan
  10. https://www.lung.org/assets/documents/healthy-air/state-of-the-air/sota-2019-full.pdf
  11. http://sustainable.sdsu.edu/_resources/files/SDSU%20Climate%20Action%20Plan%202017.pdf
  12. www.sandiego.gov%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fballot_argument_- _yes_on_measure_g_final.pdf&usg=AOvVaw1ZvQMzEfJphFOuy3WYhyOl
  13. https://missionvalley.sdsu.edu/eir-final.html
  14. http://sustainable.sdsu.edu/_resources/files/SDSU%20Climate%20Action%20Plan%202017.pdf
  15. https://drive.google.com/a/mail.sdsu.edu/file/d/1OVPHrYyPnTdEBbs2SVeyaTzaTjraubGo/view?usp= sharing
  16. http://www.calstate.edu/cpdc/sustainability/policies-reports/documents/JointMeeting-CPBG-ED.pdf
  17. https://www2.calstate.edu/impact-of-the-csu/sustainability/Documents/2014-17-Sustainability.pdf
  18. https://www.csuchico.edu/sustainability/_assets/documents/chico-state-climate-action-plan-2011.pdf
  19. https://www.csulb.edu/sustainability/plans-commitments
  20. https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4wzEOCjqf0cT0pKeS1ZRHB0UUU/edit
  21. https://afd.calpoly.edu/sustainability/docs/poly%20cap/polycap4.26.17.pdf
  22. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hUIa3AJDkNXNEaXz8nhJ_dEVCVEEFjdTh_Xw7HVre50/edit? usp=sharing
  23. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rNo9mMfxOvMZLswkJWljBjxehNryppDM/view?usp=sharing
  24. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rNo9mMfxOvMZLswkJWljBjxehNryppDM/view
  25. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rNo9mMfxOvMZLswkJWljBjxehNryppDM/view
  26. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xDc2f9PYmg0hJErgYLdztXjRWlpQtuQX/view?usp=sharing
  27. The 2008 A.S. Referendum: “Evolve. Enhance. Innovate.”
  28. https://pdfslide.net/documents/the-student-led-sustainability-movement.html
  29. https://as.sdsu.edu/sustainability
  30. https://drive.google.com/a/mail.sdsu.edu/file/d/1Md9JwRm53FcYtxVQELLVrfzf9SPi6NLr/view?usp=s haring
  31. https://drive.google.com/a/mail.sdsu.edu/file/d/1pkTHnZYJ5s4K8KtKS2NTEW_Es38jA7ge/view?usp= sharing
  32. https://as.sdsu.edu/greenlove/