By Kyra Skylark
On June 1, President Trump announced his intent to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement. Individuals all across the U.S. were left to determine how to respond to such an impactful decision.
Humboldt State President Lisa Rossbacher considered the potential impacts of the decision on the university.
“One of my immediate reactions was how inconsistent that decision was with the values we have as a university,” said Rossbacher. “The values of Humboldt State and our commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability, just realizing that disconnect between that decision and who we are as an institution.”
Four days after Trump’s announcement, a coalition of mayors, governors, college and university leaders, as well as smaller businesses and investors, banded together and released a statement expressing their support for the climate action goals in the Paris Agreement.
According to press release by “We Are Still In” the community will work to “…remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below 2℃ and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity, and health.”
Since its creation, Humboldt State has joined the “We Are Still In” community as one of the universities working to reduce our carbon emissions and decrease our environmental impact.
President Rossbacher added Humboldt State University to the statement list soon after its inception. She began hearing about the We Are Still In community statement soon after President Trump’s announcement.
“I immediately started hearing rumblings about the combination of businesses, governments and universities forming a coalition to say, We Are Still In,” said Rossbacher. “It was probably through a publication called the Chronicle of Higher Education, that I saw something about how colleges and universities were starting to individually sign on to this. I found a link online and I went for it.”
Rossbacher added the university to the list without a second thought, easily deciding that Humboldt State should belong to such a community.
“The California State University system is incredibly supportive of sustainability and environmental responsibility,” said Rossbacher. “I didn’t hesitate for a second. I didn’t feel like I had to ask permission.”
Of those listed on the statement, some believe Humboldt State University is doing more to improve their energy efficiency and sustainability than other universities listed.
Brian Rossignol, a transfer student here at HSU, provides his perspective on our school’s environmental impact.
“I went to San Diego State, City College, Grossmont, and Cuyamaca College, and this school by far is the most environmentally conscious campus, by far,” said Rossignol. “It’s not even close.”
The Climate Action Plan proposes numerous advancements and adjustments meant to reduce the school’s environmental impact and reduce the HSU’s emissions.
To view the complete Climate Action Plan go here:
Another project that Humboldt State is currently involved in that aligns with the goals in the We Are Still In statement is the school’s collaboration with the Blue Lake Rancheria.
“It’s got a solar microgrid and there are also biofuel backups. So that if the Blue Lake Rancheria were to be completely cut off from any other any energy source, the combination of alternative sources that they have would completely power, the facilities there,” said Rossbacher. “More importantly it’s a red cross emergency site and so it could be incredibly important if we had some regional disaster, like an earthquake.
Students at Humboldt State are going outside into the community to work with the Schatz Research Center on the Blue Lake Rancheria collaboration.
“The Schatz Research Center is doing a lot of amazing things that move us forward in renewable energy sources and away from fossil fuels, and of course there are opportunities for students to become involved in those projects,” said Rossbacher.
The Humboldt State students are all informed of the school’s commitment to social and environmental awareness. Daniel Erb, a student in his fourth year at HSU has been able to watch the progress the school is making.
“I think that HSU has definitely been doing a great job working toward reducing their carbon emissions and just overall environmental productivity has been really great,” said Erb. “Overall I think the environmental impact that HSU has been going for has really been landsliding, which is great.”
With all of the new policies and plans the school is creating and implementing, those on campus should expect to see changes over the next few years.
“I’ve talked to president Rossbacher about it and everything and she seems really into it,” said Erb. “So, hopefully everyone on the HSU campus can get into it.”
“Hopefully,” said Erb.