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Remarks by Dr. Timothy P. White - April 16, 2018

Remarks by Timothy P. White
Chancellor, California State University
CSU COAST Annual Meeting
Keynote Remarks
Long Beach, CA
April 19, 2018


Thank you, Eduardo Ochoa, for that introduction… and welcome, everyone, to Long Beach and the Chancellor’s Office.

I’m told that today’s gathering of students, faculty, staff and friends is the largest in COAST history… a testament to the leadership of Krista Kamer and the outstanding work of you and your colleagues. You know, we Californians – with our incredible diversity of people, ideas and beliefs – are naturally inclined to not always see eye to eye.

But what nearly all 40 million of us agree on is that our coastlines and coastal watersheds – the envy of this country and the world – must remain both unspoiled and accessible to everyone who wishes to marvel in their collective majesty.

And it’ll take all of our collective resources, knowledge and passion as a university, as researchers and educators – indeed, as Californians – to find the scientific breakthroughs and share the policy insights needed to protect our coastline and counter the real-world effects of climate change.

That’s why last year, we declared that We Are Still In the global fight against climate change… and that we’ll continue to work with our local, state and global partners to fulfill the Paris Agreement.

I hope you all got a chance to read our university-wide three-year report on sustainability, which was released this past March. If you haven’t yet, a PDF version is available at calstate.edu.

There is a ton of good and great news in that report. In the interest of time, I won’t go too far into the details, but I am proud to note that CSU campuses and centers have made remarkable progress since 2014 to:

  • Integrate sustainability into academic curriculum;
  • Develop employee and student workforce skills in the green jobs industry and promote sustainable products and services;
  • Pursue sustainable practices in both business operations and self-funded entities; and,
  • Encourage campuses to designate a sustainability officer to coordinate efforts.

Over the last four years, campuses have increased the amount of clean, renewable energy produced and used while also decreasing water usage.

Campuses have worked with local transit agencies and municipalities to increase access to public transit, providing alternatives for students and employees who commute to campus.

And the CSU has made progress in green building, procurement, recycling and waste reduction and sustainable food systems.

I’m deeply impressed that in our university’s efforts on sustainability, we’ve managed to break down siloes and work together… across different departments, colleges, academics and operations and administration… and across the entire CSU…

Anyone who has spent time in higher education knows that this kind of cross-university collaboration is not just hard to pull off… but is practically unheard of.

It’s this type of collaboration – what you all do every single day – that will help us achieve our vision… for COAST, for our climate and environment… and for the CSU.

Our vision is:

  • to foster more cutting-edge directed research to develop innovative solutions that positively impact California and the world;
  • to highlight faculty, staff and student research and better promote the CSU’s many experts;
  • to advocate for our shared values and mission to ensure that every Californian – regardless of background, circumstance or status – has an opportunity to be successful in achieving their dream-driven academic, career and life goals; and
  • to graduate more diverse and dynamic alumni ready to contribute, build and redefine California’s future.

So I commend you and your colleagues – both here in this room and throughout the CSU – for coming together to collaborate on this shared vision for the future. A vision that we not only want, but so desperately need.

Before I take questions from the group, I want to highlight a few of the many achievements of COAST members over the past year:

  • CSUN’s Dr. Pete Edmunds received over $430,000 from the National Science Foundation – following a relatively small $7,500 investment by COAST – to help fund work on octo-corals in the Caribbean.
  • COAST provided over $220,000 to over 150 students to support undergraduate and graduate student research, travel to scientific conferences and meetings and summer internships.
    • Since 2011, COAST has placed 83 interns – many of whom were later hired by their hosts.
    • COAST also provided around $180,000 to support faculty through its portfolio of funding opportunities meant to help stimulate research and collaborations.
  • Five CSU faculty members contributed to the development of a critical report on the role of submerged aquatic vegetation – S.A.V. for us laypeople – in ameliorating the effects of ocean acidification.
    • Three of those five are here today:
      • Dr. Karina Nielsen from SFSU
      • Dr. Kerry Nickols from CSUN
      • Dr. Kevin Hovel from SDSU
  • Congratulations!

These achievements – and many others across COAST and the CSU – are making a real and consequential impact on the lives of students, on our coastal watersheds, and on our planet.

Indeed, this is our vision in action.

Again, thank you all for coming to the Chancellor’s Office for today’s meeting… and thank you for all that you do to further student achievement and success in the California State University.