(San José State alumnus and Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson)

Earth Day was founded by San José State alumnus and U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson. Nelson’s proposal gathered 20 million Americans to celebrate the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. 46 years later, the California State University continues its strong commitment to the environment by encouraging sustainable practice and global thinking.

To commemorate Earth Day, CSU campuses are hosting events throughout the entire month of April—reaching out to students, faculty, staff, and entire campus communities.

Many CSUs use Earth Day events as an opportunity to highlight campus sustainability efforts. They also host fun events to get students more engaged and interested in living sustainably. For example, CSU Fullerton has a Green Energy Expo, CSU Monterey Bay hosts its annual EarthFest, and San Diego State has a Green Fest—all focused on students and built with environmental education and fun in mind.

Earth Day events are also making a difference by opening up dialogue about protecting our planet. On April 22, Cal Poly Pomona will co-host the California statewide National Campus Leadership Council Summit. Pomona joins five other universities across the nation to host one of these summits, which aim to open community dialogue about taking action on environmental issues.

The theme of this year’s event focuses on sustainability in higher education. Student leaders from all CSU campuses—as well as the University of California and private colleges—will converse with administration, faculty, and staff in team-building workshops to discuss the future of sustainability in higher education.

This year, several CSU campuses also put a drought-friendly twist on the tradition of planting a tree on Earth Day—they are planting native, drought-tolerant trees.

At Sacramento State, President Robert S. Nelson kicked off Earth Day festivities by helping to plant an interior live oak—a drought-tolerant native California species. CSU Channel Islands plans to plant 69 trees on Earth Day with the help of student and campus volunteers. San José State also plans to plant a tree in honor of SJSU alum and Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson. Sacramento State and CSU Channel Islands also both happen to be recognized by the Arbor Foundation as a tree-friendly campus.

There are numerous sustainability efforts currently in motion on campuses throughout the CSU, and students, staff, and faculty play key roles in many projects dealing with sustainability on campus.

For additional information about CSU’s sustainability efforts, visit CSU’s Commitment to Sustainability.