In an evening filled with dancing, beer and go-green enthusiasm, hundreds of Long Beach community and campus members gathered Thursday evening to celebrate Earth Week at Cal State Long Beach.
The seventh annual Green Generation Mixer was the university’s biggest sustainability event of the year. It allowed for Long Beach sustainability leaders to mingle with hundreds of attendees at the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden.
The event was an opportunity for the university to showcase a variety of environmentally sustainable projects that students have been working on, according to Melissa Soto, the campus planner with the Office of Planning and Sustainability.
“This really shows what the campus is doing for sustainability efforts,” Soto said. “We don’t always have an opportunity to mix and mingle with staff, faculty and students all at the same time, so this is really good opportunity.”
Four VIP speakers were featured at the event, including President Jane Close Conoley; Rajan Hoyle, a representative for Long Beach City Councilmember Lena Gonzalez; Associated Students Inc. President Joe Nino and Legislative Director for Long Beach Mayor’s Office Justin Ramirez.
After they spoke, several individuals were announced as winners of the Sustainability Project Showcase. This part of the event highlighted presentations of student and faculty research, which consisted of creative environmental projects.
According to Holli Fajack, the university’s sustainability coordinator, the mixer was twice the size of last year’s, bringing a crowd of over 300 people. The showcase also received more project submissions than ever before.
“Long Beach State is really, truly impressive with all of our advances in reaching a greener future for Long Beach, but here today I’m particularly inspired by all the student projects,” Nino said.
Nino explained that ASI has been working with the campus to reach sustainability goals. Last summer, the organization passed the ASI Sustainability Act in an effort to make the campus more eco-friendly.
Since then, the university has cut back on selling single-use water bottles and replaced them with reusable water containers. In the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, old shower heads were replaced with new ones to reduce the flow of water.
Last year the on-campus Recycle Center processed over 75 thousand pounds of aluminum, 134 thousand pounds of plastic, 338 thousand pounds of glass, 258 thousand pounds of cardboard and 236 pounds of paper.
According to Nino, that translated into saving over 1,313 trees, 24,111 gallons of oil, over 632 hours of electricity and over 395 thousand gallons of water.
“I chose to come to this mixer because I’m always interested in learning about better ways to live that are eco-friendly and feasible,” said Marcia Durazo, a senior kinesiology major. “I love learning about local organizations that are trying to make a change in Long Beach.”
As far as the city of Long Beach, District 1 Representative Hoyle assured the crowd that the district is committed to various green initiatives throughout the city. He shared details of the Clean Air Action Plan to reduce emissions at the Port of Long Beach.
According to Hoyle, there will be a meeting on Saturday, June 2 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Park for the community to share ideas about how the city can better address climate issues.
“We’re always taking more input, so if you have any great ideas about how the city of Long Beach and the 1st District could be more sustainable, feel free to contact our office,” Hoyle said. “Councilwoman [Gonzalez] is a huge advocate of the environment and we’re always looking for more ways to make Long Beach more green.”