Walk this way

Chico State blazes sustainable trail

A student-led consortium covering an array of environmental and social issues has blossomed at Chico State University, where organizers are now preparing for the perennial This Way to Sustainability Conference (Nov. 1-4).

What began as an Associated Students event three years ago is now the collaborative effort of the student government organizations of both Chico State and Butte College, and their representative institutions.

This year, with the help of a class in Chico State’s recreation department, the Institute for Sustainable Development has organized four full days of workshops, speeches, exhibits, tours and demonstrations on just about every imaginable topic in the realm of sustainability.

Jillian Buckholz, sustainability coordinator for the institute, said themes this year include the built environment, images and ideas of the natural world, population and its environmental impacts, along with sustainability as it relates to things such as agriculture, business, education and even religion. Keynote speakers include A.G. Kawamura, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and Werner Fornos, a renowned expert on world population issues.

The event provides the rare opportunity to present the public, professionals and students with local and national experts in many fields, she said—"Really there’s something for everyone.”

For the first time, a fee is associated with the conference: $40, or $25 for those who sign up by Oct. 19 (students who pre-register by that date online get a free pass).

The funds pay for the costs of bringing in some of the out-of-town experts. They will also help pay for future conferences and help ensure that those who register for the event show up. Buckholz calls the fee a bargain: “Most conferences of this quality are hundreds of dollars to attend.”