Humboldt State Builds on its Commitment to Sustainability

Humboldt State University is building on its commitment to sustainability with two new programs that support green living and learning.

HSU’s Sustainability Office recently launched the green room certification and the green events certification programs to help students, faculty and staff reduce their carbon footprint.


In partnership with Residence Life, the Green Room Certification program awards a certificate to residents who minimize their environmental impact through green living practices. Sample eco-friendly activities include reducing one’s water and electricity usage, minimizing waste creation and limiting one’s consumption of natural resources.

To get certified, students must complete an online green room certification checklist through Housing and Dining. After the checklist is submitted, participants receive an overall green room score, indicating their level of eco-friendliness. Students with a score of 20 or higher receive a green certificate for posting on their door. Sustainability & Waste Coordinator Morgan King says that fifty 50 residents have participated in the program since it was implemented this winter.

The HSU Sustainability Office and WRRAP (Waste Reduction and Awareness Program) launched a similar program this winter called Green Event Certification. The program awards a certificate to campus groups and departments that implement zero waste measures at events like barbeques and workshops. Groups that earn a qualifying score receive a green certificate to display at their event.

“We initiated these certification programs with two things in mind,” King says. “We wanted to recognize those members of the campus community that have taken extra steps to reduce their environmental impact. We also see the certifications as a positive form of peer pressure—if your neighbor has a Green Room Certified certificate on his door than you might want to get one too!”

This fall, the university launched STARS, the Sustainability Tracking and Rating System, which measures the sustainability performance of colleges and universities. The self-reporting system is administered by AASHE, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Over the course of the academic year, HSU staff and faculty will monitor campus sustainability practices and report their findings to the online system. After the report is completed, HSU will receive a sustainability rating of bronze, silver, gold or platinum. The rating will be made public on the STARS website for three years.

“The STARS assessment is a major step towards understanding how far we’ve come and how far we’ve yet to go towards a sustainable campus,” says King.

From waste diversion initiatives to the creation of appropriate technologies, Humboldt State has a long-standing commitment to sustainability.

The Campus Center for Appropriate Technology is a 34-year-old student-run demonstration home for sustainable living. In 2008, CCAT won Best Practices in the CSU Student Sustainability Program. CCAT educates over 2,000 students, faculty, staff and visitors a year through tours, student-taught courses and hands-on projects.

HSU Power Save Green Campus Program is another student-run energy efficiency program and two-time winner of the CSU’s Best Practices in Student Energy Efficiency Program.

For more on green initiatives at HSU, visit