Kermit the Frog said it best: It’s not easy being green.
The Cal Poly Pomona Climate Action Plan outlines the university’s commitment to be carbon neutral by the year 2030 and requires the effort of every department.
Spearheading the work is the Sustainability Working Group, which consists of a team of three, including graduate student Ariel Marsh.
While the task is large, group members know that reaching sustainability starts with small steps.
Marsh took her initial steps at Cal Poly Pomona.
While she was earning her bachelor’s in communication, she learned about the Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies’ master’s program, and knew it would be a perfect fit.
“As soon as I saw this program I said, ‘That’s what I want to do!’” Marsh says.
Her objective: Marsh wants to help corporations achieve the triple bottom line, where not only the financial goal is reached, but social and economic responsibility is addressed as well.
“When it comes down to it, nothing can happen economically or socially without natural resources, so we need to value them because without them, nothing else is possible.” Marsh says.
Debbie Scheider, who works at the Lyle Center and is a member of the working group, says that Marsh offers invaluable insights.
“Ariel seems to know intuitively how to connect to both individuals and groups,” she says. “Her longstanding connections to varying student organizations from sports, to academics, and to ASI create a natural link between our efforts with the CPP Sustainability Working Group and the campus at large.”
Marsh collaborates with over a dozen departments to help create sustainability plans, highlight current efforts and gather data to maintain the university’s high green ratings.
“Our overall vision for Cal Poly Pomona is to be become a campus in which any visitor stepping onto campus will immediately see and feel our value of sustainability,” Marsh says. “We are just at the beginning of planning ways to make this vision a reality.”
The newest building on campus, the Bronco Recreation and Intramural Complex, nicknamed the BRIC, will be a hub of sustainable practices in a building certified for its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED. In addition, Marsh is assisting the staff in publicizing its green efforts.
Marsh wants to help students realize that sustainability can start with small changes: turning off lights when not in use, bringing reusable bags to the store, not eating red meat one day a week.
“It’s a collective change, and it’s a person really adopting that value and then passing it on to the next person,” Marsh says. “I think it’s important to highlight on campus to really show that this is something we believe in, it’s something that can unite the campus and we can all work towards and be better people for it.”