The 17th Annual California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC) returns this month, from July 9th July 12th at the University of California, Santa Barbara. CHESC is an event that brings together the four branches of higher education (California Community Colleges, California State University, the University of California, and private and independent colleges) to discuss innovative research, case studies, transformative actions, operational programs, and successful collaborations. Workshops, talks, and exhibits cover a number of sustainable topics such as net energy, transportation, food waste, water conservation, and many more that contribute to a green campus. The conference attracts nearly 1000 attendees from 80 campuses and is supported by over 60 corporate sustainability sponsors and exhibitors. Calsense will be returning for the second year as a proud sponsor and exhibitor.

In addition to informational exhibits, CHESC hosts an elaborate awards program that recognizes the best sustainable practices and programs as well as the Sustainability Champion Award, which is “given to an individual person who has been a role model to their peers around the state; has promoted sustainability throughout their campus; achieved results; and who truly embodies the term leader”.

Colleges and universities are some of the most highly regarded institutions in the world, which gives them the power to set the green standard on a universal scale. Campuses in California have been especially proactive in the movement to create a greener lifestyle. The University of California Office of the President has set a goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2025 and formed a Global Climate Leadership Council to develop a strategy. In May 2014, the California State University adopted the first systemwide Sustainability Policy which aims to lower greenhouse emissions, reduce food waste, and incorporate green architecture into new buildings. The aggressive targets and constant improvement of campuses across the state are just a few of the things that make California a leader in the sustainable movement.