SUSTAINABILITY MAKES GOOD SENSE

Mike Lee

Ming-Tung "Mike" Lee
Vice President & Chief
Financial Officer


Today’s ecological challenges have generated widespread support for sustainable programs across the globe. For the current generation of students, reducing our impact on the environment is a leading concern, and colleges and universities offer the ideal setting for developing innovative approaches to address such challenges.

At Sacramento State, we promote the highest standards of environmental stewardship. Our University serves the capital region of California, a national leader in the development of sustainability policy. Sac State’s mission supports leadership for sustainability through its focus on education for an informed and engaged citizenry, partnerships with the community to solve problems and enhance the quality of life in the region, and educational activities and strategies focused on economic development and social organization.

Sac State’s sustainability programs reach across the spectrum - from operations to academics – with a broadly representative presidential advisory committee that initiates and coordinates programs to ensure currency and effectiveness. Our campus is the proud home of the California Smart Grid Center, where the University is involved in pioneering research that will serve to increase the efficiency and security of the nation’s electricity grid and develop a platform for alternative and renewable energy production and storage technologies.

As Sac State’s Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, I know that sustainability is not only the right thing to do, it makes good business sense. Good resource management promotes long-term viability and integrity, whether that means the campus physical plant or its financial and human resources. Instilling sustainable practices into all of our activities not only reduces our consumption of resources, but saves costs and improves services for the University’s many stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff, policy makers and the greater community.

Our University is a recognized leader in areas of recycling, energy conservation, water and waste management, green landscaping, transportation and purchasing processes, and we incorporate green building standards into all of our construction and building renewal projects. The campus environmental health and safety program, including food production safety, employs sustainable systems as well.

We are especially excited about the Smart Grid Metering project, completed in 2014 in conjunction with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), featuring upgraded building systems and a new HVAC control system with electronic monitoring. The system is expected reduce campus energy consumption and lower costs for years to come. Our LEED certified buildings, fleet of natural gas and hybrid vehicles, solar energy projects, recycling programs and water-wise landscaping all demonstrate the leadership for which Sac State is known.

We continue to explore fresh opportunities, and new initiatives and collaborations are always emerging. Sac State’s Sustainable Technology Outdoor Research Center (STORC) is a model that pairs academic research with operational needs to create new sustainable solutions for campus functions while providing students with opportunities for hands-on learning. Less than a year old, the center has sparked interest across the campus and in the community for its synergistic approach to sustainability solutions, such as aquaponics farming and the upcycling of kitchen waste to produce biodiesel for vehicles.

Sac State’s new bike plan, implemented just in time for the start of the fall 2014 semester, was undertaken to promote alternative transportation and ensure safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. The new plan features highly visible bicycle routes from campus roadways to the campus interior and secure bicycle compounds adjacent to those pathways. A follow-up activity will provide experiential-based learning opportunities for students, who will measure bicycle and pedestrian traffic patterns on campus to inform further improvements. 

More recently, the campus was selected as the site for low-impact development (LID) storm water features, a joint partnership between the University and the City of Sacramento that will reduce pollutants going into the American and Sacramento rivers.

Since 2012, Sac State has been designated a “Tree Campus USA” by the National Arbor Day Foundation. With over 3,500 trees from more than 400 species shading the campus, the University is proud of its natural resources and has plans to preserve and enrich its landscape going forward.

Preservation of Sac State’s urban forest is just one reason the University’s 2015 Master Plan embeds sustainability as a key element in the development of the physical campus. Beyond the conservation of our beautiful tree canopy, the plan contains a comprehensive outline that will inform all aspects of campus planning - from energy, construction and landscaping to transportation and parking, procurement, food and dining practices, and academic settings.

Over the years, Sacramento State has earned broad recognition for its sustainability programs, just recently honored with two CSU Best Practice awards for its Smart Grid Metering Project and STORC. A select list of other sustainability awards is contained below.

I enthusiastically join my University colleagues in expressing my support and commitment for the continued success of Sacramento State’s sustainability programs.

Select Sustainability Awards:

  • 2011 Certificate of Recognition from California Legislation Assembly for the 2011 Sacramento Area Sustainable Business of the Year Award
  • 2011 Sacramento Area Sustainable Business of the Year Award for the WELL from Business Environmental Resource Center (BERC)
  • 2011 Resolution from the Board of Supervisors, County of Sacramento, state of California, recognizing the Sustainable Business of the Year Award Recipients for 2011
  • 2011 Environmental Recognition Award for Voluntarily Exceeding Environmental Regulatory Requirements from Sacramento Environmental Commission
  • 2011 Recreation Management – Innovative Architecture and Design Award
  • SMUD Savings by Design Program Award (Rebate Check - $75,572)

To learn more about Sacramento State's sustainable efforts, vist the Sustainability Website.