Sacramento State will mark Earth Day 2016 in part by joining the national Climate Leadership Network and making a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve carbon neutrality.

President Robert S. Nelsen has signed Second Nature’s Climate Leadership Carbon Commitment, joining other university and college presidents around the country who have made the pledge.

“Universities have a moral obligation not only to educate students and advance knowledge, but also to create a better world,” Nelsen says. “Reducing carbon emissions is one step toward creating that better world.”

The Boston-based Second Nature is the country’s largest university-based climate alliance with a network of more than 650 institutions, including nine of Sac State’s sister campuses in the California State University (CSU): Bakersfield, Channel Islands, Chico, East Bay, Fullerton, Long Beach, Monterey Bay, Northridge, and Los Angeles.

Sacramento State will begin immediately to take inventory of greenhouse gas emissions on campus and identify ways to reduce the discharges. The University will make its plan and updated progress reports available on Second Nature’s website: secondnature.org

Sac State kicked off its Earth Day observance April 14 with a festival in the Library Quad. Thousands of students, faculty, and staff enjoyed educational displays, live music, food truck fare, and the Greeks’ annual recycling competition.

President Nelsen, along with other campus dignitaries and Herky the Hornet, used “golden” shovels to plant an interior live oak near Brighton Hall. The native California tree is drought-tolerant. Sac State, which is home to 3,500 trees, has been named a Tree Campus USA four years running by the Arbor Day Foundation.

The University’s Earth Day 2016 celebration will wrap up Friday, April 22, with a 10 a.m. tour of the University Arboretum. Michael Baad, emeritus professor of biological sciences and arboretum director, will lead walkers through the 3-acre botanic garden that boasts 1,400 species of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous perennials. The arboretum opened in 1959, and is an integral part of Sac State’s modern-day sustainability efforts. – Dixie Reid