President Corrigan speaks at Focus the Nation
SF State one of more than 1,600 locations for Focus the Nation
January 31, 2008 8:14 PM
University President Robert Corrigan made a rare public appearance today to introduce SF State’s various environmental programs, speaking during a two-day lecture series in Jack Adams Hall.
The series, “Focus the Nation,” is a national global warming “teach-in” that ends at 5 p.m. today. Over 1,600 locations around the United States have held separate lectures, including Stanford University, UC Davis and 58 other locations in California.
The campus wants to be “a catalyst for change,” Corrigan said, “We were a green campus long before the word came into use.”
Improved recycling, natural lighting and better transit were mentioned as important goals in SF State’s plans for a greener campus, said Leroy Morishita, vice president of administration and finance.
While the campus has implemented various environ -mentally-friendly measures since the 1970s oil crisis, the increased pressure of global warming has inspired a need for even more conservation.
“We really want to make this campus a living laboratory for sustainability,” Morishita said.
Since signing the University President’s Climate Commitment last year, Corrigan has put greater effort into pursuing climate-preserving causes.
Even restoring Lake Merced, whose natural flow extends as far as Cox Stadium, is being studied. Lines of students from the university and beyond were ushered into chairs, quickly filling the hall to capacity. Many were turned away and told that they could watch the event from projectors in one of two spillover rooms. Later that afternoon, organizers added McKenna Theater to the list of places to watch the lectures.
Many students, like Jean-Bernard Digeon of the French high school, Lycee Français La Perouse, came to Focus the Nation as a class requirement. Digeon said he was to stay until the end, but was shocked to learn that the first day’s lectures weren’t over until 9 p.m.
It was “a year of really hard work,” said Carlos Davidson, head of the committee that brought the event to SF State. Davidson, director of the Environmental Studies program, signed the university up for the event on the first possible day.
Speakers discussed a variety of topics, from data supporting global warming to the changes expected in the future Californian climate. Many lecturers were university staff members, but Davidson’s group also invited several experts from outside of SF State.
This was the largest teach-in in American history, Corrigan said.
Outside of the lecture itself, students and volunteers created displays to educate the public about global warming. Outside of the Humanities Building, public administration professor Sheldon Gen used a sequence of cars and balloons to illustrate the vehicle’s different emission levels.
“So much talk about greenhouse gases is intangible,” Gen, 41, said. “When I see a Mercedes, I see this many balloons.”
Geoscience students also created an exhibit of posters to explain different aspects of climate change that was on display all day Wednesday in the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
“How we’re going to get there, we’re not sure,” said Robert Hutson, associated vice president of Facility & Service Enterprises, which maintains all academic and administrative facilities at SF State.
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