Student Union building
Dr. Bob Musil, President and CEO of the Rachel Carson Council, was the featured keynote speaker for San Diego State University’s GreenFest, a week-long celebration of Earth Day and sustainability. SDSU is another campus leader in sustainability whose President, Elliot Hirshman, has signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Musil was invited to SDSU by Dr. Geoff Chase, Dean of Undergraduate Studies, the editor of Sustainability in Higher Education: Stories and Strategies for Transformation (MIT Press 2013), and a pioneer in the campus sustainability movement.
SDSU is noted for its students’ commitment to sustainability by voting to create a student fee to support campus-wide sustainability including creating green buildings. Musil spoke to a large lunchtime crowd of students and faculty in the main auditorium of SDSU’s Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union. The Aztec Union, paid entirely by fees approved by students, is a LEED-certified platinum building which won the award for Best Overall Sustainable Design at the 10th Annual Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Best Practice Awards.
In his speech, Dr. Musil spoke of Rachel Carson’s trips to California, including her 1963 address to nearly 2,000 Kaiser Permanente physicians in San Francisco where she responded to her corporate critics. On that trip, Musil also described how, dying from cancer, Carson still sought the sustenance and wonder of nature as she was brought in a wheelchair to Muir Woods and escorted there by then President of the Sierra Club, David Brower. Musil closed with Rachel Carson’s words from her June 1962 Commencement Address at nearby Scripps College. “Your generation must come to terms with the environment. Your generation must face realities instead of taking refuge in ignorance and evasion of truth.”
San Diego State and the College of Environmental Design have also joined the Rachel Carson Campus network.