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March 2, 2002 

Lecturer addresses Sustainability and the Polytechnic University

By Eric C. Rich
mustang daily staff writer

Environmental issues and sustainability are the focus of this year’s History Day at Cal Poly. The second annual event is in conjunction with the ongoing Centennial Celebration and features a lecture by environmentalist Amory Lovins.

The program, entitled “Sustainability and the Future of the Polytechnic University,” is sponsored by the newly founded Campus Sustainability Initiative. The March 8 event begins at 7:30 p.m. in Chumash Auditorium, and the lecture will be followed by a reception. Cal Poly Provost Paul Zingg encourages everyone to attend the program, which is free to the public.

“It’s only the second History Day, and we wanted to choose a topic that reflects on the distinctive aspects of Cal Poly’s location and identity,” Zingg said. “It’s our goal to have the students develop a deeper appreciation for the beauty of the campus and its natural resources.”

Lovins is a nationally recognized author, physicist and environmentalist who attended Harvard and Oxford universities, Zingg said. Lovins is one of the world’s foremost authorities on sustainability, and he serves on the U.S. Department of Energy’s senior advisory board. He was among 39 people named by The Wall Street Journal’s centennial issue as “most likely to change the course of business.” He also received a “Hero of the Planet” award from Time magazine.

“It’s extremely exciting to have someone like Lovins coming to this university,” said Steve Marx, English professor and coordinator of the event. “He’s got demand all across the world and has an outstanding reputation.” 

In addition to Lovins’ lecture, Marx will be giving a multimedia presentation on the Cal Poly Land Project. The project is a faculty effort that focuses on the nature, science, and recreation that takes place on the university’s 10,000 acres.

“Our focus is on the conservation, education and preservation of Cal Poly’s land,” Marx said. “As landowners, we have to be responsible with our land use and balance the interests of biology and recreation.”

The land presentation will include a preview of the forthcoming book titled “Cal Poly: A Field Guide.” The 250-page hardcover book documents the history of the land, and it provides maps and pictures to guide readers on hikes. Marx is the editor of the book, which will be used as a textbook for a new general education course this spring.

Its organizer, Associated Students Inc. President Angie Hacker, will give an introduction to the Campus Sustainability Initiative. The student-run organization works to promote solutions to a variety of environmental issues on campus.

“Hopefully the student population will gain some environmental awareness from the lectures,” Hacker said. 

History Day is now an annual event after last year’s Centennial Celebration. It will take place each year on March 8, which is the day the university received its charter in 1901.