Cal State San Bernardino named one of ‘America’s Coolest Schools’


If there was a “cool list,” who wouldn’t want to be on it?

Well, there is such a list, and it includes Cal State San Bernardino.

“Sierra” magazine, the official publication of the Sierra Club, has named CSUSB to its list of “America’s Coolest Schools” for 2011. It marks the second year in row that the university has been included among the Coolest Schools rankings.


The San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation Demonstration Garden at Cal State San Bernardino is one of the projects that helps the university conserve resources. Photo: Corinne M. Jamieson/CSUSB.

Open to all four-year undergraduate colleges and universities in the United States, the America’s Coolest Schools ranking compares what Sierra Magazine considers to be the most important elements of campus sustainability, including energy supply, efficiency, food, academics, purchasing, transportation, waste management, administration, financial investments and a catch-all category called “other initiatives.” CSUSB was recognized in all 10 categories and ranked 90th among all participating schools.

In 2011, 940 schools were contacted to participate and 118 submitted complete responses. Only one other California State University campus, San Francisco State, is included on this year’s list.

“CSUSB is committed to continually finding ways to operate more efficiently – our success results in using tax dollars more wisely and leaving a healthier planet,” said Michelle Dyck-Turner, CSUSB sustainability coordinator. “Public awareness is essential to staying on course, and we appreciate the Sierra Club’s support to help promote sustainable efforts on university campuses.”

Cal State San Bernardino continues to establish itself as one of the region’s leaders in sustainability. Dyck-Turner’s position was created recently to help assure the campus is at the forefront of those efforts.


The solar farm at CSUSB supplies as much as one-third of the campus' energy. Photo: Robert Whitehead/CSUSB

“CSUSB plays a key role in promoting and encouraging the reduction in unnecessary energy and water consumption, minimizing waste production and ensuring that we efficiently recycle unwanted resources. Michelle Dyck-Turner was recently selected as the university’s sustainability coordinator to head up this effort,” said Tony Simpson, senior director of facility services at Cal State San Bernardino.

The university has implemented numerous conservation strategies, improving energy efficiencies by more than 30 percent, reducing water usage 35 percent and solid waste to landfills by 75 percent, and saving the university more than $1 million per year in utility costs.

CSUSB has several more recent accomplishments that will not have the opportunity to be evaluated through Sierra magazine until 2012, including a LEED Gold building certification, a water-wise garden, a cogeneration fuel cell, and improved solid waste diversion. “These will have economic and environmental benefits for years to come,” said Dyck-Turner.

In October, the Health Sciences building on Cal State San Bernardino’s Palm Desert Campus received Gold LEED certification from the United States Green Building Council. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification measures performance in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

The San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation Demonstration Garden on campus educates the community about water conservation through low-water use landscaping, showcasing drought resistant and California native plants. The garden opened during the summer and was completed this month.


Expected to be operational in April of this year, Southern California Edison is currently installing a 1.4 megawatt fuel cell on campus. Photo: Facilities Services/CSUSB

Expected to be operational in April of this year, Southern California Edison is currently installing a 1.4 megawatt fuel cell on the Cal State San Bernardino campus, providing clean electricity to the local grid and heat to the campus at an estimated annual utility savings of $120,000.

Improved service monitoring and reporting methodologies have documented that, since 2008, CSUSB has been exceeding 75 percent solid waste diversion (by weight) from landfills through waste reduction and materials recovery through reuse and recycling.

View the 2011 rankings at “Complete Rankings: America’s Coolest Schools.”

For information about Cal State San Bernardino’s sustainability program, contact Michelle Dyck-Turner at

For more information about the university, contact the CSUSB Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit