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CSU in “Sustainable 16″ for Environmental March Madness

CSU students have something other than basketball to look forward to this March.

CSU has advanced to the “Sustainable 16” in the second annual Environmental March Madness Tournament. Schools across the country are being judged based on environmental and sustainable academic programs, as well as campus-wide sustainability practices, according to Enviance, the environmentally-minded software company sponsering the competition.

This is the second year in a row CSU has made it to the final rounds of competition. Last year, the university was knocked out after making it to the “Finest Four,” according to Diana Wall, School of Global Environmental Sustainability director.

“Last year we made it to the final four, and it looks like this year we have a good chance to go even further,” wrote Ryan Brenner, Student Sustainability Center director, in an email to the Collegian.

SGES is requesting that student, faculty and staff submit testimonials emphasizing campus-wide sustainability efforts before Friday, March 8 to help the university advance to the “Environmental Eight.”

Students can participate in the competition by producing a short essay, social media or video submission explaining why CSU deserves the title as environmental “National Champion”, according to Enviance.

To qualify for the “Sustainable 16,” the university completed a survey highlighting environmental degree programs, sustainable student opportunities and campus sustainability efforts, according to Wall, who submitted the survey.

A panel of judges made up of environmental and economic experts chose the top 16 applicants including Arizona State University, the University of Washington and the University of Florida.

“This recognition is an honor for Colorado State and a sign that our programming –– to ensure every student has an environmental course, program or experience –– is making a difference,” wrote Kathleen Galvin, associate director of educational programs for the SGES, in an email to the Collegian.

Schools will advance based on student and faculty submissions until the “National Champion” is determined April 8.

The winning school will receive a $5,000 donation to its environmental and sustainability department, and the department head will enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to San Diego, Calif. to attend the 2013 Enviance User Conference in April. To encourage individual submissions, the two students with the most compelling supporting materials will receive Google Nexus tablets, courtesy of Enviance.

Submissions should emphasize how students see sustainability at CSU. This might include anything from classes or clubs they have been involved with, to single stream recycling, or composting in the dining halls, according to Brenner.

“We need as much student input as possible,” Brenner stated.

Those looking for inspiration, or simply interested in CSU’s green practices, can find information at green.colostate.edu.

Details on how to submit testimonials can be found on either Enviance and SGES websites by searching “March Madness.”

Collegian writer Isabella Heepke can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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