Tyler Middlestadt

Whatever your New Year’s resolutions are for this year, University President Warren Baker is asking that you consider changing the world. It’s not too far-fetched considering the accomplishments of some of our high profile alumni like Burt Rutan inventor of SpaceShipOne, the first private manned spacecraft to leave the atmosphere at an altitude of over 69 miles; Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinko’s and sponsor of the Orfalea College of Business and the ASI and Orfalea Family Children’s Center; Gary Erickson, founder of the energy snack company Clif Bar; and a host of others including astronauts, CEO’s and those who need no introduction like NFL commentator John Madden and parody performer “Weird Al” Yankovic.

Cal Poly has a tradition of attracting some of the most innovative, inspirational and unique future professionals, and I’m sure that our era of graduates will continue this trend. But the question that we can and should be asking ourselves is, “What will I be remembered for?” What’s the legacy that you’d like to leave?

The university announced on Jan. 5 that this month would be themed “Sustainability: Resolve to Change Your World.” The theme is designed to encourage broad participation among students in several events including club fairs, senior project seminars and several keynote speeches. The issue of sustainability was chosen in large part because of all the progress that Cal Poly has made in recent years to improve our environmental responsibility, integrate environmental ethics into the classroom and increase the environmental literacy of our student population.

While we have a significant list of achievements, we also have much more that we can improve. That’s where you come in. Every day many students have great ideas that could improve transportation, decrease our waste stream, improve our resource efficiency and make the campus more enjoyable and healthy. Now is your chance to be heard, and to increase your knowledge about the issues you care about most.

Today and Thursday, ASI Student Government is kicking off “Cal Poly: NEXT” a two-day event with the theme, “Sustaining our Cultures, Sustaining our World.” Check out our parade, club fairs, movie and Farmer’s Market finale!

This Saturday, the Center for Sustainability in Engineering, the Orfalea College of Business, ASI and the university are offering a senior project seminar to develop potential project proposals to improve transportation and mobility on campus.

Next week, Jan. 18-20, four incredible speakers will be presenting various sustainability topics as they relate to a number of careers. And finally on Friday Jan. 27, the Society of Women Engineers will host the first ever “Sustainability in the Corporate World” event where a diverse group of corporations will showcase how sustainability has become an important part of their business.

Whether you’re a business major interested in maximizing profits, a sociology major wanting to improve social programs, an engineering major incorporating life cycle cost assessment into your value engineering or a student of any other major wanting to make a difference in your field, chances are that learning more about sustainability and how it applies to your life and future career will be of great help.

So I invite you to embrace January’s theme and explore how you can “Change Your World.”

Tylor Middlestadt is the ASI president and a Mustang Daily columnist. He can be reached at 756-5828 or by email at tmiddles@calpoly.edu.

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