Message from the Directors

Climate change is the defining issue of our time and the planet. The recent heat waves, drought, fires and algal blooms have had devastating impacts on our communities and ecosystems and have brought climate change to the forefront of our consciousness. As these impacts will increase into the future and disproportionately affect communities of color and low-income communities in California and beyond, it is vital that we empower students, staff, and faculty from diverse backgrounds to lead efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Recognizing the urgency of climate action, students, faculty, staff and community members here at SF State have expressed a desire to be a part of the solution, but often do not know where to start.

SFSU Climate HQ and the Climate Justice Leaders Initiative were created with the goals of cultivating our exceptionally diverse students, staff, and faculty to become equity-minded climate justice leaders while advancing the economic interests of California. The role of Climate HQ, which is co-directed by Drs. Burrus, Samanta, and Thoyre, is to serve as a hub to integrate and expand climate change efforts on campus. The Climate Justice Leaders Initiative (CJLI) is the first offspring of Climate HQ and is a collaborative, interdisciplinary, campus wide set of initiatives aimed at building institutional, student, faculty, staff, and community leadership across campus. We expect that the development of student, faculty, staff, and community climate leaders will establish SF State itself as a leader in climate justice and create opportunities to extend our efforts across the CSU system, the largest 4-year public university system in CA and the country. 

California has the 5th largest economy in the world. By working together, we can change California. If we can change California, we can change the world.


Kai (Laura) W. Burrus
Professor and Chair of Biology
Co-director of Climate HQ

Aritree Samanta
Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies       
Co-director of Climate HQ

Autumn Thoyre
Associate Professor & Program Coordinator of Environmental Studies
Co-director of Climate HQ