Going green through technology

By Madi C. Whaley
Flapjack Chronicle

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(Image from www.ccathsu.com)

Humboldt State University prides itself on its efforts to create a more environmentally-friendly community, so it’s only natural that a club like CCAT—Campus Center for Appropriate Technology—would come to exist as one of the more prominent clubs on campus.

“As society progresses and technology becomes more prevalent, we must not forget the skills our grandparents lived on and natives of this country as well,” says volunteer Lucia Loeb who is finishing her senior year at HSU.

CCAT is celebrating 35 years of working to achieve this movement of organic living and to create a more green campus. It was founded in 1978 when a group of students decided to save the Buck House from being demolished and decided to use the house to explore environmentally sustainable technologies with the help of HSU peers and faculty .

Over the years, CCAT has implemented a variety of sustainable technologies such as solar hot water panels, a wind turbine, and pedal power. It continues to work on these types of projects today. A mobile energy operations wagon has recently been finished and will to generate electricity at future events on campus.

CCAT is creating a community garden on campus to be used by the various school clubs and is revamping a graywater marsh, which recycles water used for every-day tasks. CCAT will be collaborating with Engineering Without Borders to make this project a success.

“We do a lot of work with other groups, to give them a space where they can increase their knowledge and get hands-on experience,” says CCAT Co-Director Dustin Fredricey. “Everybody has something to offer, so [whoever] can come and help… their ideas and opinions, I think broaden our horizons.”

CCAT also started the Environmental Science program and continues to offer classes such as herbalism, green building, and eco craft, worth one credit to students. It also offers workshops to students and the general community.

Volunteer Fridays, which include a free lunch and friendly atmosphere, are a staple event at CCAT. Every Friday from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., students are welcome to drop in and volunteer for whatever work needs to be done. Volunteer work varies from week to week depending on what needs to be done. Typically, it involves gardening and maintaining the premises. CCAT is currently preparing for their Harvest Festival/ 35th Anniversary Celebration on Oct. 12, so volunteers will be making signs, placards, and decorations, as well in the coming weeks.

These volunteer experiences provide students with a way to make connections with their peers who share similar interests and to learn more about what it means to be environmentally friendly.

“We work on building community,” says Loeb.   “[We reach] out to the greater community… planting small seeds in peoples lives so that they may go forth into the world with more respect and appreciation for the meaning of community and respect for the environment.”

CCAT’s efforts reflect positively to students around campus.

“It seems to make you more aware of using resources, of being environmentally friendly,” says HSU student Leslie Arroyo. “It’s giving you people that have the same interests, to add on to the movement of ‘going green’.”

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