Warriors Can Learn How to Improve the Planet and Their Lives
April 18, 2024

Stan State celebrated Earth Day with several events in April and more are planned. 

Among the activities, a screening of the documentary “Burning Injustice” was held on April 18 in the Warrior Cross Cultural Center. 

Featuring local Latino activists, John Mataka and Bianca Lopez, “Burning Injustice” is a powerful short film set in Stanislaus County. It tells the story of people working to shut down the last remaining trash incinerator in California, which contributes to poor air quality and negative health effects.  

The film viewing was followed by a question-and-answer session with Valley Improvement Projects and Stan State Assistant Professor of Public Health David Veloz. The event was co-sponsored by Stan State’s Office of Student Leadership, Engagement and Belonging, Office of Sustainability and Eco-Warriors. 

“We presented this documentary screening and discussion to bring awareness of local environmental justice issues to our campus community,” said Stan State Sustainability Specialist Jennifer Daniels. 

She explained the trash incinerator is still in operation in Stanislaus County and is the last remaining incinerator in the State of California. A local non-profit and advocacy agency, Valley Improvement Projects, has worked with the community to develop a Zero Waste Plan for the county and is presenting their initiative to the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors.  

Other Earth Day Events: 

Faculty Mentor Program Earth Day Celebration - Monday, April 22 

The Faculty Mentor Program Earth Day Celebration will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Stan State Pergola. 

All campus community members are welcome to join faculty mentors and their student protégés for lunch, a sustainable Earth Day activity, and to learn more about the Faculty Mentor Program. 

Eco Warriors’ Book Swap - Wednesday, April 24 

Eco Warriors will be in the Quad from 10 a.m. to noon and students are invited to bring or take a book at the Eco Warriors booth during Warrior Wednesday. 

“Previously it was only a book for a book, but we saw students wanted books but didn’t have any to leave, so we switched it,” said Eco Warriors President Anahi Lopez. “We have no limit for students to take books; we are simply offering a way for books to be re-homed, and we have also encouraged them to bring back their books after they’re ready to take another one.” 

Lopez said the Eco Warriors Book Swap will be transitioning to be called the Eco Warriors Little Library. The idea came about a year ago, and any books are accepted, including textbooks. Students can keep up to date with Eco Warriors’ activities by checking the group’s Instagram.  

Sustainability at Warrior Wednesday 

Additionally, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 24, Sustainability at Warrior Wednesday will take place in the Quad. The Sustainability College Corps Climate Action Fellows will hold a plastics education module: “Plastics, micro plastics, nano plastics — oh no!” The effort is intended to teach about the environmental and health impacts of plastics and why many plastics cannot be recycled. 

In her role as the sustainability specialist, Daniels guides the Fellows and works in unity to develop content for outreach, teaching them along the way.  

“Their research into new topics is a source of learning for me as well,” Daniels said. “They often uncover new information I was not previously aware of.” 

Sustainable Garden Tour - Friday, April 26 

A Sustainable Garden Tour is planned from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. by Stan State Master Gardener Hector Vera. 

There is a living laboratory on campus that’s devoted to sustainable agriculture. The informational tour, coordinated in partnership with the ASI Director of Sustainability, Stan State Sustainability and the Department of Agriculture, will help answer questions about what is new in the Stan State garden. 

One outcome that is new is the StanFresh Market, which had its first event in April and will hold its second market on May 1. All produce and flowers sold at the market are grown in the Sustainable Garden and the event is run by students. 

Earth Month Eco-Challenge 2024: Conservation 

Students can join the Stan State Sustainability Team in this month-long journey to become a more sustainable human. The online 30-day program is focused on environmental and social engagement. The team selects from daily actions that will foster new habits and have a real-world impact. 

“Our department has been part of this since 2021,” said Senior Director of Planning, Design and Sustainability Kat Marian. “It has been a fun and informative way to learn about how each of us can be part to better use our shared resources. Besides, we discovered our staff who partake from accounting, budget, design, planning, construction, service, all have similar friendly competitive spirits that also makes us day-to-day a great team.”  

Stan State Associate Vice President of Capital Planning and Facilities Management Julia Reynoso said the Eco-Challenge is a fantastic way to focus attention on the contributions a team can make and challenge themselves and their colleagues.  

“Participating in the challenges with other teams creates a competitive drive to do more and be involved,” said Traci Bergmann, Stan State space planner/designer. “It is fun to bond with your teammates over a common interest that is not necessarily work-related.” 

Bergmann said she always learns something new about sustainability by participating. She was surprised to discover in the last challenge that personal wellness and being outside in nature was part of a sustainable practice. 

Student Health Center Outreach - Wednesday, April 24 

Stan State Student Health Center Outreach is planning its final event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Quad on Warrior Wednesday. 

Good health and well-being are a top priority in sustainable development. This includes improving personal health outcomes.  

“The intersectionality between individual health, wellness and environmental health has long been documented,” said Taylor Whittington, Stan State health educator. 

Daniels said that climate change and environmental factors have an impact on our health 

“We have recently partnered with the Student Health Center to show the connection between good health and well-being and sustainability,” she said. “Raising awareness and removing the stigma of talking about sexual health and reproduction/family planning supports global efforts of reducing disease, substance abuse, and promoting proactive health care.” 

Visit the Student Health Center table at Warrior Wednesday to learn how to access services.