A Sustainability Summit held at Mesa College on Friday, October 23rd wrapped up a week of events geared to raise awareness and interest in food security, water resources, and climate change.
Mesa College has been working to increase the number of Hispanic students studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and as a result has created a SEEDS Scholars Program. SEEDS is an acronym for “STEM Engagement for Enrichment of Diverse Students.” SEEDS co-sponsored Sustainability Week with the Mesa Foundation, the Mesa Humanities Institute, and ASG.
Reaching out to local high schools, partner universities at SDSU and UCSD, and community partners is key to the success of the SEEDS program. The attendees of the summit consisted of approximately 120 high school students and 40 Mesa College students and community organizations including Feeding America, the San Diego Food Bank, Revolution Landscape, Dean’s Greens, and the County of San Diego Solid Waste Planning & Recycling Department. Prof. Leticia López (Spanish) and Prof. Waverly Ray (Geography) are SEEDS Program Co-Coordinators. One of the goals of the summit was to show how so many disciplines are linked to sustainability, such as geography, agriculture, economics, and geographic information system (GIS).
Although there are endless connections to sustainability, the topics of the summit were chosen because they have so many applications across a wide array of STEM and non-STEM disciplines.
Mesa College President Pamela Luster emphasized at the event that “food security is a big deal.” There are many students who struggle with hunger and accessibility to healthy food. “Sustainability isn’t just about protecting Mother Earth. It’s also about sustaining our communities and economic vitality.” Each semester 20 new students are accepted into the SEEDS Program with funding from a $290,000, four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Anyone interested in applying to join the SEEDS Scholars Program should contact the project directors or visit sdmesa.edu/seeds for more information.