Local high school students were welcomed to join students from San Diego Mesa College
as part of the school’s SEEDS (STEM Engagement for Enrichment of Diverse Students) Scholars Program’s second annual Sustainability Summit on Sept. 30.
A total of 94 students attended the event – a combination of 49 students from Kearny
High School, Mission Bay Senior High School and James Madison High School, with 45
students from Mesa College. Some Mesa students participated in the Sustainability
Summit by facilitating various sessions throughout the day, the Mesa College Ambassadors
gave campus tours for the high school students throughout the day and other students
were attendees learning about sustainability.
“The event is an opportunity to showcase our campus for high school students while
enacting sustainability—one of our campus values,” said Geography professor Waverly
Ray, who is the co-director of the SEEDS program that coordinated the event. “By raising
awareness on themes related to the environment and food security, we are preparing
our students and prospective students to make informed decisions about personal, every
day practices and to understand structural causes for environmental injustices and
Ray added that “by partnering with local organizations who exhibited at the Sustainability
Summit, attendees learned about volunteer, research, and internship opportunities.”
The day’s activity included workshops on community connections and students for enviro-justice;
campus tours; and a “Plantémon Go” activity, were students found distinct plants living
on Mesa College’s campus. Biology professor Leslie Seiger said that the activity,
which was modeled after the popular cellphone game Pokémon Go, interested and engaged
the students that participated.
“We gave students a tour of the landscape around the M&S building, showing them plant
adaptations to the low water climate of San Diego that made these plants sustainable
in the landscape,” Seiger said. “After the tour, we challenged students to find examples
of these adaptations among the native California plants in front of the M&S building
and awarded succulent mini gardens as prizes for the correct answers.”
Mesa College biology major Morgan Bourgeios, Mesa biology/chemistry major Isabella
MacIsaac and San Diego State University chemistry major Jade Johnson presented their
student research to the high school students during lunch, which included a cricket
flour chocolate chip cookie.
During the community connections segment of the program, students spoke to representatives
from a variety of organizations including Dean’s Greens, Feeding America San Diego, Pure Water San Diego, Surfrider Foundation (San Diego County Chapter), Mission Trails Regional Park, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
The SEEDS Scholars Program at Mesa College is aimed at increasing the number of Hispanic
students pursuing future graduate degrees by providing a firm foundation of advanced
knowledge and skills in STEM-related fields. The program is funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Tags: Sustainability Week, Sustainability Summit, SEEDS