October 10, 2016

Mesa College Hosts High School Students for Sustainability Summit

By Lauren J. Mapp

Students participating in the SEEDS Sustainability Summit at San Diego Mesa College participated in a Plantemon Go activity, where they learned about sustainable plants on campus.

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 hunger.”


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

Additional Information


Jennifer Nichols Kearns
Director of Communications
(619) 388-2759

Waverly Ray
Professor - Geography
(619) 388-2408