The Hills Are Alive: Campus Community Celebrates Natural and Cultural Diversity on Earth Day 2008
The observance of Earth Day on April 22 at California State University, Dominguez Hills will focus on a multicultural approach to celebrating, and ultimately saving the natural environment.
“Not only is Earth Day being supported by staff, faculty and students from diverse departments on campus, but Earth Day is bringing together diverse cultural communities,” says Cheryl McKnight, coordinator of the Center for Service Learning, Internships and Civic Engagement (SLICE).
The Earth Day program includes a wide range of events and activities. Vendor and information booths will be presented by on- and off-campus entities and organizations. Everyday green measures such as recycling and carpooling will be highlighted, and representatives of the Sierra Club and the Friends of the L.A. River will be on campus to talk about their organizations. Performances of ethnic and cultural traditions that honor the earth and nature are also scheduled, including Okinawan dancers and a Japanese minyo (folk song) group to celebrate the CSUDH Japanese Garden and bird dancers from the Cahuilla tribe of California.
Douglas Borcoman, acting director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, underscores the need to align human philosophy with the desire to protect and preserve the earth.
“Philosophy is, among other things, concerned with how we construct and apply our world views,” he says. “We work to foster greater respect for all the denizens of the earth, even for ‘non-living’ mountains and streams in an effort to not only recognize their intrinsic value, but also to emphasize global interdependence. The hope is that a perspective that acknowledges the inherent value of living organisms and ecosystems will lead to sustainable life choices, respect for nature, and a reduction of harmful practices that lead to pollution, species extinction and possibly global warming.”
Earth Day 2008 is co-sponsored by Associated Students, Inc., the Center for Teaching and Learning, SLICE, the Honors Program, the Office of Student Life, the Philosophy Department; and the University Greek Council.
Tanika Foster-Spates, director of SLICE, commends the campus community for coming together to raise awareness of the environment and “[making] this event a strong statement for being stewards to our planet.”
“We have had great interest in Earth Day from various departments and groups on campus, which illustrates that [Dominguez Hills] is a family,” she says. “Earth Day is bringing to the forefront the reality that we are all citizens of the planet. We must each find ways, big and small, to appreciate this home which sustains us and to preserve it for coming generations.”
McKnight is enthusiastic about the diversity of the day’s offerings and the event’s ability to unite the Dominguez Hills campus.
“Despite the incredibly tight budget, so many people and departments are chipping in any way they can,” she says. “Not many people know that [the campus] is a California native species propagation site. We all felt that, with the budget cuts and all, we needed to do something positive for everyone on campus, and the need to care for the environment is something we knew we could all agree on. Earth Day is a natural for us.”
Vendor booths, entertainment and speakers will be featured in the Loker Student Union Palm Courtyard, the Sculpture Garden and the Japanese Garden in the Social and Behavioral Sciences courtyard. The event begins at 10 a.m. with exhibits continuing throughout the day and concluding at 2:30 p.m.
For the Earth Day schedule of events and activities, click here.
- Joanie Harmon