California student leaders gathered last weekend to discuss sustainability at an annual convergence held at the University of California, San Diego.
A group called the California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC) hosts both a spring and fall convergence each year at different California university campuses. Student leaders from across California interested in sustainability on campus and in their communities attended these convergences to learn the latest in environmental science and opinions, to share resources, and to socialize with other environmentalists.
“It’s so great to come together with like-minded people and know you’re not in this struggle alone,” said Orange Coast College student Brianna Flores, who had come to the convergence after being alerted via the CSSC e-mail list. “Sometimes you feel like you’re taking on all these things, and just to come together with all these students who have done so much for their campuses, created such change…it’s really inspiring.”
The mission of the CSSC, according to their website, is “…to unite and empower California’s community of higher education to collaboratively and nonviolently transform our selves and our institutions based on our inherent social, economic, and ecological responsibilities.”
The students were told to arrive Friday night, where they socialized to get to know each other until that night, when many of them sprawled their sleeping bags across the floors of the dorms to sleep. On Saturday, the attendees went to three workshops of their choosing. Workshops, hosted by students, staff, and volunteer speakers, covered a broad range of topics, including traditional foods, how to advertise for a nonprofit organization using the Internet, the effects of meat on the environment, and home composting.
This semester, UC San Diego’s Student Sustainability Collective hosted the convergence, with convergence coordinator Jared Muscat, an involved member of the student sustainability community.
“It’s kind of our Mecca, you know?” said Muscat. “Every fall and every spring, it’s the one thing we come back to, we see each other if we haven’t seen each other for a while…we get super, super excited, and we just dive right in into all this stuff.”
The convergence provided free vegetarian, organic, local food for all the meals at the convergence, which had been donated by businesses around the campus as well as the campus farming co-op.
Later on Saturday night, there was a concert put on by a local band called The Skavolutionary Orchestra, to which the attendees enthusiastically danced.
Sunday morning, the attendees ate breakfast and attended one more workshop. The last event of the convergence was a spiral hug, in which the attendees all took each others’ hands and spun in a line to create a human spiral, which tightened into a massive group-hug.