University Village honors Earth with festival

By Natalia Achucarro

Meatless burritos, organic iced tea and sunshine were all present to commemorate Earth Day at Mama Earth Fest on Thursday.

University Village residents and CPP students flocked to the village’s garden to enjoy homemade organic and meatless food products, rummage through donated clothing items and learn about how to conserve the Earth.

Each element of the event served a purpose to educate students on how to think green and implement a conscious effort to help the Earth. The clothing, food and information provided knowledge and resources for students.

Thrift stores donated clothing for the event. Students were able to take what they needed and even exchange some of their own clothing for the ones there. The burritos, chips and beverages were made vegan to eliminate consumption and dependence on meat. And information was provided to students who were seeking to learn more.

Sustainability advisers at the University Village hosted Mama Earth Fest. Rafael Cuadras, a fourth-year agricultural business and food industry student, and Channel Rich, a fourth-year environmental biology student, were active in creating, planning and overseeing the event.

Cuadras implemented his culinary background to create the food for the festival. He had his start as a vegan chef for one of the first holistic, organic wellness centers in San Diego.

He believes that cooking is more than just a plate of food and wishes to inspire people with his dishes.

“It’s not just that we cooked for the event, but we are inspiring people to eat this way,” said Cuadras. “A lot of people see food as a commodity, but I see it as a source of inspiration. If people see that this burrito doesn’t have any meat, but is tasty with only veggies and that the tea is refreshing, but it’s actually organic, then people will be motivated to eat this way.”

Money is a powerful source of deciding what are staple products. If students were to use their power in buying everyday necessities and items, it could benefit the Earth, according to Cuadras.

“Vote with your dollar,” said Cuadras. “If you start choosing ethically sourced products, if you start choosing a Prius over an Expedition, and if you start choosing clothes that are made in America as opposed to clothes that are made in India and travel so many miles to reach you, then those little decisions will go a long way.”

As a sustainability adviser, Rich was appreciative of the freedom and support she was given to organize the event. She hopes that it will become an annual affair at the University Village.

“We have been encouraged from our supervisors to take on what we think would be educational for the community here at the village,” said Rich. “They do coach us through the process, but they are always open about all of our ideas and allow us to make it happen.”

Rich suggests students to watch their meat intake and try a new lifestyle to help the Earth.

“The best way you can reduce impact is watching your food sources,” said Rich. “It doesn’t necessarily mean going cold turkey and not eating anymore meat, but starting off with reducing your meat intake to once a week and reducing it slowly and gradually helps. That’s the biggest way you can be Earth conscious.”

She wants students to know that any effort is helpful and important.

“Whatever you do does matter if you are trying to make a positive impact on the Earth,” said Rich. “You are not alone and do not get discouraged with your journey or with people saying individual effort does not matter, because it does.”

Bonnie Yang, a fourth-year English literature student, came to the event because of her experience at previous festivities at the University Village.

“The food is always good and the clothing is very interesting to go through and look at,” said Yang. “I’ve been to other events that were similar to this one, and it’s a lot of fun and you learn a lot.”

Imani Cooper, a third-year civil engineering student, attended the event to be with fellow students and embrace her new position at the University Village.

“I’m going to be the sustainability adviser next year,” said Cooper. “So it’s important to support your community and be with the people that I will be working with next year.”

By attending the event, Cooper is planning to change some of her everyday routines.

“I’m definitely going to go thrift shopping more,” said Cooper. “I also am planning to reduce the amount of meat that I consume in my diet.”

Mama Earth Fest

Jacqueline Estrada / The Poly Post

Mama Earth Fest

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