Grad Student Wins Fellowship

By Ashley Schofield

There’s no “I” in “TEAM” best describes what Jason Selwitz
contributes to being a recipient of the 2006 Switzer Environmental
Fellowship Award. The Switzer Fellowship is awarded to those who
show leadership qualities in making a difference in environmental

“It is an honor just to be nominated, but it is also a tribute
to the Lyle Center, Cal Poly, University Housing-the organizations
which I could never have done it without,” said Selwitz.

The financial award of $13,000, which is directed towards
funding research and studies, is only a fraction of the benefits
for being inducted into the foundation.

“The Switzer foundation is much as a network of other fellows
where ideas are bounced back, careers can be developed, and new
opportunities can be presented,” said Don Brackett, the Switzer
administrative coordinator.

Selwitz sees the award in a similar light.

“The money is really not the important part for me,” said
Selwitz. “Networking opens doors to healthy collaboration, which I
already have glimpsed the benefit of.”

“None of what I accomplished could have been possible without
others,” said Selwitz. “I may have given some labor or directed
here and there, but I alone cannot be given credit for the projects
I have been a part of.”

Selwitz is a second-year regenerative studies graduate student
emphasizing in natural water treatment and quality issues.

Working in the Peace Corps motivated Selwitz to work with
adolescents in becoming aware of leading a healthy lifestyle with
nature. The president of Green Team, the campus’ Environmental
Justice Network, Selwitz is among others who are empowering
students and faculty with options to becoming environmentally

The organization’s mission is to make Cal Poly run on more
sustainable products. They plan to integrate green ideas through
four main initiatives that reach out to the campus.

The club is organizing a variety of workshops available to not
only Cal Poly but the surrounding community as well. They are
starting a film discussion series about environmental and social
issues that will air weekly in the BSC to create a forum for
students to participate in.

Another focus is Pomona Organics, which will introduce a
student-run enterprise produced at the Lyle Center and agriculture
fields, providing healthy foods on campus.

A major organic producer is Pura Vida, whose coffee may be seen
around campus. This standard coffee alternative is allowing more
equitable distribution for farmers who are moving to direct

Selwitz carries out his environmental passion by dedicating
every aspect of his life to the cause, even where he resides.
Regenerative studies focus on community, renewable energy, natural
water systems, sustainable agriculture and green building.

Close friend, Matty West, is a multi-faceted student also
involved at the Lyle Center.

“I could not have made it here without him, he has been a great
support and ally in my efforts,” said Seltwitz.

Community is vital to spreading environmental improvements.
Selwitz makes evident that without the support of others he would
not be capable of what he has accomplished. He hopes to see Cal
Poly take the lead to carry out what is possible.

Ashley Schofield can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at (909) 869-3747.

Grad Student Wins Fellowship

Grad Student Wins Fellowship

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