Conscious College Road Tour makes pit stop at UC Davis

ALEXA FONTANILLA / AGGIE
ALEXA FONTANILLA / AGGIE

The Conscious College Road tour raises awareness and educates students on eco-friendly lifestyle.

The lure of free Klean Kanteens and Chipotle may have been reason enough for UC Davis students to come out to the Quad for the Conscious College Road Tour this past Wednesday, April 30, but the event proved to leave an even greater impact on students who are working toward a more sustainable future.

ASUCD Environmental Policy and Planning Commission (EPPC) hosted the event, which was sponsored by the Bay Area-based non-profit “Turning Green.” The Conscious College Road Tour visits 16 college campuses over a span of six weeks. At UC Davis, they tabled at the EcoHub with information on improving one’s ecological footprint, and followed the event with a panel of professionals in the field of agriculture and food science.

ALEXA FONTANILLA / AGGIE
ALEXA FONTANILLA / AGGIE

“It’s a really impressive group of people and they’re coming to discuss the [deception] that agrochemical companies try and pull, health consequences of [genetically modified organisms], and how great regenerative agriculture can be,” said Sylvie Josel, a fourth-year environmental science and management major and member of EPPC. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for anyone interested in the food they eat, especially because the food industry is far from translucent.”

Panelists included John Roulac, who is the founder and CEO of Nutiva, a leading company in organic superfoods, and Stacy Malkin, a former investigative journalist and the co-founder for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

After the speeches, students had the opportunity to break into groups and discuss issues on their own campuses. They also used this time to ask questions to the panelists. Sarah Risner, a second-year environmental policy and management major, received a breadth of information about the cosmetic industry by attending the panel.

“I found it shocking that [the] FDA does not regulate cosmetic products, and so there are chemicals that are going into the products that are not even on the labels,” Risner said.  “The average woman uses 12 products a day, so that is about 200 chemicals going into her body. Through the process of planning all of this I have researched more. I’m in the transition of switching to all organic products.”

EPPC had been planning this event since winter 2015 and saw a successful turnout, along with meaningful eco-friendly messages for student

ALEXA FONTANILLA / AGGIE
ALEXA FONTANILLA / AGGIE

participants. As a leader in environmental sustainability, UC Davis strives to create an eco-friendly community; this event served to highlight those efforts.

“I interned with [Turning Green] for the past two summers. They went to 16 other colleges from Idaho to Montana to Virginia, and are going to UCLA in May,” said Alice Beittel, a first-year environmental science and management major and member of EPPC. “It’s exciting to have this road tour and panel come to Davis because we are already so known for environmental sustainability and agriculture.”

Since the tour generated a conscious effort to educate students on eco-friendly products to use in their daily lives, members of EPPC hope to see more events such as this one at UC Davis in the future.

“We’re hoping that, at the least, it will raise some awareness about where our food comes from and the difference that people can make when they’re at the grocery store just by remembering to look for local, organic and fair trade labels,” Josel said.  “Awareness is going to be fundamental to our generation improving the future health of our planet and its citizens, and I think it’s especially valid as food technology continues to advance and accelerate under regulations that currently seem very lax and profit-driven.”

 

Written By: Austin Carroll — features@theaggie.org