Sep 29, 2011 - Ashley Ward
It was a sunny Friday afternoon at HSU. Tunes from Led Zeppelin poured through speakers, sitting in second story windows, onto to B Street.
Student-volunteers gardened, worked on projects and prepared fresh greens for a salad, while the hand-built cob oven cooked pizza bagels. This was a typical Friday at the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology (CCAT) house, where anyone who’s interested is invited to volunteer for the day and take part in a garden-fresh homemade meal.
CCAT has been attracting student volunteers for three decades now. “It was one of the big reasons why I came to HSU,” Kara Houston said, Environmental Management and Protection major and CCAT volunteer.
Thirty-two years ago, a group of students, with encouragement from HSU faculty and community members, began an experiment in sustainable living and renovated the campus’ battered Buck House using appropriate technologies.
This experiment gave birth to CCAT and a year later the students remodeled the house and moved in. In 1980, CCAT became an Associated Students program and adopted the CCAT name.
The house, located at the southeastern end of the Humboldt State campus behind the BSS building, features a solar thermal system, greywater marsh, wind turbine, several outbuildings incorporating sustainable design, permaculture landscaping, organic gardening, pedal- powered generators and a photovoltaic system. Three HSU students serve as co-directors and live in the house each semester while managing the property.
CCAT offers tours, workshops and opportunities to gain hands-on involvement in the house. Classes are taught by students and community members and teach ways of living lightly on the earth. This fall’s classes include the Lost Arts of Living, which focuses on traditional skills and crafts; Green Building, which provides an introduction to sustainable construction techniques; Eco-Craft, a course that exposes students to arts and crafts based on recycled and repurposed items; Herbalism, which studies the use of herbs as medicine and explores the science of cultivating, drying and using herbs; and Organic Gardening, where students will learn hands-on techniques for small scale food production.
Each semester, the center strives to lighten human impact on campus, in the community and through international efforts. “CCAT is definitely beneficial for the students, school and community,” Houston said. “You get to put your ideas into actual practice and its nice to get out of the dorms.”
If you are interested in CCAT, drop by a Volunteer Friday, every Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and enjoy a free lunch, or stop by the CCAT house for a tour of the property. CCAT club meetings are Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.
You can keep up to date with CCAT information by visiting the website: ccathsu.com or emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.