CSUSM honors César Chávez through community service


Adrianna Adame, Assistant Opinion Editor

Students honored the legacy of César Chávez through the César Chávez Day of Service by volunteering on various projects that focused on revitalizing areas around North County.


César Chávez Day of Service is a day of commemorating Mexican American civil rights leader, César Chávez. Many of the projects concentrate on agriculture, revitalization of nature and sustainability.


This year marks the fifth annual César Chávez  Day of Service since its creation in 2014.


The event  occurred on Saturday, March 23 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at several locations around North County.


Around 250300 students met up with organizers from Civic Learning to volunteer with one of the many projects offered and were transferred to locations off-campus  via bus.


The CSUSM Sustainable Food Project and Ethnobotany Garden was the project that directly gave back to the university. This project involved student volunteers tending to the CSUSM Community Ethnobotany Garden located between the Kellogg Library and USU by weeding, trimming plants and applying mulch to certain areas of the garden.


Students also learned  more about the contents plants within the Ethnobotany Garden from Dr. Bonnie Bade, a medical anthropologist and faculty member at the Department of Anthropology at CSUSM who advised the project.


Bade said the Ethnobotany project was “…all about community… students often don’t know where the food comes from, they don’t work with the Earth, they don’t get their hands dirty, they don’t realize that it’s hard work,”


She also said that in this project, students “contributed [their] labor to a community effort to create a beautiful space on campus that’s an educational living laboratory.”


Samantha Caracciolo, a third-year women’s studies major and political science minor who was the group leader in charge of the Ethnobotany project, said “I think it’s really important to be able to appreciate your community and appreciate the work that immigrants and farmworkers do every single day. It shows appreciation to what families do for us all the time and we don’t really give them credit for it.”


Caracciolo also said that this project “… made me feel really grateful that people do this all the time… I feel a lot more aware of my surroundings.” She said  that her favorite part of the project was feeling the energy that everyone assigned to that project had.


At the end of the César Chávez Day of Service, students worked together in a group reflection. For the Ethnobotany Garden project, students agreed that they had become more aware of the hard work involved with tending to the garden and related it back to the difficulties that Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants experienced decades earlier.


To learn more about César Chávez Day of Service, visit www.csusm.edu/civiclearning/cesarchavezday.