This summer, Senior Environmental Studies major Elia Salazar completed an internship with Santa Barbara City College in Santa Barbara, California. The sole purpose of her internship was to create a more sustainable campus for SBCC and its surrounding community.
Salazar worked one on one with Adam Green, SBCC’s director of sustainability, and helped grow a permaculture garden on campus. With a good amount of students and volunteers by their side, they were able to get a functioning garden started this past summer.
Salazar and her team made flyers to promote the purpose of the permaculture garden and stuck them all around the Santa Barbara communities. They were able to get local businesses and community members to fundraise for the garden and any other future sustainability projects within the campus.
Within the garden, they dug out all of the old grass and replaced it with cardboard mulching to prevent the old grass from coming back up. They also dug swales into the ground so that the water would be evenly distributed throughout the garden. Fog catchers were also built which essentially provides water back into the garden. These fog catchers can provide up to 5 gallons of water per day, which is essential for any flourishing garden, especially because of the threat of California’s ever-present drought. Sunflowers were also planted throughout the garden, which in return, softened the gardens soil.
Salazar is bringing a lot of the knowledge and tools that she acquired this summer back to ENC, in hopes of making our campus more sustainable as well. Salazar is part of the green revolving fund here at ENC, and is busy working on specific events to get the ENC community involved with creating a greener campus.
Salazar plans to involve students in the promotion of sustainability and make being green a lifestyle change for all. She also hopes to incorporate more recycling and composting centers on campus.
Salazar comments that her summer internship “Makes [her] want to do more on campus and in [her] own life. It has made [her] more aware of the little things [she] can do to conserve in [her] household and in [her] community. [She] would definitely participate in an opportunity like this again, and readily encourages people to follow in [her] footsteps and do the same thing. [She] learned so much from [her] summer internship.”
After graduation, Salazar plans to continue on with her education and receive her Master’s degree in Urban Sustainability. For future career decisions, Salazar is hoping to look into making businesses, campuses or housing complexes more sustainable and beneficial to the environment. She hopes to one day design a house of her own completely out of recycled shipping containers.