Mixer showcases students’ eco-friendly ideas

The Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden hosted a mixer Wednesday evening in order to encourage Cal State Long Beach to go green.

Approximately 60 people attended the first-time sustainability-focused event titled “Past, Present and Future.” Students showcased their environmentally friendly projects and faculty, alumni and community members attended.

Event host and campus sustainability task force coordinator Donnie Bessom said the event was the first of many, and he was amazed by the turnout.

“I never expected this amount of feedback from students and faculty,” he said. “We have scientists dreaming big, designers drawing those dreams, engineers building them, and the community comes together while the film department is making a documentary about it … I hope the numbers keep growing.”

One member of the community is Alexis Cornejo, film electronic arts major and the head documenter of the “Green Generation” mixer.

“It’s great bringing everyone from different departments together,” she said.

Another contributor was Ashley Dowell, an interior design alumni who shared her ideas about sustainable building.

Dowell spoke about her recent two-week trip to Thailand, where she conducted her senior thesis on designing an ideal sustainable orphanage in Khao Lak, Thailand, called Suay, which means “beautiful” in Thai.

Garden staff member Michael Oguro introduced another green project called the Water Wise Moss Garden, which uses water wisely to create sustainable garden space. The project is up for a grant from Rain Bird, a company awarding $50,000 for water conservation projects. The project can be viewed at

Students, alumni and community members all spoke about “going green” on campus.

“We have to make changes on a large scale to affect issues like global warming,” industrial design major Josh Portinga said.

Bessom said people aren’t waiting for the future they want, but building it themselves.

He said, “At a time when our country is facing its worst economic depression, two wars that are going nowhere and an education system that is under attack, they still find a way to fight with their minds.”

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