For PUC senior Dustin Baumbach, there’s more to being eco-friendly than tossing a few cans in the recycle bin.
“We’re supposed to focus on keeping God’s Earth pure and treating it correctly—not just totally destroying it,” he says. “[Some people think] dominionship over the Earth means we can just do whatever we want, but that’s not really the case.”
Dustin is the religious and social vice president of PUC’s Green Club, a student-led movement to raise awareness of environmental issues. Dustin and a few others founded the club last school year, not long after he began his studies in the college’s new environmental science major.
This year Dustin and the Green Club are getting ambitious in promoting environmental responsibility to the campus community. Earlier this year the club took students to San Francisco for a “Green Fair” showcasing a wealth of ideas on how to take better care of the planet. They’ve hosted several smaller awareness events on campus, including film screenings that highlight environmental issues. Later this year the club will host “Green Week,” a series of programs and events aimed at garnering active participation in environmental care among PUC students.
Dustin is doing more than just telling other students about environmental issues. He’s also getting his hands dirty as a conservation biology researcher. For the past two years he has been assisting Floyd Hayes, a PUC biology professor and the Green Club’s faculty sponsor, in monitoring water bird habitats nearby in Northern California and far away in Panama. The work is providing valuable experience for a future career in biological research.
“I'm learning ways of doing the research process, and how to go about formulating an experiment and how to carry it out,” he says. “I think of it as a good advantage that I get hands-on research experience that many undergrads are not necessarily able to get in other places.”
But for Dustin, PUC is more than just an opportunity to make a difference and gain knowledge and experience—it’s a family tradition. His sister and grandmother both graduated from PUC, and he wanted to continue the legacy. Still, staying in school has presented significant financial challenges, and Dustin has had to work 20 hours a week—no small feat for a full-time student and campus activist.
Fortunately last year Dustin received the Nashed Family Scholarship for academic excellence and the Edmund C. Jaeger Award for biology—a substantial total award that represents the line between doing well in school and making a difference on campus, and working yet another job between classes. “I feel like because I've received these awards I should strive to do my best to do well in school and make these awards count,” he says. “They are a big gift to students who are really struggling.”
Like the founders of those scholarships, Dustin is doing his best to leave a positive legacy—a campus concerned for the Earth God has made, and ultimately a healthier planet.
Copyright © 1996-2013 Pacific Union College | All Rights Reserved.