Greg and Shannon Warwar, owners of Warwar Family Farms, an organic family farm located in Moorpark, California, help plant produce at the community garden, located next to the Intramural Field, on March 19. The community garden is the focus of this year’s Chris and Amy Doran Climate Fellow Mallory Finley’s research project. Photo courtesy of Mallory Finley
Finley’s interest in sustainability led her to apply for the Chris and Amy Doran Climate Fellowship. The Seaver Dean’s Office awards the Doran Climate Fellowship to one senior who is committed to mitigating the effects of climate change, according to the Dean’s Office website.
“[Climate change] exacerbates every other issue,” Finley said. “All of the global conflicts we’re seeing are made more extreme by climate change.”
Finley presented her research April 5, in the Biggers Family Courtyard during the Climate Calling conference. The Climate Calling conference seeks to explore the effects of climate change and the community’s responsibility to mitigate it, according to their webpage.
The Climate Calling conference began with the Earth Day Fair in Joslyn Plaza on April 4, student research presentations in the Biggers Family Courtyard and an artist lecture from Paige Emery in the community garden April 5, and a keynote address from Britt Wray in Elkins Auditorium on April 6, according to the Climate Calling website.
The Dean’s Office named junior Alexa Wright as the 2023-24 Doran Climate Fellow at the Climate Calling conference, according to the Dean’s Office website.
Recipients of the fellowship partner with a faculty member from any department to carry out a project to educate the Pepperdine community about the effects of anthropogenic, or human-caused, climate change, according to the Dean’s Office website.
Chris Doran, professor of Religion and the founder of the Sustainability minor at Pepperdine, established the Doran Climate Fellowship with his wife Amy in 2021 to put climate change at the forefront of the community’s mind, he said.
“My wife and I believed that if we could help with a small scholarship for students to do research on the climate, it could encourage other community members, both outside and inside the University, to think about climate change and sustainability issues a little bit more seriously,” Doran said.
Doran said anthropogenic climate change is an issue that matters greatly to him due to its detrimental effects on the environment, people and animals.
Anthropogenic climate change is change that occurs to the planet’s climate due to the burning of fossil fuels, aerosol use and land alteration due to agricultural events and deforestation, according to the Energy Education Center at the University of Calgary.
“Anthropogenic climate change is the number one issue facing the planet that we share with eight billion people and trillions of creatures,” Doran said. “We’re seeing the impacts of climate change already on marginalized communities, like women and children.”
Finley is the first student to become a Doran Climate Fellow, according to the Seaver Newsroom.
Finley said she applied for the Doran Climate Fellowship because it aligned with her path of study in the Sustainability program.
“I’ve taken a lot of classes with Dr. Doran, and I really appreciate a lot of what I’ve learned in the Sustainability program,” Finley said. “It’s a good way to apply the things I’ve learned and become passionate about.”
As part of the requirements for the Doran Climate Fellowship, Finley said her research project focuses on use of the community garden.
“My project revolves around revitalizing the community garden from its past use to be used as a place to promote education surrounding garden practices, food empowerment and food justice,” Finley said.
Her research question revolves around how involvement in the community garden impacts students’ personal values and attitudes towards food justice and climate change, Finley said.
The community garden is located next to the Intramural Field and is open for all members of the Pepperdine community to plant and grow foods and vegetables, according to the Sustainability Services website.
Finley said she has seen garden participation grow since she became the inaugural Doran Climate Fellow.
“During COVID, everything had to shut down, and students couldn’t access the garden because we weren’t on campus,” Finley said. “I was trying to reintroduce the garden as something students can use as a resource, because a lot of students who started at Pepperdine after COVID didn’t know it exists.”
Doran said he has enjoyed seeing use of the community garden improve under Finley’s tenure as Climate Fellow.
“In the past, students have been in and out of the garden and not fully supportive because of time constraints and things that come up,” Doran said. “It’s been a step in a new direction to make the garden more student-focused and student run.”
Two classes — ADV 475: Advertising Copywriting and Layout with Anastasia Triviza, visiting professor of Graphic Design, and Kate Parsons’, adjunct professor of Digital Art, digital art first year seminar class — utilize the community garden as part of their curriculum, Finley said.
Students in ADV 475 create a creative advertising campaign for the community garden, Triviza said.
“We designed branding and made social media creatives, out-of-home ads, YouTube ads and TikTok ads for the garden,” Triviza said.
The amount of people that attend each event at the community garden ranges from 5 to 30 participants per event, Finley said. There are about 5 to 10 consistent users of the community garden, Finley said.
Events that Finley held at the community garden this year included planting workshops, garden and compost upkeep and guest speakers, Finley said.
Finley said she partners with Green Team, Pepperdine’s Sustainability club, and the Food Recovery Network, a student-run club that collects leftover food from the Caf and Starbucks to fight food waste and host gardening events.
Recently, Finley partnered with Green Team and the Food Recovery Network to host a field day, according to a post on the garden’s Instagram page from March 22.
Finley said assistant professor of Biology Helen Holmlund served as an adviser for her research. Holmlund helped her develop a research proposal and organize community garden events. Additionally, Finley and Holmlund hold weekly meetings to discuss the progress of her research.
Holmlund said she has seen the community garden improve due to Finley’s work.
“Mallory has greatly increased student awareness of and involvement in the garden, Holmlund said. “She organized and hosted over 10 events in the garden this year, including a variety of outside speakers and workshops. Now, the garden is primarily cared for by students, which I believe was the original vision for the garden.”
Aside from giving back to the Pepperdine community, Finley said her experience as the Doran Climate Fellow has provided her with valuable career skills.
“It’s allowed me to step into a leadership role and hone a lot of skills that maybe didn’t come as naturally to me in the past,” Finley said. “It’s also helped me learn how to articulate my knowledge to those who don’t have any prior knowledge about sustainability.”
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