TOCC students celebrate with community service

Nov 3rd, 2011 | By | Category: 23-2: Climate Commitment, Tribal College News
By Martha Lee

SUSTAINABLE LEARNING. Management Information Systems Instructor Catherine Sun and student Joeagle Flores show a poster made by students for TOCC's Environmental Sustainability Event. An Office and Administrative Professions student, Flores works as an intern in TOCC’s Student Success Center and serves on Ka: g T-Ñi’okĭ, the TOCC Student Senate. Photo by Martha Lee

On April 20, 2011, two days before the official Earth Day holiday, Tohono O’odham Community College (TOCC, Sells, AZ) held its own celebration, Cem Hegid ’O Nu:kudad g Jewed (Environmental Sustainability). The event highlighted three service learning projects and served as an environmental awareness event and recycling fair.

The service learning projects were planned by faculty working with TOCC’s then Service Learning Coordinator Carmen Juarez. For service learning, students complete course objectives by performing community service. This includes reflecting upon the experiences and a demonstration component: Students share what they have learned through a public presentation, through writing, or other means.

Tohono O’odham Language and Culture Instructor Phillip Miguel (Tohono O’odham) led discussions with his students about the meaning of water in Tohono O’odham culture. The students helped put together posters showing natural springs on Tohono O’odham traditional lands.

Science Instructor Dr. Teresa Newberry led her Environmental Biology students through a classic service learning project. Working as a group, the students identified a local environmental problem—too much litter—and then researched issues and solutions related to the problem. More than just an eyesore, litter threatens the health and well-being of plants and animals. The college students felt that they could make the most impact by educating others on the effects of litter and the importance of a clean environment.

At the Environmental Sustainability Day, the students showed the movie Earth 2100 and then led a discussion on how we can avoid the environmental disaster portrayed in the movie. The students then led an Ecoscavenger Hunt in which participants found environmental facts related to consumption of natural resources and human impacts on the earth. The next day, the biology class students gave a presentation on litter reduction at the local middle school.

Management Information Systems Instructor Catherine Sun worked with students in a word processing course. Her students created flyers announcing the services of the Tohono O’odham Nation’s Department of Solid Waste Management. Many people did not know that the department is involved in trash removal and recycling, so the flyers publicized these important services.

For more ideas about environmental sustainability service learning projects, contact Dr. Teresa Newberry at (520) 383-8401 or

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