The Cal State Fullerton Geography Club hosted its annual conference in the Titan Student Union titled “All Points of the Compass,” to touch on topics such as climate change and mapping parks in Anaheim.
“The point of our project today was to show the importance of getting out of the classroom,” said CSUF geography undergraduate Stephanie Reiter. “Your work can make a real impact, whether you believe it or not.”
Geography student Lourdes Hernandez volunteered at her club’s event Friday morning, helping students check-in and setting up the conference posters. The posters featured the latest research conducted by CSUF’s own geography students and faculty, Hernandez said.
The conference was hosted and run by the Geography Club, Hernandez said. “We usually look around in our department to see if students or professors … Have any work that they’re wanting to show off.”
Reiter and fellow CSUF geography student Christopher Booher presented their research project on the quality of Anaheim parks.
“The City of Anaheim actually reached out to the geography department here at Cal State Fullerton and asked us to create a database and analysis on all of the parks,” Reiter said.
Two separate geography classes contributed to the research by surveying parks throughout Anaheim, Reiter said.
A presentation by Reiter and Booher was one of seven during the four-hour-long event. Educational posters set up in the back of TSU Pavilions A and B offered more information on the topics presented. Those in attendance had the opportunity to browse these posters in two dedicated, 20-minute sessions.
Junior Nancy Chavez said she came for the extra credit offered by her professor but found the environmental topics to be a big draw.
“We were talking about the landfill system, that was actually pretty interesting with how everything ties into things like climate change,” Chavez said.
Two panels were also held at the conference. The first consisted of three CSUF alumni, including United States Federal Agent Anna Davilla, who spoke about how her geography degree brought her to the Drug Enforcement Agency.
The second panel featured three geography students, including Ryan Banh, who presented research earlier in the conference on affordable housing in North Orange County.
Keynote speaker Grant Harley, a professor from the University of Idaho, presented research on the connection between Spanish shipwrecks and climate change.
“I feel science goes well with history,” said Jacob Boggs, a Fullerton College history major who received extra credit for attending the conference. “You learn about the past but also incorporate it into now.”
Hernandez said she hoped to dispute the notion that geographers only work with maps.
“Yes, to a certain extent, we do work with maps, but we can also link geography to our daily life,” Hernandez said. “It’s just opening up our minds, knowing you can get to these final points (of discussion) with geography.”