With papers piled high and Cal State Fullerton event flyers cluttered around the office, a sense of responsibility was in the air. As a professor of anthropology and the current director for CSUF’s Center for Sustainability, John Bock understands the impact of a single footprint.
He said his role as an anthropologist gives him the opportunity to collaborate with the Urban Agriculture Community Based Research Experience (U-ACRE) project to expand knowledge of agricultural issues. One of Bock’s focuses is based on the process by which people get resources like food from the environment.
“We use urban agriculture as a lens to understand food security, sustainable development and environmental justice,” Bock said.
Kimberly Gibson, who Bock advised during her master’s project, said U-ACRE is about sending students of all ages out on different agricultural-focused assignments to gain hands-on experience in the field. The project emphasizes the way agriculture in inner cities can lead to conservation of natural resources.
Bock’s other role as director of the Center of Sustainability allows him to join the campus-wide effort to not only address the ecological environmental aspect, but also the economic and social justice side.
“I think that Cal State Fullerton is a really important resource to our community,” Bock said.
Roland Pacheco, a former intern at the Center for Sustainability, was a graduate assistant for Bock during Pacheco’s time at CSUF. Pacheco said working with Bock and seeing his professionalism and passion on display strongly impacted his master’s thesis and work ethic.
“Seeing how he actually cares for sustainability and his efforts to get students engaged and involved, I thought is really important,” Pacheco said. “He gave me the opportunity to get involved.”
Bock’s passion for sustainable outreach has taken him all the way to Botswana in Southern Africa, where for the past five years he has tapped into the research of water quality on health.
His research on water has a direct relationship to sustainability, as the question of cleanliness arises when animals and pathogens flood the natural resource. People walk for miles just to receive this basic necessity and are unaware of the looming health hazards.
“It’s very intense the change we can see, so water is scarcer,” Bock said. “People have to go farther to get it.”
Adding to the need for sustainability awareness, Bock helps organize Earth Week every year at CSUF, an event that includes student organizations, faculty, staff and university departments. This collaborative effort helps bring new perspectives on sustainability to the campus and the surrounding community.
One event during that week will include the Farmers’ Market and Food Expo which is sponsored by the Environmental Sustainability Commission of Associated Students, Inc. Bock said the Earth Week planning committee always tries to reach out and bring the community together.
“If we think about what sustainability is, it’s meeting our needs while making sure that future generations can meet their needs as well,” Bock said.