Cassandra Carlson

Students gathered Wednesday night at the STAND presentation put on by Keen Footwear Company. The event informed students about sustainability issues and encouraged them to enter in their contest to win $25,000.

The contest has three categories: creative types, outdoor athletes and activists who stand up for sustainability through the work they do.

Keen presented a documentary profiling individuals who encompass their talents in mobilizing the sustainability movement.

The film included people ranging from a pro snowboarder drawing awareness, to global warming, and to a man who owned an organic chocolate making company.

Seth Warren, a professional kayaker and activist from Montana, was in the documentary and talked about his role in the longest 100 percent petroleum-free road trip in the world along the Pan-American Highway. Warren and a friend began from the most northern part of Alaska, traveling as far as Argentina and Chile – a journey that covered over 45,000 kilometers.

“Keen brought me in because they wanted to show how a small idea like mine can grow,” Warren told the audience.

The fuel they used came from recycled grease from restaurants, grassroots b100 biodiesel facilities, animal waste oils and homemade vegetable oils, and local African palm tree pulp and fish oils. By using no gas or diesel, they demonstrated to people in the 16 countries they traveled to that reliance on gas or diesel is an illusion.

Warren received a lot of attention due to the old fire truck they bought from a Web site.

“We wanted to get a vehicle that would stand out and could hold all of our equipment on top,” Warren said.

The group did presentations and had many stops along the way. They also kayaked to pristine places.

“We kayaked into this canyon, so far away from anyone. It was then I had a moment of clarity that this land I was in was not altered by man, and I was probably one of the only people to ever be at that exact point,” Warren said.

Tyler Hartrich, a city and regional planning junior, gave a presentation about the concepts of his group Green From Within.

Hartrich talked to the group about a concept developed in Berkeley, Calif. called “pre-cycling”.

“It’s all about thinking before you buy,” Hatrich said. “Think about the plastic bottles that you buy instead of plastic buy the biodegradable bottles made of corn.”

The main message Hartrich sent to the audience was that “sustainability thinking” is evolving and there should be no politics involved. People need to be on the same side.

“The world surrounding you today is nothing like it will be tomorrow,” Hartrich said as he ended his presentation. “The future cannot wait.”

After the presentations, the students in attendance were given the opportunity to vote for the sustainable club on campus they want Keen to give $1, 000 to. Empower Poly, Cal Poly Organic Farm and the Heffer International club at Cal Poly were nominated to receive the money.

Keen will inform the winning club in three weeks.

Students took in a lot of information from the event.

“I learned instead of having to think sustainable, you have to be sustainable. What really stuck with me, was that you need to ‘be what you want to see in the world’,” said materials engineering sophomore, Phillip Steeter.

The STAND competition will end on Dec. 31, 2007. Keen employees and independent judges will decide the winning students.

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