Department of Applied Environmental Science
ENSTU Alumni Awarded the “Outstanding Senior for Social Justice” Award
Jacob Morales, an Environmental Studies alumnus, was awarded the CSUMB “Outstanding Senior for Social Justice” award. This award recognizes students who have coordinated/participated in a project promoting equity or social justice and/or generated awareness and act as a positive agent of change. Jacob was heavily involved with the Citizens Climate Lobby, Otter Cross Cultural Center, and Office of Inclusive Excellence and led the Native American Students United organization.
We recently touched base with Jacob to learn more about his work and overall CSUMB experience.
What year did you graduate from CSU Monterey Bay?
What was your major?
Environmental Studies (ENSTU)
What led you to participate in the Citizens Climate Lobby?
At the time of joining CCL, I was freshly transitioned into the Environmental Studies program at my community college. It was a huge difference from my music production program, and I had no idea where to begin. I attended an extra credit opportunity where my mentor, Cher Gilmore was tabling. Her eagerness and passion for environmental policy were just what I needed in order to join her team and feel like I was making a difference.
Please describe your work at the Otter Cross Cultural Center and the Office of Inclusive Excellence.
My work with both offices was largely centered on Native American equity and representation on campus. As part of OIES, I headed up NASU and hosted events that focused on mental health and sexual assault awareness; both of which are intersections that impact the Native community and college students immensely. With the OC3, I was able to collaborate with campus partners in hosting events that brought our local Native groups to campus. The Ohlone Costanoan Esselen Nation were incredible partners in these events and have really allowed for a sense of Indigenous community on campus.
What did you gain from these experiences?
I think these experiences really helped me gain a sense of self that I can now apply to the work I do. I overcame imposter syndrome in the sense that I know that despite how I’m feeling about myself, the good work needs to be done. If I don’t step up, who will?
What are your professional goals, and how has your undergraduate experience contributed to your professional goals?
Through my service and experience here at CSUMB, I have realized that I really want to start a non-profit organization that combats food insecurity while addressing environmental concerns. I am currently developing the foundation for a food forest program in inner cities that will do just that while providing green spaces for underserved communities of color. I came into CSUMB thinking I’d work in policy, but on the ground with my community is where I belong.
What is your favorite part of being an undergraduate student here at CSUMB?
My favorite part of Undergrad was building relationships and having experiences around the campus community that I will treasure for a lifetime.
What is your favorite part of the Environmental Studies program?
My favorite part of ENSTU is being able to be surrounded with like-minded people who all bring something different to the table. Whereas I address environmental racism, someone else specializes in sustainable agriculture, and we can collaborate from there with unique perspectives.
What are your plans after graduation?
I am debating whether grad school or entering the professional realm is the next step for me. Either way, I know I want to move in a way that builds up my community.
Anything else you'd like to share
I’d like to thank all my newfound family here at CSUMB for supporting and encouraging me to grow. The faculty, staff, and student mentors I gained along the way have helped me figure out who I am and what my path in life is through their love, kindness, and support. I could never thank you enough!
Congratulations, Jacob! We look forward to seeing where your professional endeavors take you.