Sustainability Champion - Carolyn Hinman

Carolyn Hinman is a passionate CSUMB student dedicated to her community, and to sustainability. She volunteers with “Everyone’s Harvest”, she’s an RA in East Campus, she has been involved in the FARM Club on campus, and she is a vegan. We sat down with the 3rd Year Environmental Science major to hear more about her.

Tell me about yourself- Name, Major, Year, anything else you’d like to add.

I’m Carolyn Hinman, I’m a third year, but I have about 3 more semesters left. I’m an ENVS major. This year, I’m an RA on Minuteman Court in East Campus, and I am also a tattoo enthusiast. That’s a fun fact. I grew up in Ohio. My grandparents lived on a farm and farmed monsanto vegetables. I spent a lot of time on a farm. When I was about 8 years old, I started an Earth's Day club. We would go on walks and pick up trash. One time, we picked up a bunch of worms off the asphalt and put them back on the dirt. As you can see, I’ve always had a place in my heart for environmental issues.

Caroyln Hinnman

You’re an intern at Everyone's Harvest, what can you tell me about that organization? Why did you choose to be a part of Everyone’s Harvest?

Everyone’s Harvest supports access to healthy whole foods for everyone, directly connecting to food justice issues. They have a community garden, and partner with different organizations like HOPE services. They have everything from veterans who have garden plots, to high school students who learn about planting and compost. They have a different farmer's market in the area just about everyday of the week. They give educational seminars. They pick a recipe and show you how to cook it. They do prescription fruits and vegetables for medical use. Patients come and shop for organic medicine to prevent future illness. They even accept EBT.

You’re an RA in East Campus. How do you promote sustainability through your residential community?

I’m still working on that. This is my first year as an RA. One of the things I really want to do is bring compost to East Campus. Another thing that we’re focusing on is doing Zero Waste events. We shop for things in bulk so that we don’t have a ton of trash. We recycle. We ask attendees to bring their own cups, plates, and silverware. We’re going to be using linen napkins. I really would like to do some programming so that my residents get to see some hiking trails. Even going out whale watching. Maybe that will help connect littering plastic to the ocean. I’m asking people to be more conscious with their trash and trash bins. I think I'm going to organize a couple trash walks. Maybe I’ll bake cookies for everyone who comes out and gathers a bunch of trash. I want to launch a program that teaches residents how to eat vegan. I want to show that it’s not more expensive than eating a normal diet. It can be fun. You’re not just eating lettuce. Even doing it one day a week. I think anything that people do to start changing awareness is awesome.

How can students in your residential community (and all students living on campus) live more sustainably?

Composting is so easy to do. It just takes a little bit of thought. Especially when food in landfills produces methane gasses. Monterey Waste Management compost on site and the food waste from the DC goes directly there. They even produce their own electricity. It also makes great fertilizer for plants. It keeps that out of the landfill and keeps it from producing toxics. Compositing is even done on campus at the campus garden near the Watershed Institute . You can also take your composting to Everyone’s Harvest. When you go out to eat, bring a tupperware so you’re not taking a to go box home. Those are some of things that I do.

You’ve been involved in the FARM Club. What is the FARM club, and why do you choose to be a part of it?

Farm Club Photo

The FARM Club is Food Advocates for Real Meals, and they are part of the Real Food Challenge. It’s about food that is whole food and nourishing and locally grown. We should be producing all of our food from our backyard, being in the Monterey/Salinas area. The club connects food justice and social justice. How your social and economic status define what you eat.

What does Sustainability mean to you?

To me, I guess being conscious and thinking twice about the things that we do just out of habit. Just because we’ve always done something a certain way doesn’t mean that’s the best way to do it. Looking for ways to reduce your footprint, making someone’s little corner of the world a little greener and better. We have one earth, and just because we don’t want to wash a dish, why are we going to buy a bunch of plastic and styrofoam silverware. It never goes away!

You’re a vegan. Why did you choose that lifestyle? Does it connect with your drive to be a sustainable person?

I made the transition about 3 years ago, and we’ve all seen the “Meet your Meat” videos. I definitely have a heart for animals and have gone back and forth from being an omnivore. Some of the reasons include just seeing the amount of water being used, and all the propaganda. We’re told it’s not a meal if it doesn’t have meat. Then, the torture of sentiment animals.I can’t slit a cow's throat. I physically probably could, but on an ethical level, what makes my taste buds more important than someone else’s life. My decision to be vegan helped me heal my relationship with food. I’m eating for a purpose. It was a way to protest in a small way, the injustices I felt were being done all in the name of money. Cutting down rainforests to build more agriculture is not something I wanted to be a part of. I eat my oreos with almond milk!

What’s something unique about you that not very many people know?

I’m covered in tattoos. I have a huge “Narwhal” tattoo, which is the unicorn of the ocean.

What do you want to do after you graduate from CSUMB?

I have no idea. I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m trying to be happy and I’m trying to do what feels right and after graduation, I want to do something working with food justice and food waste, maybe something policy wise, and even organizing neighborhoods to compost together.

Anything else you’d like to add, or anything you wish I would have asked?

I love this school, and I love the focus on sustainability. I love the ideas to bring people together over it. I love working with all kinds of people. I have a heart for people and I’ve put myself through some hard times. I’m 33, and I’m still pretty young, but I’m older than most of the people here. I’d love to connect with people.