New CCAT Co-Director talks about his vision for the program

Michael Perez is the new external co-director for the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology (CCAT) at Humboldt State University for the spring and fall semesters of 2020. He is one of three student co-directors who live in the house and manage the program for a year.

Perez is a double major in economics and environmental science with a concentration in energy and climate. He has been a volunteer with CCAT up until this paid position.

“We’re here to provide a service, to teach and to demonstrate that living lightly on the earth is not burdensome and anyone can do it,” Perez said.

Last semester Perez had the opportunity to learn about climate policy-making processes as an intern for Congressman Gil Cisneros in Washington, D.C.

“That gave me an appreciation and an in-depth understanding of our democracy, and that is forever going to influence my career decisions,” Perez said.

CCAT is a student-led and student-funded program. Its mission is to promote environmental sustainability through community building.

“I think it’s a wonderful space for every discipline. Even if you just wanna hang out, eat food, or host club meetings…we don’t just do the sciences…” Regine Familara, CCAT’s event volunteer coordinator, said.

Perez hopes to establish a unified front in which the program has a clear, centralized goal — to make appropriate technology an interdisciplinary conversation.

“The energy he brings here is fantastic, and seeing him just reel in people who are walking by and offering them the inviting space is just fantastic,” said Sebastian Forward, an organic gardener at CCAT.

As a student, Perez understands the negative stigma behind a sustainable lifestyle — that it can be too expensive and unattainable for low-income individuals. This misconception is something he hopes to destigmatize.

“We seek to demonstrate that a sustainable lifestyle is applicable and feasible for anyone, even someone with a student income,” Perez said. “It’s not all doom and gloom, you too can contribute.”

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