Point Loma Nazarene University turned its attention toward nature last week, emphasizing the importance of engaging with the environment and maintaining its health. Included in the focus of PLNU’s Creation Care Week was Christian stewardship, the practice of understanding the world to be God’s creation and treating it with reverence as faithful stewards of the earth.
Throughout the week, students could notice a notable amount of activity on Caf Lane, where several curious crowds gathered around a variety of stations; these stations included students’ artwork as well as informative displays and presentations, all of which related to the theme of Creation Care Week.
In addition to the efforts on Caf Lane, PLNU’s chapel team contributed to Creation Care Week by addressing Christian stewardship during chapel. Monday’s “Praise and Worship” chapel and Wednesday’s “Creation Care” chapel explored the vital role that Christians have in tending to God’s creation, ensuring that its beauty remains unscathed by human selfishness and recklessness.
Several campus clubs also participated in Creation Care Week, providing assistance for various events both on and outside of PLNU’s campus. Among these events were community prayer and coffee in the Prayer Chapel, upcycled arts and crafts in the ARC, a local farmers market at Ocean Beach — for which transportation was provided — and a restoration of the garden at Nease Hall. One of the main goals of Creation Care Week was to provide students with plentiful opportunities to learn about their relationship with the environment.
Katrina Cloyes, a fourth-year psychology major, joined PLNU’s Sustainability Department in the spring and has continued to serve the PLNU community since then. One of the primary responsibilities that comes with her position is the planning and organization of Creation Care Week. After having examined the success of events from the past several years, she carefully devised this year’s model and led its implementation.
“I was able to see which events were the most successful, look at some data [and] see the events that we had framework for, but I also wanted to provide a variety of events to where any one student would have at least one event they wanted to participate in,” said Cloyes. “I really tried to diversify the events in that aspect.”
According to Cloyes, starting with the “Creation Care Prayer” event on Monday, attendance gradually increased throughout the week. She additionally attempted to establish partnerships with several clubs for these events, allowing for greater student involvement. Many of these clubs demonstrated an interest in contributing to the conversation on sustainability.
Creation Care Week also happened alongside Family Weekend, which allowed the Sustainability Department and its partners to reach a wider audience.
“We already knew in the beginning planning stages that Creation Care Week was going to coincide with Family Weekend, so we wanted to combine them,” said Cloyes. “I think it has an even greater opportunity to let families know about what we’re doing for sustainability.”
Cloyes further explained the details of some of the week’s events, reflecting on their various purposes. One of these was the gardening event at Nease Hall, which occurred on Saturday morning. “I’m excited because it’s a really long-term goal. They [the SEAA club] want the garden to be a safe space for students to come and find rest in creation,” said Cloyes. “The other goal is to bring in native plants, increase our pollinators and educate on biodiversity.”
Cloyes also emphasized the significance of learning about sustainability and environmental issues on a college campus. “On a college campus, [stewardship] is a really cool opportunity we have to dig deeper into issues of sustainability and recognize how much those are affecting the people in our community and around the world,” said Cloyes. “We have a very unique opportunity, being this close to a coastal community, to engage with our environment in such tangible ways.”
Having extensively studied psychology and sustainability, both of which she values, Cloyes now considers attending graduate school, hoping to further explore the relationship between the two fields. “Creation is a beautiful gift that we want to enjoy and take care of at the same time,” Cloyes said.
After an eventful week of both education and entertainment, PLNU celebrated with a beloved Creation Care Week tradition: watching “The Lorax” in the Greek Amphitheater. The Sustainability Department hopes to continue Creation Care Week and foster stewardship among PLNU’s students and faculty.
For more information on PLNU’s sustainability efforts and outreach opportunities, contact the Sustainability Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written By: Luke Spencer