What’s Going on at HSU’s Campus Center for Appropriate Tech?

Klara Hernandez

The Campus Center for Appropriate Technology (CCAT)  has taken a hard hit in community functionalities since the start of the pandemic but part of the growing movement of Appropriate Technology is facing a human need and critically analyzing how to fill this need through the best possible social, economic, and environmental  perspective. CCAT is currently closed and in the process of proposing to bring Volunteer Fridays back in a safe, socially distant manner. We have adapted to a full-on virtual mode that is interactive for students and the community. We post on Instagram and Facebook every day and we have updated our website and YouTube channel as well. Our content is full of Appropriate Technology demonstrations, featured photos, virtual ways to get involved, and uplifting ideas for our community.

 Our newest updates include lime-coloring the Rocket Mass Heater Bench that has taken hundreds of hours of volunteers and employees to finish building. This bench is for outdoor cooking. You put firewood inside the chute (where the cat’s head sculpture is located) and heat will travel up to warm the lid of the barrel serving as a stovetop. The heat also travels towards the west heating up the bench for your sitting pleasure. Then, at the very end of the process, the smoke rises out of a BBQ grill! There are also cupholders and shelving installed. We hope that we can soon use this space to bring the community together again.

The Rocket Mass Heater Bench is made of cob_ clay, sand, water, & straw.

We have a neat way of sharing seeds in front of CCAT, or you can drop yours off! The vegetables we grow normally were offered to students and the community to pick themselves and we cooked them for our volunteers every Volunteer Friday. However, due to Covid-19 we no longer are able to do that, so I took the initiative of dropping this produce off to the Humboldt Mutual Aid free food stands.

Take some seeds for your garden or share yours! Located in front of CCAT next to the pig pen.


Another way students can get involved is by dropping off their compost any time, at the back southeast corner of CCAT next to the tool shed. We do not accept meat, dairy, or eggs (eggshells are ok). On the plus side, if you are working on your garden and are in need of finished compost you may also come over and pick it up! We have already helped several students build their garden beds at home.


You’re welcome to drop off your compost located on the southeast corner of CCAT next to the tool shed (use back entrance)

We have a couple of virtual events coming up, including a Virtual Haunted House on Friday, October 30, where we invited a speaker to talk about a little history of Halloween that most people may not know about. We’re offering free pumpkins for anyone that wants to enter our pumpkin art contest! This can involve carving your pumpkin, painting it, or decorating in any other creative artistic ways. We will also have an upcycled costume contest and, yes, there will be prizes! Upcycling includes putting your costume together with second-hand materials or trash.


Our main event is Harvest Fest which will start off with a talk by Lonny Grafman, one of the Humboldt State engineering professors that ultimately has his hands-on class time at CCAT. Then for brunch we will have a pie baking show followed by an art show, which is the highlight of the event. The art show via zoom will be structured as a slideshow and we are calling singers, instrument players, and music producers to perform as each art piece slides by. Then we’re featuring the new student-led organization, B1g Foot New$, with  a special episode talking about community and conversations that need to be had. Next, a couple of other speakers will talk about justice activism through the lens of appropriate technology and food justice.

 Due to budget cuts, we have had to cut two of four of our 1 unit CCAT classes. One of the remaining classes is online Organic Gardening and our newest addition is Sewing and Sustainability. These classes are taught by students and they have filled up quickly and even took in extras on the waiting list.

 The Campus Center for Appropriate Technology is still in the process of planning more creative ways to stay engaging and reflect the goals of our mission statement which are: to demonstrate appropriate technology in a residential setting, to provide hands-on experiential learning opportunities to HSU and the surrounding community of Arcata, to collect and disseminate information about appropriate technology, to examine the ethical and social consequences of technology, and to dispel the myth that living lightly on the earth is difficult or burdensome. Stay tuned!

 Instagram: @ccathsu

Facebook: Campus Center for Appropriate Technology

Youtube Channel: ccathsu

Email: ccat@humboldt.edu

Website: ccat.humboldt.edu/