May 2012

Santa Clara University Students Embark on 225-Mile Walk Across California with an Eye for Social Justice and Sustainability

SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 15, 2012– Fourteen students from Santa Clara University will spend two weeks this summer getting a firsthand look at California from a social justice and sustainability perspective—by walking 225 miles from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park.

Starting at Ocean Beach, the route leads to several places not found on any tourist map: a farm workers’ labor camp in Stockton; a Me-wuk Indian reservation in Tuolumne; a community garden sowing the seeds of food justice in Oakland.

The June 15–30 trek marks the culmination of a 10-week multi-disciplinary class, “Walk Across California,” currently underway at Santa Clara University for the spring quarter.

“I want students to experience firsthand issues of sustainability, environmental justice, and social activism—by observing the natural landscape of California, hearing people talk, and just listening to their stories,” said David Popalisky, the associate professor in SCU’s department of theatre and dance who teaches the class.  “I also want to cultivate each student’s sense of wonder.”

The itinerary includes talks with farmers, teachers, park rangers, artists, shop owners, and Native Americans. Students will have lunch with food activists from People’s Grocery in Oakland; have dinner in Tracy with organic farmers; visit a farm workers’ labor camp, with talks by workers and labor activists in Stockton and Farmington; and have meetings in Groveland with a water conservation educator and in Twain Harte with members of the Me-wuk tribe.

The hikers will log 15 miles a day, five hours from morning until mid-afternoon. Students will be responsible for structuring elements of each day’s walk, with input from the rest of the group. Each student also will keep a journal of the experience and choose an art form – poetry, drawing, song or dance – to creatively dialogue about their journey.

Students will be accompanied by four faculty members, and will travel light, carrying day packs. Along the way, a van will transport food and camping gear.

The 10-week class preceding the walk across California has included critical, historical, and poetry readings; short collaborative creative works; and a series of training walks to boost stamina.  More on the class can be found here.

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, theology, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

Media Contact
Marika Krause | SCU Media Relations | | 408-554-5126


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