In a semi-impromptu fashion, retired four-time NBA champion John Salley made an appearance on campus to discuss how he can help with students’ sustainability efforts on Monday. Salley met with members of the Sustainability Committee and Students for Progress – the incoming Associated Students slate – who guided him through a tour of the sustainable gardens on campus.
Salley was receptive and readily shared his own experiences and thoughts on matters of sustainability and plants.
“I did [gardening] my whole life,” said Salley. “My mom made me work in her garden, and not play basketball.” He did, after all, find time to play basketball but quickly became skilled in the garden as well as on the court, he said.
In Salley’s NBA career he played for the Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, ending with the L.A. Lakers.
The tour started at the vegetable garden -southwest of the L Building – which is delayed in development, as it depends mainly on the work of students.
Salley, much like his tour guides, sees PCC as an institution that can lead by example.
Hypothetically, Salley said, should he appear on a morning talk show answering as to why he is helping PCC he would say: “I’m tired of talking to dumb adults. I want to talk to kids who are smarter than their parents, who want to save the planet.”
“I want to help those who want to change the world,” Salley added.
Hanna Israel, associate member of the Sustainability Committee, is the link between Salley and PCC.
“A friend of mine got me in touch with [Salley] because he’s vegan and he promotes sustainability,” said Israel. “We’re working together to help him develop his vision into a website.”The website is to be called “The Green Pill,” she said.
“When I started working with —–John, I saw all the changes that are being made at PCC and I really wanted him to see what a two-year college can do as far as the future in activism,” said Israel.
It was Salley’s idea to come on campus and see it for himself, especially after hearing about the high turnout Israel drew for a screening of “Food Inc.” earlier this semester.
In light of progress, funding is currently the biggest issue in advancing projects such as the vegetable garden, said Eric Recchia, director of progressive transit on the Sustainability Committee.
“In times like this, it could be difficult. We have good ideas but being sustainable isn’t necessarily the most economical thing,” though, that will not slow sustainability efforts on campus, said Recchia.
Salley offered tips and suggestions like planting food on the rooftops of buildings, raising funds through the Rose Bowl flea market and appealing to others willing to donate.
The Sustainability Committee is to receive a donation of $360-worth of soil and compost from Foothill Soil for the vegetable garden, matching $360-worth purchased through the Associated Students funds.
“No way you should be doing all of this and have to worry about [how to pay for it],” said Salley.
Recchia said that though the PCC administration has become “much more accommodating” in bringing sustainability to the campus, the effort continues to be mainly student-driven.
“Until [the administration] really begins to spearhead this effort there’s not going to be a lot of change on this campus. We students have to drive them to that,” said Recchia. “It’s not that [PCC] is purposely trying to restrict us, it’s just, you know, we’re students. We’re not the ones that lead the decision,” he added.