by Wendy Jewell

CCAT is the "off the grid" dorm of Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. They get all of their power to run the house from the sun (solar), wind and a "human energy converter" that links a fleet of stationary bikes to 12-volt generators that in turn, power TVs, laptops and other home appliances. The seven "bikers" in this picture are running the sound system for a PEACE RALLY.

CCAT is a demonstration home and educational center for resource conservation and sustainable living. It was started in 1978 by a group of students, with the support of faculty and administration, and to this day is student run and funded through HSU Associated Students. The founders of the program took a dilapidated university-owned house and began retrofitting it with energy-conserving technologies. Since then, thousands of students have gained knowledge and hands-on experience by modifying and adding to these technologies. Some of these include passive solar heating, solar electricity, gray water recycling, organic gardening, native plant landscaping, pedal-powered tools, non-toxic cleaning products, energy efficient appliances, and composting.

CCAT is open to the public and gives thousands of guided tours yearly such as the one pictured here where Eureka High School students are learning the basics of PhotoVoltaics(the process of generating electricity from sunlight). It also gives over 100 free workshops on topics related to sustainable living and serves as a resource center for information on applied technologies. The photo below is a demonstration of SOLAR OVENS at REF. spoke with Eddie Tanner, a current Co-Director at CCAT.

So how does one get to stay at this residence while at HSU? "A steering committee made up of past co-directors, HSU faculty and staff and community members conducts the interviews for directorship which consists of three students who serve one-year terms. These three directors administer the budget, manage fourteen student employees, co-ordinate student projects, maintain relations with the administration and work to develop the program. Interested students from any department can apply."

If you could influence environmental policy in the United States, what would the first step be? "The personal is the political. When we start making environmentally conscious decisions in our everyday lives, government policy will shape itself to suit us. Vote with your wallet - buy the products you believe in."

How can kids become involved in getting their own communities on board for the environment? "All it takes is a first step. Start thinking about ways of reducing your house's electricity bill or trash-load. Try it out, and then get your friends to do it too. Use CCAT as a resource. Our house uses less than 1/5 of the resources of the average U.S. home."

Do you have any heroes and why? "Farmers and teachers are my heroes. They do the world's most important work with the least compensation or appreciation."


Page created on 7/4/2004 9:59:51 AM

Last edited 1/5/2017 9:08:41 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

CCAT The Campus Center for Applied Technology at Humboldt State University, California,U.S.A. - Resource Center for all kinds of great environmental info.
Real Goods: - Products for an ecologically sustainable future
Arcata Wildlife Sanctuary

Extra Info

It is interesting to note that the city of ARCATA, in northern California where Humboldt State University is located went pesticide/chemical FREE several years ago. Hmmm. Maybe CCAT's influence?

Author Info

At the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology (CCAT), we value a healthy planet and its ethical treatment. CCAT seeks to demonstrate that living lightly upon Earth is neither difficult nor burdensome.
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