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Thursday, June 1, 2023

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San Diego State celebrated the first Earth Day with Earth Awareness Week. San Diego State celebrated the first Earth Day with Earth Awareness Week.

Decades Ago at San Diego State

Special Collections and University Archives takes a look back at Environmental Awareness Week in 1970.

The SDSU Library's Department of Special Collections and University Archives presents the weekly series "Decades Ago at San Diego State." Special Collections and University Archives staff members collect articles and photos from archived issues of The Daily Aztec, providing a glimpse of the university's past and its memorable events, people and programs. 

On April 22, 1970, San Diego State joined hundreds of college campuses across the country in the first celebration of Earth Day, described at the time as a national teach-in on ecology. 

San Diego State, led by student group Ecology Action, went so far as to designate April 20–24, 1970 as Environmental Awareness Week.

Numerous campus events were planned for the week, including a staged production at Peterson Gym and a special display at Scripps Cottage. Politicians, including congressmen Lionel Van Deerlin and John Tunney, local government officials, such as San Diego City Sanitation Engineer Ed Mendosa, and even some faculty members spoke and held forums across campus.

Presentation and forum topics included:

Across campus, students offered opinions about the events. 

The 2,000 members of San Diego State's various Greek organizations passed a resolution in support of Environmental Awareness Week's objectives. Several editorial cartoons appeared in the Daily Aztec focusing on environmental issues. 

Editorials submitted by students and faculty alike approached the issue from all angles. One plead with readers to "Give a damn" about the problem of environmental pollution, another noted the irony of pro-environment car bumper stickers, while a third referred to the whole week as a circus.

More "Decades Ago at San Diego State" features