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Surfrider Foundation Club crashes onto campus

Tim Gibbons

Tim Gibbons

Brittany Hang, Staff Writer

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The Surfrider Foundation, a worldwide non-profit organization devoted to the preservation and restoration of beaches and oceans, has made it to The Beach.

The environmental organization, which has chapters in Huntington Beach and Long Beach, has formed a club at Cal State Long Beach.

Tom Gibbons, a CSULB surfing instructor and club adviser, said it was a goal to establish the club for a while. The Surfrider Foundation Club is the first university-based club on the West Coast for the organization, according to Gibbons.

“I was a public educator, and I know service is a very important component to giving back to the community,” Gibbons said. “It’s a very important component to the CSU systems as well as the UC systems, and I always wondered why Surfrider didn’t tap this resource.”

The goal soon became a reality when the club became official in December 2012. The accomplishment, however, did not come without obstacles.

Gibbons said he had to find a student who would be willing to go through all the necessary steps with him. That student was Matthew Cole, a senior geology major and president of the Surfrider Foundation club.

“I see it growing over the years,” said Cole, who met Gibbons at a Surfrider event for the Huntington Beach chapter. “Right off the bat, we’re going to start with some community service type of events, such as beach clean-ups, and eventually Tom and I would both like for it to hopefully turn into a chapter one day.”

According to Gibbons, the club initially tried to become a chapter but was denied by the foundation’s headquarters in San Clemente.

“Just jumping through all the hoops, the paperwork and the fact that we wanted to become a chapter [instead of a club], that set us back six months,” Gibbons said.

Since then, however, the club has been growing steadily. According to Gibbons, the club recently elected its officers and has a membership of about 60 people.

Gibbons said he hopes to show films on campus about coastal and environmental issues, and he hopes to work with both the Huntington Beach and Long Beach Surfrider chapters on beach clean-ups. The club also hopes to work with other clubs on campus to raise awareness about the marine environment.

“We’re definitely going to try to set up dates and tables once a month to raise awareness around campus to widen our club,” said Tiffany Wiles, a junior human development major and member of the Surfrider club.

Along with beach clean-ups, Gibbons said the club also aspires to adopt the Surfrider Foundation’s “Hold Onto Your Butt” campaign, which encourages people to reduce cigarette litter.

“We can raise money to buy stainless steel canisters so that when people walk down, instead of throwing their cigarette butts into the Marina, they can put it into those containers,” Gibbons said.

The club will participate in a beach clean-up event on March 23 from 10 a.m. to noon at Sunset Beach on Anderson Street.

The club meets on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. in front of the University Student Union.
 

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