Community Involvement


Educating and positively influencing our campus community is directly at the heart of our mission. Pepperdine hosts multiple groups, clubs, and events which give students the opportunity to engage in environmental stewardship.

Step Forward Work

Step Forward Day

Since 1988, Pepperdine has come together on "Step Forward Day" to benefit the community and dedicate students to a lifetime of service. Each year, more than 1,400 participants provide 4,200 hours of community service to over 60 community organizations spanning from Ventura County to Downtown Los Angeles. Some of the services included brush clearing, trash pickup, and community beautification.

Pepperdine Green Team

The Pepperdine Green Team brings passionate students together who want to continually improve sustainability on campus. The group primarily focuses on researching innovative ways for the college student and campus as a whole to implement sustainable, holistic practices into everyday life. The Green Team visited Vital Zuman and planted their own organic garden with garlic and artichokes. Watch the video of their work day visit.

Green Team in Garden

Malibu Area Conservation Coalition

The Center for Sustainability participates in the Malibu Area Conservation Coalition hosted by the City of Malibu. MACC is a partnership of local government agencies, utilities, resource districts, and community stakeholders working within Malibu and the North Santa Monica Mountains that share the common goal of empowering local communities to conserve and protect natural and economic resources and habitat.

Grunion Research

The preeminent scholar on grunion research, Dr. Karen Martin, is a full-time Pepperdine faculty member. Students have the opportunity to work alongside Dr. Martin, assisting in research and analysis. Grunion are one of the only fish in the world that spawn on-shore. Dr. Martin discovered that beach grooming close to shore decreases the grunion's successful reproduction rate. The San Diego City Council, followed by most other California Coastal cities, implemented measures recommended by Dr. Martin, to ensure that beach grooming does not harm the grunion.

Chaparral Ecology Scholar

Pepperdine faculty member Dr. Stephen Davis is a renowned scholar in chaparral ecology, a drought and fire resistant evergreen shrub covering native to Mediterranean climates. He is working on post-fire recovery of native vegetation lost in and around Pepperdine's campus following the 2007 Malibu Canyon Fire. His work also yields vitally important information to the National Parks Department, regulatory agencies, and environmental organizations by providing insight into environmental preservation efforts. In 2008 he received the Robert Foster Cherry award for Great Teaching, the only national teaching award.

Dr. Davis is currently working with the National Parks Service and the Mountains Restoration Trust to examine chaparral post-fire recovery at both the Corral Canyon and Sherwood Lake fire sites, while collaborating with the National Science Foundation and the Catalina Island Conservancy on recovery following the Imperial Fire at Catalina Island.

Protecting Native Species

Dr. Lee Kats and his colleagues in the Seaver College biology department emphasize the value of conducting and engaging their students in hands-on research. Pepperdine students roll up their sleeves and enter the field to study ecosystems surrounding the Malibu campus. Seeking to protect native species, the biology program works with the Mountains Restoration Trust in nearby Calabasas to study stream health. Using state-certified protocol, they collect samples of macro-invertebrates in the water and send the samples to a lab to be analyzed. Because streams run near homes, roads, and oceans, its health is crucial to the community.

Volunteer Center

The Pepperdine Volunteer Center hosts ongoing environmental volunteer opportunities. Programs include work with the Mountains Restoration Trust, an organization working to remove invasive species from the Santa Monica Mountains. Check in frequently for new volunteer opportunities.

Net Impact

Net Impact is an international organization with over 10,000 members from over 90 countries. Its members are current and emerging leaders in corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, nonprofit management, international development, and environmental sustainability. During its first year, Pepperdine won the Rookie Chapter of the year award. Net Impact also hosted "Social Enterprise Week" during the week of March 2009. During this week nonprofit, private, and public sectors are brought together to explore innovative approaches to critical social issues. Some of the discussion topics included "Green Finance," "Partnering for Sustainability," and "Social Responsibility Through Walt Disney."

Socially, Environmentally, and Ethically Responsible (SEER) Symposium

The Graziadio School of Business and Management hosted the "SEER Symposium" on November 8, 2013. The symposium brings students and social entrepreneurs together with inspirational business leaders who have achieved success using the SEER lens. The event aims to communicate the values of social and environmental responsibility as well as sound ethical practices in business. In addition to our exceptional panel of speakers, the program included the inaugural SEER Symposium Fast Pitch Competition with the chance to win $1,000! The SEER Symposium Fast Pitch Competition gives start-ups the opportunity to get their idea in front of our panel of experts from the entrepreneurial and lending communities. Speakers will include socially-conscious business leaders who have successfully combined profitability with environmental stewardship and social responsibility in the production of their own quality product or service.

For more information on the SEER program, visit the SEER website, or see the Curriculum page.

USGS Post-Fire Research

The United States Geological Survey ("USGS") conducted post-fire erosion and debris flow research in Pepperdine's Winter Canyon debris basin following the Malibu Canyon fire in 2007. The resulting data will provide valuable information on flash flood and debris flow hazards in post-fire environments. Pursuant to this important study, the Secretary of the Interior, Dirk Kempthorne, met several Pepperdine representatives prior to taking a tour of the USGS research sites, which include Winter Canyon.