Chapman University’s Civic Engagement Initiatives is taking a stand against water pollution.  For the past five years, Civic Engagement Initiatives staff have worked with OC Watersheds to train Chapman students as Watershed Education Ambassadors.

Each year, Ambassadors present at local afterschool programs and 5th grade classrooms on topics related to water conservation and pollution. In Spring 2017, the program reached more than 300 fifth-graders at five elementary schools (Chapman Hills Elementary School, Fletcher Elementary School, Handy Elementary School, Sycamore Elementary School, and Taft Elementary School).

Chapman students in the program create presentations, based on 5th grade Science Standards for CA Public Schools that are reviewed and approved by a board of OC Watersheds staff. Once approved, students present to local youth about the water cycle, the role of watersheds, the dangers of water pollution, and what they can do to prevent pollution in and conserve water in their community.  Pre- and post-tests show presentations have a statistically significant positive impact on local youth’s retention of the content.

“Being a part of OC WEAP has helped me share my knowledge with the next generation, learn from them and the program overall, and make a tangible difference,” says sophomore environmental science and policy major Jennifer Ascencio.

For more information, email Gabe Flores, AmeriCorps VISTA, at or Justin Koppelman Ph.D., Associate Director for Civic Engagement Initiatives, at

Display image at top/Under the guidance of Chapman University environmental science and policy students Nikki Burtis (left) and Hallie Miller (right), local fifth-grade students join in an interactive program about water pollution.