SU Community Garden Revitalization
By Natalie DeCesare
Earlier in the semester, students responded to a sustainability survey indicating high value for a campus garden yet little idea of SU’s Community Garden’s existence. Such feedback aided in the development of a full revitalization of the SU Garden by students and faculty. With a peaked interest from President Burger and the Board of Trustees, financial support from the Green Fund and donors, and a determined group of students, the SU Garden begins its transition into visibility.
One front of this initiative comes from an Environmental Studies capstone group comprised of students who submitted garden project ideas for the Green Fund. These ideas include handicap accessible pathway up for review, as well as recommended sustainable structural projects. One of the biggest projects the capstone group and gardeners have advocated for is an outdoor classroom space.
“One particular project that I hope to see completed is the stage/lecture area for professors. Not only does this space promote the interdisciplinary learning that SU prides itself in, but it also has the potential to bring so many more students into the garden that might not otherwise go down on their own,” said Senior Gabby Hunt.
Garden volunteers want everyone to feel welcomed to use the garden as a study, hang out, and learning space. Events like the Ghostbuster movie night last week, essential oil making, garden yoga, and potlucks all showcase the diverse utilization the garden can have.
“You don’t have to garden in the garden- we’re making a place for studying, doing art, hanging out and of course, working in the oil,” said Garden advisor and chaplain Megan Danner, “ There is research that suggests getting your hands in dirt regularly increases hormones in your brain related to happiness and decreases those related to stress.”
In the past, the SU Garden received school funding and had paid student workers to manage it, especially in the summer when the garden is most susceptible to degradation. Since this financial structure is no longer in place for the time being, students have volunteered many hours to redesign the garden and possibly develop it into a cooerative business. Senior Ben Galindo continues to work with interested parties on a business plan. Possible ideas include selling boxed produce to students and faculty at discounted prices, while also making it available to Georgetown residence.
For more information about the SU Garden and ways to get involved, visit Southwestern University Community Garden on Facebook, or coming to one of the garden volunteer sessions posted on Campus Notices.