Leveraging a $1,000 grant from the Student Sustainability Initiative, sponsored by the Graham Institute, what began as a student project idea in the Sustainability & the Campus course, has turned into an on-campus garden providing fresh, healthy and sustainable food.
In a garden located adjacent to Elbel Field, Outdoor Adventures program participants are working together to grow vegetables such as tomatoes, habanera peppers, onions and even an herb called the heirloom mystery surprise. Trip leaders and other Outdoor Adventures staff will use the vegetables grown in the garden as part of their food allocations on program-sponsored trips.
The program's proposed ideas were focused on making eco-friendly changes, with one specifically related to food purchasing.
"Outdoor Adventures wanted to make a significant change in food purchasing, but did not budget for an increase in spending that might result from buying more local and organic food," says Lindsey MacDonald, assistant director of Outdoor Adventures. "The grant provided funding to create a garden that will be used both as a source of food for our trips and as an educational tool."
Through the program's joint efforts with students in the Sustainability & the Campus course taught by Mike Shriberg, PitE lecturer and Graham Institute education director, Outdoor Adventures has improved its environmental performance while offering a real-world application project for students to grow and develop a greener community.
"Sustainability and the Campus is a project-based course that allows students to apply their classroom knowledge by using the campus as a living-learning laboratory. The work with Outdoor Adventures is a great example of what's possible when students are empowered to drive positive change on campus," Shriberg says.
MacDonald adds: "This collaboration of students, faculty and staff has helped improve the environmental sustainability of Outdoor Adventures and serves as an example of the success that can be achieved through the connection of academics, student initiated programs and faculty support."