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Urban Garden Offers Beauty, Bounty, and Learning

Posted by: Erin Blevins | August 16, 2016 | No Comment |


The Urban Garden in the Lightsey Courtyard represents the Academic Advising and Planning Center’s philosophy of working holistically with students to help them discover their passions, talents, and goals as they create their path to graduation and lifelong learning.  The garden was commissioned by Diane Bowers, Associate Director of the AAPC in spring of 2016, to “enhance our understanding of natural processes and food sources, and bring added beauty to this side of campus.” The garden has proven not only to put the AAPC and students more in touch with nature, but also with each other. The space is quickly becoming a space to meet students and even other College of Charleston employees.

In the summer of 2016, Diane partnered with Maggie Szeman, Academic Advisor, Ryan Mears, Office Manager, and Liza Wood, Assistant Director of First Year Experience (and who just happens to have a Masters in Organic Farming) to set the garden on a path to be used as a service learning component to a First Year Experience (FYE) class. Maggie Szeman connected the UGarden to downtown-based service site Neighborhood House to become a recipient of the garden’s bounty. Neighborhood House’s missions is  “to encourage and support self-sufficiency and self-worth for people in need in our community through education, wellness and outreach services,” which closely aligns with the mission of the UGarden.

Seed TrayLiza Wood contacted Sociology Professor, Dr. Idee Winfield, who is teaching the FYE class “Sociology of Food,” during the fall semester about adding the project to her class, and Idee found the idea of the UGarden and the service aspect proposal interesting, ultimately agreeing to include it in her curriculum. The students will be responsible for planning, tending, and harvesting the garden and then connecting with Neighborhood House to provide the harvested food for their soup kitchen, as well as finding different volunteer opportunities with the organization’s Monday Market and gleaning project.

Written by Ryan Mears, Office Manager,  Academic Advising and Planning Center




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