Editorial: Sustaining a community (garden)

In December, this paper discussed the Undergraduate Student Associate Sustainability Policy Brief passed by the Undergraduate Student Association Senate. Now, the Committee’s Chair, Clayton Shanahan ‘18, and J.U.S.T.I.C.E. Chair Alexis Grebenok are working to bring a Community Garden to Canisius, a project in the work for a number of years.

The front page covers the essence of this project, and the scope of it is certainly not lost on the paper. Additionally, it marks student-faculty collaboration at perhaps its purest form in working together to bring a beneficial environment in which classes and co-curriculars can come together in a productive manner, giving students an experiential learning opportunity of which they can take advantage of while also offering faculty a better way to be hands-on in their teaching.
A number of offices on campus are in support of the measure, including both the Environmental Science and Biology departments (obvious suspects) as well as Campus Ministry. As with many things here at Canisius, there is also the opportunity for students to view the garden through a spiritual lens, as Campus Ministry has lent their support to the Garden as well. Tentative maps have involved a meditative space for students to reflect, and this paper finds that, just as the Community Garden seeks to help students find balance, it also balances the Jesuit mission of the College through the juxtaposition of spirituality and science intersecting in this initiative.
At present, Hamlin Park, the neighborhood in which Canisius is located, is struggling, existing in what Grebenok called “a food desert,” and putting a community garden either here on campus or in the neighborhood provides a great opportunity for students to engage with our community. It’s impossible to avoid others in this neighborhood, and it’s a great step toward unity between Canisius and Buffalo to have a shared space. Obviously, restrictions will need to be set, but working side-by-side with members of our community is an incredible opportunity. Much of what we do with Campus Ministry–perhaps done best with our domestic and international service trips–involves having students working with members of marginalized communities, and that in itself provides transformative experiences for students. Kaitlin Garrity ‘16 herself discusses in this week’s edition how she is return to Zmiaca once more because of how momentous the trip was last year in her life. It’s part of what animates our Jesuit mission, and such is the duty of Campus Ministry, spreading to others involved in this interdisciplinary and interoffice effort. It is this personal experience that is critical to the success of the project. While it’s nice that students are able to take advantages of the opportunities offered to them downtown, from HARBORCENTER to Canalside, it is only fair that we also help to rebuild our city and to improve its infrastructure. This is the perfect opportunity to do so.
This paper thinks it is very interesting that it has taken so long for this project to get off the ground. In Senate on Tuesday night, Grebenok noted that there had been talk of a community garden for over a decade. In fact, it is nearing two. We here in the Griffin’s nest wonder why it has taken so long to champion to administration. Now, Dr. Margaret McCarthy, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, is involved, and she has proven to be a valuable resource within administration with whom the two sophomores can work. It is curious to see that though there has been quite a bit of support from faculty who have advocated for this project for years, the push on the students’ end–this particular set of students–has really begun to gain more traction as action is taken. This paper hopes to see it gain more momentum as more students become aware, shaping this project into a true partnership between administration and those governed by them and those with whom we share our community.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

© 2018 The Griffin. All rights reserved.
%d bloggers like this: