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RSO Spotlight: Green thumbs wanted at Spalding Environmental Alliance (SEA)

This Recognized Student Organization focuses on community gardening, outdoors activities, raising awareness of environmental issues

Steve Jones

During the 2020-21 academic year, we will be highlighting some of the Recognized Student Organizations (RSO) on the Spalding University campus.  Today’s featured RSO is the Spalding Environmental Alliance (SEA), and information has been provided by staff advisor Leah Cover, Instruction and Learning Services Librarian, as well as Elizabeth Dyer, Director of Institutional Effectiveness. Contact lcover@spalding.edu for more information.

What is the purpose or mission of the organization?

Since 2019, the Second Street Garden – located across South Second Street from Spalding’s College Street Center building – has been maintained mainly by the student organization Spalding Environmental Alliance (SEA), formerly known as Spalding Local Urban Gardeners (SLUG). In early 2020, SEA collaborated with students from a Presentation Academy Ecology course to maintain the garden.

The mission of the Spalding Environmental Alliance is to encourage students, staff and faculty to learn from and contribute to group discussions on pressing environmental issues such as climate change; to provide activities that foster outdoor appreciation as well as physical and emotional enrichment, such as hiking and gardening; and to promote environmental action through green projects both on and off campus and in collaboration with the community, especially the Second St. Garden.

Who can get involved in the organization?

Any undergraduate or graduate students can become members of SEA, and staff, faculty and alumni are welcome to help out with projects and activities.

What are some activities or projects that the organization participates in?

During summer 2021 there have been several projects underway:

Restoring all 12 raised beds at the Second Street Garden – removing weeds, tilling the soil and mulching. In addition:

* Pumpkins! We planted a crop of sugar-pie pumpkins, which are medium-sized pumpkins that make excellent pies as well as jack-o-lanterns. Each pumpkin vine will produce 6-10 pumpkins. Our plan is to sell the best-looking pumpkins for a low price to the Spalding community and sell all the rest to our dining services to convert into pumpkin pies. The funds raised will be donated to our Pelican Pantry.

* Sunflowers! As we return to campus this fall, we’re all going be experiencing some anxiety and uncertainty. Therefore, we will be offering free bouquets of cheerful sunflowers and other flowers from the garden throughout the fall to add something bright and beautiful to your space.

Trays of small green plants set to be planted in the Second Street Garden across from Spalding
A tray of plants being tended by SEA.

* Live plants! This fall we will be offering small planters of purple lavender, lamb’s ear, or marigolds, so you can have a live plant of your own. Which will you choose –  the soothing smell of lavender, stroking a soft lamb’s ear leaf, or the bright blooms of a marigold? In addition, the produce from our small assortment of vegetable plants will be donated to Pelican Panty each week.

What is a great memory you’ve had as part of the organization, or accomplishment of your organization that you’re proud of?

In spring 2019, SEA organized an Earth Day planting and learning day-long event. In the morning, the group prepared the soil and planted numerous vegetables and wildflowers. Over a shared lunch, a guest speaker from U of L discussed urban agriculture. It was a beautiful sunny spring day, and we had great turnout from students and staff.

Why should someone check out your organization, and what should they expect if they do?
SEA student leaders will be planning other events and activities for the Fall semester. Keep an eye out for some outdoor activities in addition to gardening!

Plants growing in the Second Street Garden near Spalding University
Plants growing in the Second Street Garden. Spalding’s College Street Center building is in the background, across South Second Street.

What information can you share about the community garden?

The community garden has been the site of various projects and collaborations in the past three years. We have some great visions from students and staff for maintaining and expanding the garden and its resources throughout the next year and beyond. Get in touch if you have a green thumb and ideas for this plot of land!

If you would like more information on joining – or starting – an RSO on campus, contact Director of Student Leadership and Service Learning Anna Foshee at afoshee@spalding.edu. If you have Spalding login credentials, you may also visit the Virtual Student Involvement Fair