From our friends at Renewal: Students Caring for Creation. Here's a collection of updates and photos from Tyler Amy's latest visit to the West Coast.
Azusa Pacific University, California: Bikes are in abundance. This semester, students are starting a new bike repair shop on campus.
Westmont College, California: The garden is looking tasty. Much of this food is being used in the university dining commons. The dining services even hired a Westmont alum (and Renewal SLT alum) to be a part-time gardener. Keep up the great work Anthony.
Biola University, California: Another great looking garden. This space has seen significant improvements in the last year due to many volunteer hours by faculty, staff and students.
Trinity Western University, British Columbia: Students are removing invasive plant species from the riparian zone at the A Rocha Brooksdale Environmental Centre. The Little Campbell River is home to many aquatic species, including delicate salmon runs. Removing the invasive species and planting native trees and shrubs ensures the waters are protected.
Northwest University, Washington: This building used to be a part of the Seattle Seahawks (football) training facility. When the building came under university ownership, they retrofitted it - making offices, classrooms and a fitness center.
Seattle Pacific University, Washington: Students are getting their hands dirty. Much of the produce grown is given to the local food pantry.
George Fox University, Oregon: This group of students meet once a week, hoping to seek truth together. They invited Renewal to the meeting. We talked about what it means to care for creation and the importance of living sustainable lives. We tried practicing sustainability by planting basil and tomato plants.
Warner Pacific College, Oregon: The sticker on this van says it all.
by Mike Zucconi
HARRISONBURG, VA. " Future Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) students will not have to go far to enjoy an apple, pear or fig on their way to class.
Will Hairston, EMU grounds supervisor, and his team, have worked throughout the summer to cultivate and maintain edible gardens on campus.
"A few of the trees are already bearing fruit and we hope to have more plants producing shortly," said Hairston.
"When these plants reach maturity and are producing, we hope to supply the cafeteria and have student groups harvesting them," added Hairston.
Edible gardens have been around campus for years, according to Hairston, and will become more prominent thanks to a grant from the student group Earthkeepers. Hairston was able to buy more than 1,000 plants for landscaping around the Elmwood dormitory, turf field and Suter Science Center.
"We have apple and pear trees along the hill behind Roselawn dormitory and persimmon and pau pau trees around the EMU turf field."
In addition, Hairston also maintains fig and crab apple trees, grape vines and cornelian cherry and black raspberry bushes.
Aly Zimmerman, a junior from Staunton, Va., said the push for edible landscapes around EMU began with the on-campus showing of the film "Food Inc." The film focuses on the industrialized food system and its effect on environment, health, economy and workers' rights.
"Almost immediately after see the movie Earthkeepers met and decided we needed to do something," said Zimmerman.
Earthkeepers began using what they learned in "Food Inc." to make changes around campus, including expanding the edible gardens. In addition to the fruit trees and plants that already existed they planted asparagus beds around the Elmwood dormitory and the Science Center. Asparagus can be harvested in March and April, so students will have ample opportunity to enjoy the vegetable before the end of the spring semester.
"We want to raise awareness to the availability and health benefits that these plants can provide," said Zimmerman. "EMU is an environmentally aware university and we hope to attract more students to science and environmental sustainability through our work."
Tyler Groff, a senior from Lancaster, Pa., adds that the edible garden landscapes around campus will also benefit from increased use of technology, specifically Google Docs.
"We will be able to schedule watering cycles for all plants to make sure that none are missed," Groff said.
"We hope to build an interactive display that can showcase where each plant is on campus and how they can be best utilized," he continued.
Groff, like Zimmerman and Hairston, notes additional benefits to edible gardens.
"Edible gardens can provide enjoyment and add a new experience to campus. Hopefully, this will get people thinking about other ways they can make an impact while they enjoy something grown right here on campus.
By Kara Ball
Mt. 13: 18, 23: "Listen then to what the parable of the sower means"the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."
National Wildlife Federation's Campus Chill Out: Climate Action on Campus program recently selected its 2011 national campus winners who have distinguished themselves by making their campuses greener, raising up conservation leaders, and training students for the green jobs of the future. The winners are collectively reducing their carbon output 83,000 metric tons annually, which is the equivalent of taking 10,000 cars off the road in terms of global warming pollution, and are saving $27 million a year through reduced energy and other costs.
At a time when our nation continues to emit global warming pollution at levels we've never seen, national leaders are attacking our environmental protections, and our country needs to create more clean energy jobs, the leaders of these winning programs are boldly taking action to care for God's creation entrusted to them and multiplying their harvest by inspiring others to do likewise. I'm especially encouraged by the young leaders from the winning Christian colleges and universities that comprise half of theose selected.
Among the winners are Baylor University's Sustainability Program, which is greening Baylor's sporting events and sharing a creation care message with thousands from their community who attend sporting events on campus. My husband Jim is a Baylor alum, so as Baylor Bears fans, we were thrilled to hear this.
Eastern Mennonite University won for their campus actions engaging students and the community in making their campus greening programs durable over time. I especially liked their biking recycling program where they collect can and bottle recyclables with a fleet of bicycles - the first recycling program in the nation with zero carbon footprint. Eastern Mennonite University has also installed the largest solar array in Virginia on their library roof, using an innovative financing mechanism developed by their business school and demonstrating how clean energy interests cross curricula lines.
Also of note, Rev. Dr. Loren Swartzendruber, President of Eastern Mennonite University, is one of over 300 senior evangelical leaders who are signatories to the Evangelical Climate Initiative Call to Action.
God promises that He will multiply our creation care efforts if we let him. Watch the webcast of the winners here; better yet, host a viewing party with your friends and be inspired to make a difference on your own campus or community. For more information or to join the conversation, go to www.facebook.com/campusecology.