Mon. May 16th, 2022

West Chester University Campus Sustainability Day was held on Wednesday, October 22. Several of the many sustainable initiatives at West Chester University were celebrated. Student activities in the Academic Quad, guest speakers, and the decommissioning of the campus coal burning plant were all planned.   Although the weather did not permit all of the activities to take place, there were still several events held on campus to honor the day.

The Outdoor Classroom and Demonstration Garden/Laboratory held its very own event in honor of Sustainability Day.  The OCDGL is an organic and sustainable garden located on campus between the Merion Science Center and the Planetarium. The garden was created in 2010 by the HON 314 class.  It has been maintained by students, faculty, and community members dedicated to increasing sustainability on campus. The garden now features vegetable beds, native plants, fruit trees, and a rain garden. This year a wide variety of produce, herbs, and other plants were grown for the use of garden volunteers and West Chester University classes.

Members of the Sustainability Advisory Council and Slow Food group used produce grown in the garden to host a garden social this past Wednesday as part of Sustainability Day.  Unfortunately, due to the poor weather, the event was moved inside Merion Science Center opposite the doors leading to the garden.

The event featured just a small amount of the possibilities that come with gardening.  Popcorn was made using kernels organically grown in raised beds from non-GMO, heirloom seeds. Two batches of popcorn were made, one with canola oil and the other with beef tallow. Both cooking oils are very healthy sources of omega-3. The beef tallow was made from grass-fed cattle from Lancaster County, making it an earth and heart friendly choice for cooking. There were also two different types of breads available for sampling, both made with produce from the garden. The chocolate bread was made with a secret ingredient: beets. Sunflowers grown in the garden were also handed out, as well as pumpkin bread made with squash grown in the garden.

Students are welcome to volunteer in the garden for the remainder of the fall semester.  There is currently a variety of produce still growing in the beds.  The Outdoor Classroom and Demonstration Garden/Laboratory volunteer hours are from 1-3 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday, as well as 11-2 p.m. on Friday.  The garden will be having art projects, harvest events, and garden activities in the weeks to come.  Students interested in getting involved should contact James Vadas at JV786775@wcupa.edu.

James Vadas is a third-year student majoring in geography and planning.  He can be reached at JV786775@wcupa.edu.

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