Tag Archive for student groups

10 Students Tend 2 Acres at Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm

Students learn about sustainable agriculture at Long Lane Farm.

Students learn about sustainable agriculture at Long Lane Farm.

While their classmates spend the summer growing business contacts at off-campus internships, 10 Wesleyan students hope to cultivate something equally lucrative – sustainable agriculture.

The “dirt in the nails” days are long but satisfying at Wesleyan’s Long Lane Organic Farm, a student-run organic farm that gives students a place to experiment and learn about sustainable agriculture. Sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals – environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity.

Johnson is one of 10 student farmers working at Long Lane this summer. After graduating, Johnson hopes to study astrophysics and ultimately become an astronaut.

Coady Johnson ’15 harvests radishes at Long Lane Farm this summer. After graduating, Johnson hopes to study astrophysics and ultimately become an astronaut.

This summer, the students are cultivating two acres of land, the biggest plot they’ve ever farmed. They’re growing cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, tomatillos, squash, asparagus, basil, broccoli, lettuce, blueberries and much more. They’re also building a second hoop house, similar to a greenhouse, which will allow the students to grow leafy greens, peppers and other crops during the fall and winter months.

Not all students have a farming background. Summer farmer Coady Johnson ’15 grew up an hour north of Chicago in Wadsworth, Ill. where “most of the surrounding area is cornfields, but even so I didn’t get involved in farming until coming to Wesleyan,” he said.

At Wesleyan, Johnson fell in with a group of people who inspired him to think about the state of food production and consumption in this country.

“Industrial farming and a disconnect between what we eat and how it is produced is hurting our well-being, and I think that the best way to remedy that is to educate myself and others on growing our own food in a more responsible and sustainable way.”

A day down on the farm begins at 7 a.m. with a morning meeting . There, the students discuss plans for work, “like whether or not we should companion plant radishes with the squash. We try to be horizontally organized and make decisions only with 100 percent consensus, so that everyone can have a say in what we’re doing, and can suggest new ideas if they want,” Johnson said.

The students work until 11 a.m. and take a midday heat break. During time, the farmers run errands and do other work for the farm that can be done in the field, like emails and budget spreadsheets. At 3 p.m., the students return to the fields and work until 7 p.m. The farmers also choose to participate in various building projects such as planning and building the mass irrigation system.

Jessup Smith ’14 and nine other Wesleyan students enrolled in the Architecture II course designed and built a new chicken coop for Long Lane Farm.

Jessup Smith ’14 and nine other Wesleyan students enrolled in the Architecture II course designed and built a new chicken coop for Long Lane Farm. Pictured, Smith is crawling through the coop’s exterior entryway.

Food harvested from the farm is sold at the North End Farmers’ Market throughout the summer, and at the Wesleyan Farmers’ Market during the academic year. The student farmers donate excess food to Amazing Grace Food Pantry in Middletown, and have an arrangement through which Bon Appetít dining services funds positions for students to work on the farm in exchange for weekly deliveries of farm vegetables. In addition, the students invite local families to the farm and teach children about the various aspects of farming and producing food. Children are sent home with a bag of produce that they personally harvested.

Next fall, a flock of feathery friends will join the students at the farm. A newly-designed and installed chicken coop will enable the farmers to harvest local eggs for use at Usdan University Center. Learn more about the coop in this Wesleyan Connection article.

The summer farmers are Laura Cohen ’14, Kate Enright ’15, Coady Johnson ’15, Ben Guilmette ’15, Josh Krugman ’14, Maggie Masselli ’16, Anna Redgrave ’16, Rebecca Sokol ’15, Hailey Sowden ’15 and Cat Walsh ’16. And they’re always looking for extra working hands.

“Whoever wants to help is a farmer, and we’re always looking for new people, from Wesleyan or from Middletown at large,” Johnson said.

Learn more about the farm’s

Photos of the farm are below:

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Student Groups Showcase Talents at Mabuhay

Mabuhay, an annual Asian-Asian American show, provides an opportunity for different student groups and individuals to showcase their talents at Wesleyan and raise awareness regarding diversity on campus. The annual event took place in Crowell Concert Hall on April 17. (Photos by Dat Vu ’15)

Student Organizations Represented at Sustainability Day

Several student groups, including the Middletown Urban Gardens organization, represented by Gerard Pierre '15 and Adin Vaewsorn '15, participated in Campus Sustainability Day.

Several student groups, including the Middletown Urban Gardens organization, represented by Gerard Pierre ’15 and Adin Vaewsorn ’15, participated in Campus Sustainability Day.

Wesleyan hosted its first Campus Sustainability Day on Oct. 24. CSD is a national event that began in 2002 to bring awareness to campus sustainability projects and encourage students to take action.

This year, in conjunction with the Farmers’ Market, many Wesleyan student groups and the Sustainability Office set up tables outside Usdan University Center to share their recent projects with the campus community. Groups that attended included Wes Bikes, Middletown Urban Gardens, Butterfields Green Hall residents, WILD Wes, Long Lane Farm, WesFRESH, Green Fund, Local Co-op and Energy @ Wes.

“The tabling went very well, with students stopping by to ask questions about different sustainability efforts on campus,” said Jennifer Kleindienst, sustainability coordinator.

In addition, a presentation on The Thirst Project aimed to bring attention to the global water crisis. The day ended with a Second Nature-sponsored interactive sustainability conversation. Through this conversation, higher education sustainability experts talked about their experiences empowering students to create change and answered student questions from across the country.

“Those who attended engaged in a sustainability discussion afterwards about what we can do on Wesleyan’s campus to make sustainability part of everyday life,” Kleindienst said.

Among the suggestions were to have additional classes that address real-world problems; having contests to heighten awareness and solve sustainability challenges, such as a zero-waste challenge; engaging students in hands-on education; sustainability tracks within multiple departments; and doing more to bridge gaps university-wide.

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Organizations Showcased at Student Groups Fair

The Wesleyan Student Assembly hosted the 21st Annual Student Groups Fair on Sept. 14. The campus-wide event allowed both new and returning students to learn about new and established student groups, network with different academic departments, and interact with several vendors from the local Middletown community.

The Wesleyan Student Assembly hosted the 21st Annual Student Groups Fair on Sept. 14. The campus-wide event allowed both new and returning students to learn about new and established student groups, network with different academic departments, and interact with several vendors from the local Middletown community.

WILD Wes Featured in Permaculture Newsletter

Katie McConnell '13 and the student group WILD Wes received a $50,000 grant from the University’s Green Fund to transform a 2/3 acre plot on campus into a sustainable landscape. Planting will begin this fall.

An article by Katie McConnell ’13 and Emma Leonard ’13 was featured in a recent Permaculture Institute of the Northeast newsletter. McConnell and Leonard are members of the new student group WILD Wes (Working for Intelligent Landscape Design). They’ve been vying for permacultural principles to be adopted into the University’s landscaping practices.

In the past year, the group hosted its first annual Sustainable Landscaping Design Charrette, where Wesleyan faculty, administrative members, permaculturists, landscaping experts, and students from Wesleyan and nearby Northeastern colleges converged.

In the newsletter, McConnell and Leonard explain how at the conference, groups collaborated to develop permacultural and sustainable landscape designs for over a half dozen sites on the Wesleyan campus.

3 Student Organizations Vie for Social Innovation Competition Awards

Student-run organizations have the opportunity to win cash prizes through the Dell Social Innovation Competition.

The University of Texas at Austin and Dell are looking for university students who are working to combat social problems worldwide. They’re giving away more than$100,000 in cash prizes to at least five winning teams. Shining Hope for Communities, directed by Jessica Posner ’09 and Kennedy Odede ’12, received the $50,000 Dell Social Innovation Competition grand prize award in 2010.

This year, three other student-groups at Wesleyan are competing for the awards. Vote tallies, along with the competition judges, determines the $50,000 grand prize winner

Wesleyan Clinic Escorts Honored by NARAL Connecticut

Wesleyan Clinic Escorts wear orange vests during their volunteer shift.

The student-run group, Wesleyan Clinic Escorts, is the recipient of the annual Catherine Roraback Award, given by NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut.

The Catherine Roraback Awards is presented to individuals or organizations that have demonstrated leadership, courage and activism in the struggle to protect privacy rights, the legal right to obtain an abortion and access to reproductive health for all women.

Students involved in the clinic escort travel to the Summit Women’s Center in Bridgeport, Conn. on Tuesday and Friday mornings during the academic year. The center performs abortions on these days.

According to the Wesleyan Clinic Escorts Facebook site, the group is a “positive, supportive presence” for the clinic’s patients.

“Our job is to escort the women who would like to be escorted past the antis who are present and to the clinic door. There is a strong anti-force in Bridgeport. We are not there to engage with the protesters; we are there for the women. We act as a barrier between their harassment and the women who wish to enter the clinic. We are not affiliated with the clinic, but our presence is both respected and appreciated.”

In a letter to Wesleyan, Jillian Gilchrest, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut, says, “Thank you for the work you do to protect women’s access to reproductive healthcare in Connecticut and congratulations on being awarded the 2010 Catherine Roraback Award.”

NARAL will present Wesleyan with the award Oct. 1 in Hartford.

Farm Tours, Fun, Food at 2009 Pumpkin Fest

Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm Club hosted the sixth annual Pumpkin Festival Oct. 31 at the farm on Long Lane. The event was open to the Wesleyan and local community. Activities included food, baked goods, live music, Farmer’s Market vendors, pumpkin sales and painting, face painting, t-shirt designing and tours of the organic farm.

Music was provided by the student band, 350 degrees, and faculty band, the Mattabessett Pickers. (Photos by Valerie Marinelli)

Student Team Makes Smart Investments during Economic Struggle

Wesleyan Investment Group co-chairs Dan O'Brien '10, Ramanan Sivalingam '10 and Mike Levin '09 make executive decisions on a Wesleyan account.

While the financial markets continue to decline, a group of Wesleyan students is proving that there’s always a way to defy the current trend.

This fall, the student-run Wesleyan Investment Group increased their portfolio from $27,500 up to $44,000.

“We’re very selective in our stock purchases, and we analyze each company very carefully,” says Wesleyan Investment Group co-chair Ramanan Sivalingam ’10.

Sivalingam and the group’s other two co-chairs Dan O’Brien ’10 and Mike Levin ’09 manage the group. It has about 20 active members and 40 subscribed to the club’s list-serve. Participants are from all currently matriculated class years.

“We’re a diverse group when it comes to general knowledge of the stock market