Watering the Seeds

imageWelcome friends! It is quite astonishing that we have already returned to Albright for the fall semester and are embarking on the third year of “grappling with sustainability.” With a new school year, we now have a new group of students carrying the torch so it is with great joy that I welcome our new sustainabile living seedlings, Blake, Regina, Renee, and Sam. As the weeks go on I am excited that all you readers will get the opportunity to learn about these intelligent, motivated students and share our journey with us.

If you’re just joining us on this journey, I say thank you and welcome! This blog is dedicated to telling the story of the Albright College Sustainability House where a group of 5 students work together in the name of sustainability, both to address and change their own lives and to impact the lives and perspectives of others. We collect usage data, set reduction goals, do environmental education, explore and research sustainability topics, do large projects to improve our house, and more!

My name is Ellen and this will be my second year living in the house. I’m an environmental studies and philosophy major with a passion for sustainable agriculture and exploring the underlying and often unrecognized forces driving environmental destruction. For the past two summers I managed the campus permaculture garden (which is located right behind our house!), an experience which taught me the value and pleasure of environmental education, community outreach, and food accessibility. This summer, though, I decided to stay home and work towards making locally produced goods accessible in my own hometown by working as a manager at the “Primordia Farm Food Hub.” This is a centrally located roadside stand where we sell 100% locally produced goods from organic produce, dairy, eggs, bread and pastries, hot sauce, coffee, juice, pickles, honey, and more! In essence, a local grocery with pretty much everything you need! For me, seeing the joy this accessibility brought to people who wanted to live more sustainably, being able to participate in that, and to promote the joys and value of buying local to members of my community has affirmed and strengthened my values and has inspired me to approach what we do as a house a little differently.

While my lovely housemates will be introducing themselves in their coming posts, outright I can say they are all a passionate, motivated group. We had our first meeting between the five of us last week and with so many ideas and so much excitement, this meeting went on for two hours! As a returning member, seeing so much zeal come out and watching our bonds as housemates and project partners grow and strengthen gave  me high hopes for what we’ll accomplish this year. And oh my do we have big plans. Upon beginning our discussions, it became more than clear that we all recognized the things we and our campus need…We decided to switch our focus away from spending so much time on data collection and analysis. Instead, we want to build a strong community of environmental awareness and action at Albright as well as make truly valuable contributions to environmental improvement through fun and informative environmental education, community building, and social activism. We all have recognized that this is incredibly important work for us to do since environmentalism has continually been pushed to the outskirts as an important value by administration and resultingly our students. Building strong support and organization around environmentalism is a key to creating the change our world so desperately needs. For our environmental programs to be successful right here on campus, we must create the support we and the environment need. This year, we hope to make a lasting mark this way and we hope you enjoying reading about our successes and challenges in doing so!

In solidarity and with love,

Ellen

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