SOU’s Center For Sustainability Thrives from large Donation
By Ryan J. Degan, Staff Writer
SOU’s Center for Sustainability has been working hard to establish itself in a University still recovering from retrenchment. They have been doing this by branching out and developing relationships with external partners. This according to the director for the CFS Vincent M. Smith.
The Territorial Seed Company, located in Cottage Grove OR, gave a large donation of seeds to SOU’s Center for Sustainability (CFS). It has been reported that Territorial Seed donated $3,000 worth of seeds. Which will help supply the CFS with the materials necessary to continue its growth.
The donation was made by the owner of Territorial Seed, Tom Johns, an SOU alumnus and supporter. The CFS first reached out to Johns July second of last year, inviting him to their Farm to Fork event. With assistance from SOU’s business program in planning the event, the CFS was able to secure the donation.
Smith, was quick to praise the support Johns has given to the program saying “Tom Johns has been providing helpful advice and consultation on the project for some time.” Smith also attributes the program’s recent success to CFS farm manager Jessica Harper. Who in collaboration with a campus wide student vote and CFS student volunteers, picked out the selection of seeds they would be receiving.
While it has only entered its second year of existence, the CFS seems to be thriving where other programs are struggling to survive as a result of retrenchment and budget cuts. Smith attributes the program’s success to “the generous support of students.” Flourishing due to the many student volunteers as well as well as contributions from the SOU Green Fund.
The SOU Green fund is a $10-15 student fee taken each term. The Green fund sets aside a grant that students can apply for in order to start a sustainability project. CFS’s use of the Green fund in addition to the revenue raised by its own produce sales, has attributed to its recent success.
Smith continues saying, “The hard work of collaborating students, staff, faculty, administrators and a wonderful community has made it possible for our project to remain successful even in difficult financial times.”
“The donation really helps open up our capacity to expand harvests this year – and to further diversify what were growing,” says Harper. Indeed the donation is going to open up multiple opportunities for the CFS. This includes a weekly Raider Farmer Stand that will be available to students in the beginning of Spring. The Stand will offer students fresh and extremely cheap fruits and vegetables for purchase.
In addition to the farmer stand Harper aspires to work closer with the campus food provider A’viands in order to “optimize the idea of buying local.” CFS has been providing A’viands with fresh produce for the past year. Harper would like to increase production in order to supply A’viands with a greater percentage of produce. The seed donation received will go a long way in achieving this goal.
If you are interested in learning more about the Center for Sustainability volunteer opportunities are available to any student or member of faculty who wishes to lend a hand. Contact them on the CFS Facebook page or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.