Major: Economics (religious studies minor)
Q: How did you get involved with Hope Gardens?
A: My spring semester freshman year, Catherine, whom I was friends with, told me about Hope Gardens and told me about what Hope Gardens was trying to do. I was interested and so I went to their first meeting of the semester and thought it was really cool. So then I started going to work days. I loved being able to get outside and stuff. Then fall semester sophomore year I became a full-fledged member, coming to all of the meetings and everything. It was sort of like a progression in that way.
Q: When did you become involved on the leadership team?
That spring, my sophomore year, which was 2014. I was treasurer.
Q: Had you ever done anything related to hope gardens before that, garden or non-profit related?
A: Before Hope Gardens, I had never gardened. I didn’t really know anything about food access or food access issues. Basically in every way I was completely new to the whole idea. I had never worked in depth in a nonprofit organization. I was pretty new to the whole deal.
Q: Were there, or are there, any challenges to running a nonprofit?
A: So the summer after my sophomore year I was the summer garden manager, and we had a full staff, a full summer staff, which would have been six people. We were trying to do everything that we do during the rest of the school year but there were just six of us. And I was running it so there were a lot of responsibilities that I had never had before. So it was exciting but also kind of terrifying at the same time.
So between that summer and the time I’ve spent as co-chair I’ve learned a lot. I think the things that I didn’t really expect to learn has been making connections with people- with students and also with people outside the university. And learning that I have the ability to coordinate those kinds of things and have meetings with important people. I’ve never really been the “idea person,” but I think I've gotten pretty good at taking an idea that someone has had and making it happen. And I think that’s the coolest thing I’ve learned while helping this organization.
Q: What are you goals for Hope Gardens?
A: That’s a tough question. I’ll give you my simple answer. One of the things I like a lot about Hope Gardens is that because of the turnover of students we have every year, we get to introduce a lot of new students into the organization and into the issue. We also get introduced to a lot of new things, like a lot of new ideas and projects that we can do. So it’s hard to know exactly what this is, but I think the thing I want for Hope Gardens is for that to continue.
One of the things we hear when we meet with the town, the parks of rec, or board members, is that when this started, when they were introduced it, they were like “it’s a great idea but won’t last long because of the nature of the organization and the nature of student life.” But it has for eight years already. So my vision- my biggest goal for the organization- is to continue growing to continue building on campus and community- and getting better and better, always getting better at what we are trying to do.
Q: If it does, how does this organization relate to your studies/interests?
A: It hasn't really directly related with my studies. But it definitely relates to what I want to do in the future. It has actually kind of affected what I want to do in future, given me a better idea. I want to work in nonprofits, and specifically I am really interested in outdoor education and want to get involved in one of those organizations, and hopefully at some point help run one. And i think everything I’ve learned in Hope Gardens has significantly prepared me for that type of future.
Q: What is your favorite thing about Hope Gardens?
A: I like getting to see what we as humans are capable of doing. And that is everything from planting a seed and seeing it grow into a huge plant with lots of food that we can share... Anywhere from that to being us as a group doing what we’re trying to do. And seeing its impact is really really cool.
Q: What is your spirit animal and why?
A: I have never been able to figure this question out. The closest answer I have is a black bear- specifically a black bear- because black bears are typically known as crafty and creative and will get things done however they need to get done- as in they can figure out ways to get food. They are generally kind and sweet until something they care about is in danger. And then they become super feisty and protective. And I’ve been told that’s a characteristic of mine.
Q: What is your spirit vegetable or fruit and why?
A: I’m gonna go with a citrus of some kind - a tangerine… I don’t have as extensive reasoning, but what I’m thinking is that I’m somewhat tough on the outside and then kind of soft and emotional on inside. But I’m also fun and exciting.