Students Create Green Space at Drew

By Anna Gombert

This past week, on April 20, the new Greenery behind Brother’s College officially opened. The space includes benches, potted flowers, native plants, garden decorations, tables and chairs. The team that helped put this project together consisted of Inji Kim (‘19), Josie Emanuelli (‘19), Mason Scher (‘20), Samantha Leinberger (‘18) and Marti Winer, Vice President for University Relations, served as a faculty advisor for the project. They also worked with Stephanie McCormick from facilities, Greenhouse Coordinator Laureen Chapin and former professor Sarah Webb, who all helped with coordinating and picking out the plants.

The idea for the greenery came during a ShortTrec to Cuba over this past summer. Leinberger was inspired when the group of students visited Muraleando, a community garden and art center in a suburb of Havana. The space used to be used as a garbage dump, but was turned into a cultural center that offered art, music classes and a place for community members to gather and sell or buy art. Leinberger wanted to see a similar art-eco space on Drew’s campus. Both Emanuelli and Winer were also a part of the Cuba ShortTrec.

Each member of the team had a different role. Emanuelli and Leinberger worked on the “behind the scenes” aspects, such as creating the plan and mock-up for the garden space and making sure that people were organized. Scher was responsible for picking out the plants that would go in the new space and coordinated donations of plants and outdoor furniture from members of the Madison community, as well as helping to contribute to the plan for the layout of the greenery. Kim took care of advertising and art donation for the space.

On April 14, there was a planting day, in which students could help set up and decorate the space, as well as plant beautiful, new flora.

The goal of the Greenery was to be a space that Drew community members would use on a daily basis. The team wanted a space that wasn’t out of the way and that student would want to spend time at. The circle behind Brothers College was the chosen location because many people visit or walk through that area of campus throughout the day. “Since we’ve finished the space, I’ve seen people sitting doing homework and relaxing, we’ve also seen professors teaching class outside in the garden which is amazing!” said Leinberger. “I hope that the Greenery is maintained and used for years to come. From the feedback that I’ve gotten from students, they seem to really enjoy it and I hope that future students will too.”

“The most memorable moment for the process was just seeing plans on our Google spreadsheet come to life during the planting day,” said Kim. “I walk past the Greenery often and see people there, and  it is so rewarding to see people using that space and enjoying the nice weather!”

“To be completely honest, this project was just that, a project. It was a lot of work.” Leinberger continued. “Initially, we wanted to incorporate reviving the Greenhouse on campus as part of the project, but due to some unforeseen issues, that was not possible so we had to completely rethink the entire project.”

After deciding on the circle behind Brothers College, they had to measure the space, test the soil and see how much water the area receives. They also had to coordinate with facilities, contact Madison residents to ask for donations, collect donated art pieces, as well as finding plants native to New Jersey to plant. “This whole thing was truly a group effort and without Josie, Mason, Inji and Marti I’m not sure I would have gotten past the conceptualization,” Leinberger said.

Photo Courtesy of Adam Oppegaard

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