News

October 17, 2008

Jennifer Bell ’11 Receives Grant to Continue Sustainability Efforts on Campus

Grant will fund community gardens in Metzgar Fields

Jennifer Bell ’11 (Purcellville, Va.), a double major in geology and religious studies, has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) to create an organic community garden in Metzgar Fields.

Assisted by David Brandes, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, Bell wrote the grant this past summer in conjunction with her EXCEL project, the campus composting program. CGI U funds will cover building materials for a deer-proof fence to protect crops; tanks, hoses, and valves for a rainwater collection system and garden watering system; and signage to educate the community about organic gardening and global climate change.

CGI U was launched in 2007 to challenge students and universities to tackle economic, environmental, or social concerns with practical, innovative solutions. In order to participate, each college or university must develop a Commitment to Action, a specific plan that addresses challenges on campus or in the global community.

Lafayette’s Commitment to Action is based on the 2006 composting initiative proposed by Art Kney, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. Bell took the lead of the project this year, and under Kney’s guidance, submitted a separate grant application to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Bell says the initiative’s goal is to eventually compost of all food waste generated by dining facilities on campus.

“Being a geology and religious studies double major, I love learning about composting because it is one of the Earth’s natural processes,” says Bell. “I have been able to work with geology professors, but also civil and environmental engineering, physics, and chemistry professors. It truly is a multidisciplinary project.”

The output of the campus composting system will be used in Metzgar gardens. Through this, Bell hopes to increase the production, purchasing, and use of organic, locally-grown foods (versus costly, industrially-produced fruits and vegetables), and teach others on campus and in the community how to garden organically. She says progress will be measured by the percentage of locally or campus-grown fruits and vegetables used in the dining halls; the quantity of mulch used for campus landscaping and gardens; and the number of people using Metzgar gardening space.

“Lafayette’s small size and undergraduate focus has enabled me to take on this project as a freshman,” says Bell. “I hope to continue to promote sustainability on campus and learn from the unique opportunities available at Lafayette such as the EXCEL research program.”

  • Students, Faculty, and Administrators Collaborate on Composting Initiative
  • My Experience Working with Lafayette’s Composting Initiative. By Jennifer Bell ’11
  • Geology
  • Religious Studies
  • Environmental Science

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