As we enter the second half of spring semester and begin to focus on May 24 (Graduation Day!), we reflect on another amazing year in the Arts & Sciences at Elon. In March, we welcomed hundreds of students to campus who are interested in becoming our next class of Elon College Fellows and now, as the semester winds down, we are celebrating the accomplishments of all our graduating seniors.
In addition to these accomplishments, we want to recognize the important impact our faculty and students continue to make throughout the community. This issue of the newsletter highlights just two ways that students and faculty are engaging with the broader community and creating positive change. We invite you to read about the work of Dr. Janet MacFall, director of Elon’s Center for Environmental Studies. Dr. MacFall is partnering with colleagues and students on conservation efforts across the state of North Carolina, as well as addressing the shocking reality of food deserts right in our own community.
We think you will also be excited to read about the work of an energetic group of Elon students, led by Jensen Roll ’16, who has started an organization called HOPE: Helping Other People Eat. They are creating opportunities for our campus community to be more involved in addressing hunger right here in Alamance County. These are just two examples of the meaningful contributions of our students and faculty; we would love for you, as alumni, to be involved in these efforts as well!
Program Spotlight: Elon University Center for Environmental Studies
The mission of the Elon University Center for Environmental Studies is to foster environmental awareness and stewardship, serving the needs of the larger community. Under the direction of Associate Professor Janet MacFall in the Department of Environmental Studies, the Center has developed two primary areas of focus: sustainable food production and stewardship of the Haw River as it flows through Alamance County.
Opened in 2013, the Elon Environmental Center at Loy Farm, with oversight from the Center for Environmental Studies, provides an opportunity on the Elon campus for students to learn about high yield food production using methods that enhance environmental quality. Under the guidance of agroecologist lecturer Steve Moore, focus is on biointensive agriculture, which uses a variety of techniques to enhance soil quality, reduce pest pressures and provide resilience to drought. Under the watchful eye of a student farm manager, more than 100 varieties of plants are being grown by six academic classes and a group of volunteers. Programs also include integration of food production
into the built environment through the Studio for Responsible Design, now under construction by Associate Professor Robert Charest and his students.
The Elon Community Garden, also supported by the Center for Environmental Studies, provides a place for participation by many in the Elon community. Located next to the Sklut Hillel Center on the main campus, the Garden provides opportunities for quiet gardening, food harvest and fellowship, while expanding interactions with the community at large. More than 10 bushels of food each week are given to the Elon Campus Kitchen for distribution to Allied Churches. Seedlings are being grown for planting on Peacehaven Farm, a farm for people with special needs. The annual plant sale, organized through the Garden Studio class (who grow the plants), provides the beginnings of gardens throughout the Burlington area.
In addition, the Center for Environmental Studies has partnered with the Piedmont Conservation Council and local governments to explore development of a new farm incubator, providing land, training and resources for new farmers to learn how to grow food sustainably, and to launch new businesses from this foundation. Land has been located in nearby Guilford County and local governments are partnering with the Center and the PCC to launch this new initiative. As a founding member of the Haw River Partnership, the Center actively works with local governments to protect the Haw River Trail.
As the Elon University Center for Environmental Studies continues to expand the scope of programming, there will be more opportunities for students and faculty to work with community partners and to develop on campus assets.
Student Spotlight: The force behind HOPE
Jensen Roll '16, Katie Skinner '15, Drew Dimos '16, Alex Goeldner '15, Steven Cobb '16, Greg Stone '16, Chris Coble '16 and Olivia Robin '16 put their heads together and created a wonderful social entrepreneurship endeavor called HOPE—Helping Other People Eat. While completing academic service-learning work in the community, these students were faced with the extent of hunger that exists so close to the university. More than 17 percent of Alamance County residents live below the poverty line, and the Triad area of North Carolina has one of the highest rates of child malnourishment in the country. Loaves & Fishes, a local food pantry, recently closed, and Allied Churches became the only resource for many in the community. The students are developing a network of local restaurants—Hursey’s Barbeque, Mosca’s Restaurant, Cork & Cow, Dottie’s Diner—that allow patrons to donate to HOPE when they pay their bill. All the donations to HOPE are given directly to Allied Churches to help provide food for those in need. These Elon students are putting their education into action, and the College of Arts & Sciences couldn’t be more proud. If you would like to support HOPE, please visit the program's website.Recent News