By Althea Hogle
When creating a production plan for educational experiences at the Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship, I have found myself asking the hypothetical question of … “What comes first, the chicken or the egg?” and the very real question of…“The program or the plan?” In my first month of service I have experienced some frustration in having a somewhat empty greenhouse that has the capacity to be something really fantastic. Why is it empty? You ask. The goal of the CSE greenhouse is to provide educational program support. Well great! What are the current educational programs in existence? You ask. The answer is… we are working on it.
So… here we have a classic standoff between the ole’ chicken and the egg. Do we build it and they will come? OR do we incorporate education into every capacity building project that we can? What I have found is no easy answer. I suppose here, in this place at this time, the chicken and the egg have to occur at the same time. Trippy…I know!
In a perfect world, the educational programs would already be in place for k-12 and the production plan would follow along accordingly to support them. However not all grades have an ironed out curriculum at this point, therefore, there is a lot of space and possibilities for new programming. Right now we have to build both the educational programming and the production plan at the same time. We do this through forging an environment of collaboration.
Given the opportunity to learn or teach in the CSE, I find most people are very interested, they just need a little guidance. My first month of service has entailed meeting the large amount of stakeholders and hearing about their programming dreams at the CSE. It is my position here to help them make those dreams reality.
Over the last few weeks an environmental science class has formed a food production project. The project has 32 student groups competing to grow the most food possible in 6 sq feet. This project is teaching them a medley of subject matters ranging from soil science, horticulture, math etc… and urging them to think outside of the box and experiment in an area that not all of them have had the opportunity to enjoy before. All of the sudden the greenhouse that was once empty is bustling with excitement. Students will get to see their individual plots grow to maturity and I will get to see that empty green house space become a productive and educational environment.
Outside of this class project, more space and time is available for future programming. New projects are now in the works and it is only a matter of time that this center is buzzing with students of every age. Creating programming this way is by no way perfect, but at this time it is helping to create a more diverse and functional Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship. I am looking forward to creating a system that allows for stronger communication, collaboration and progress here at the Center for Sustainability!