Students go green with Comm‘U’nity Garden

GOING GREEN: A sketch of the proposed community garden, which one student organization is hoping to establish on the Coral Gables campus, which would bring UM in line with other Florida schools like Miami-Dade College, FIU, UF and UCF. In contrast to those schools, UM's garden wouldn't only be for research purposes, but for students to grow their own vegetables in an attempt to make the UM Campus more sustainable.  COURTESY BRIAN LEMMERMAN
GOING GREEN: Above is a sketch of the proposed community garden which wouldn’t only be for research purposes, but would serve as a food source for University of Miami students. COURTESY BRIAN LEMMERMAN

Through the combined efforts of an up-and-coming organization, a student-run garden shall sprout on campus.

The organization responsible for this green initiative is known as the Comm”U”nity Garden.

After two-and-a-half years in the works on the parts of both students and administrators, it will signify the culmination of their efforts.

Other schools in Florida with gardens on their campuses include FIU and UF, but the garden at UM won’t only serve research or aesthetic purposes – it will be for the students who help cultivate it, too.

Architecture students have received close guidance on their plans for the garden from Denis Hector, associate dean of the School of Architecture, as well as the school’s dean, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk.

Benefits of a garden on the UM campus include having one less area for UNICCO workers to maintain, providing a public gathering space, building a sense of community and serving as a potential food source for students.

“I think UM could potentially be a leader in ingenuity and innovation. Because of the immense talent and possibilities that this school holds, we could be competing with schools like Harvard and Princeton,” senior Michael Schoor said.

The proposed design for the garden will be in the shape of a “U” with 4’x4’ raised concrete beds to hold the soil and plants so as to remain non-invasive.

“Our campus looks like a golf course,” Brian Lemmerman, a recent graduate and the former president of Emerging Green Builders, said. “That is not sustainable – it’s a problem.”

Other involvement from the School of Architecture includes renovating a hospital built in 1948 in Belladere, Haiti. The project involves students, faculty as well as the organization Partners in Health (PIH).

“The hospital has the capacity to be a major surgical center, but they are constrained by the lack of facilities available,” said Dr. David Walton, a staff member of the hospital and a member of PIH for over 10 years.

It is important to note to all incoming freshmen and transfers that the school offers a five-year Bachelor of Architecture program for undergraduates and requires all students to complete a minor outside of the SoA.