There is a special day that happens here at Alma once every year. It happens in the spring, as seniors are wrapping up their big research projects, senior thesis projects and final presentations. For some it is a day off, or an early start to a four-day weekend but to others it is one of the most intimidating and important days of the entire year. It is Honors Day.
This was the first year that I actually attended some of the Honors Day festivities. Freshman year I saw Honors Day as a 4-day weekend (as many freshman do) and I headed home for some quality family time and a break from the bubble and the imminent finals studying I was partaking in. Last year, as a sophomore, I was not at Alma during my winter semester and therefore missed Honors Day.
To kick off the festivities, a keynote speaker spoke for campus on Wednesday night. Mr. Will Allen, once a professional basketball player, now a professional farmer, came to speak about urban gardening and the important of good food for everyone. He was such an impactful speaker and no person in the room could avoid concentrating on his presentation. He is the CEO of a company called Growing Power Inc. in Milwaukee, Wis. His company promotes healthy eating and supports personal growing rather than corporate foods and mass production. They start from growing their own soil and composting all materials that are considered “leftovers” or “extras.” These materials come from an internal source but also get delivered from restaurants and stores after the vegetation has gone bad.
The entire process is incredible. In addition to growing fruits and vegetables, Mr. Allen’s company produces fish (lake perch and tilapia) is mass amounts through healthy breeding practices (free from contaminations). His company, Growing Power, has the majority of its projects in downtown Milwaukee, as it is focused on being located in urban areas where the need for fresh food is greater and where there is no real way to farm without building it all from the ground up. However, Growing Power will work with other cities to help them get started in the revolution.
In Gratiot County and the surrounding area there are several of these types of farms called CSA or Community Supported Agriculture. With a CSA farm there are two main parties involved – the farmer and “shareholders.” A farmer will own the land and care for the crop all season, while shareholders purchase “plots” or a piece of the land which helps the farmer afford the up-front costs of the farm in the early spring. In return for helping to support the farm, the shareholders will receive a portion of all of the produce throughout the growing season. According to the CSAfarms.org website, a CSA is described as “a growing social and agricultural movement that encourages small farm preservation and profitability by directly linking local growers with local community members.” Ever since hearing Will Allen discuss his company, CSAs and urban farming, I have been so wrapped up in the idea of fresh food, growing your own food and the revolution he hopes to see in the coming years.
Aside from the keynote speaker, my honors day included lots more festivities as well. I woke up (after getting to sleep in a little bit!) excited to have a day off classes. I spent the morning watching the New Media Studies presentations, including a great one by one of my best friends, Ashley Esselink ’15, on the chemical pollutants in the environment, also focused in the Gratiot County area. After those presentations I took some time to work on homework, some projects for work, and grab a short nap. In the evening I was inducted into Lambda Pi Eta – The National Communications Honorary. Acceptance into Lambda Pi Eta is based on the level of credits a communication/new media studies student has taken as well as his/her major grade point average and overall GPA. I was inducted alongside two other lovely ladies – Ashley Esselink ’15 and Amy Smith ’15!
After Lambda Pi Eta inductions were complete, I headed to a ceremony that is a part of Phi Sigma Sigma’s new member initiation. It is the time of year when all these exciting events are taking place, groups are wrapping up for the year, and we are all knee-deep in projects, papers and finals. It is a wonderful but stressful time of year. There are so many ceremonies and celebrations taking place, but also lots and lots of studying that needs to be done.
We only have one more full week of classes before finals week! I’m honestly not sure where this year went… up until Christmas I felt like the semester was moving so slowly, but since then it seems like it has only been a month or so and all of a sudden we are beginning to pull out our summer clothes and studying for finals! Stay strong, Scots! We’re almost there and we are going to finish strong, together.