Making SLU My "Real World"

by Jenna Levandowski

2017

On May 21st, I found it hard to accept that my diploma, received from the hands of President Fox, symbolized the final departure away from my state of denial which encompassed the entirety of senior spring.  This illusion that graduation was some far off moment in the future, that would never actually become the present, was instantly replaced with the reality that my St. Lawrence education had finished.  However, as someone who has constantly ignored this “real world”, I was relieved to begin it right here.

There has always been so much to do on campus at St. Lawrence, that I’ve often felt that I unconsciously neglected the community that birthed a place that has become such a significant part of my identity. Amidst an attempt to plan my post grad future, I stumbled on the St. Lawrence Public Interest Corps application. It was the eureka moment I was nervous I would not find. It was an opportunity to get involved in a town I still aspired to learn from, and a chance to pursue a field that I developed a curiosity in.  

GardenShare gleamed off the page from one of the 8 options SLU PIC had to offer. I have always been fascinated with our mysterious and convoluted food system, and the classes that brought these issues into discussion were the most engaging courses I took part in at SLU. The GardenShare mission, “Healthy Food, Healthy Farms, Everybody Eats”, seems like such a simple and universal guideline to live by, and yet it isn’t. I applied to GardenShare to give myself a chance to dip my toes into a topic that I have thought about pursuing professionally, while also getting the opportunity to understand this topic on a grassroots level.

The past three weeks have surpassed my prior expectations. The work I have been a part of is truly enjoyable. Whether it is practicing my graphic design skills in preparation for Hunger Action Month, the opportunity to meet and engage with inspiring members of St. Lawrence County that I never would have been able to otherwise, or the chance to meet farmers and learn about their work, I am constantly expanding my knowledge of the area and food sovereignty.

These couple weeks absolutely flew by and I can only assume that they will continue to do so, possibly even faster. The people I have met, the important work that I am doing, and my townhouse roommates who were once strangers, all have created a summer experience I did not know I could find in Canton, New York.