Peace, Love, and Veggies
One of the things that stood out for me during my tour of St. Lawrence the summer before my senior year of high school was the idea of theme houses. Theme houses are a place for like-minded people to live together and work to achieve their specific "mission." I specifically remember hearing about the Greenhouse on tour and decided that it was the place I wanted to be!
I've been living at the Greenhouse since my sophomore spring and have loved every minute of it. The Greenhouse focuses on low impact and sustainable living, and a large part of living sustainably is living locally. Throughout the semester, we invite SLU students to sign up for dinners that we cook (with veggies from a local farm) and will do many different workshops dedicated to low-impact living throughout the semester. This provides many opportunities for engagement with the St. Lawrence and Canton community.
When I first came to SLU, I was quite anxious (like most first-year students ) to meet new people. I had the opportunity to completely reinvent myself and start fresh. This is a daunting task, but one of the things that helped me along was challenging myself to attend events (even if I had to go alone).
One of the first events I attended at SLU was a hummus making workshop at the Greenhouse. When I got there I was surrounded by house members and many other SLU students. Every one of them warm and ready to strike up a conversation with anyone.
I ended up meeting so many people (from all grades) and had the best time. I went to many more Greenhouse events throughout my first year and met so many people. Now I enjoy giving that experience back to my fellow students by leading workshops myself.
Living in the Greenhouse has not only provided me with the opportunity to connect with others in the SLU community but also with the Canton community. One of the ways this happens is through our involvement with Birdsfoot Farm. Birdsfoot Farm was founded in 1970 and seeks to create a peaceful community on a sustainable farm not far from campus. The vegetables in the dinners we make at the Greenhouse all come from our farm share at Birdsfoot.
Members of the Greenhouse are expected to complete a set amount of hours every semester to get these veggies. All of these hours on the farm connects us to the people living and working there, especially with the head farmer, Dulli! During the many hours of harvesting, weeding, and chores there is plenty of time to hear stories from people on the farm. My experiences at Birdsfoot connect me with the land while fostering a greater appreciation for food and a close connection to those in the Canton community. It has served as a way for members of the Greenhouse to learn from community members outside of the University setting.
Another way the Greenhouse has connected me with the SLU and Canton community is through an event we put on each year called the North Country Folk Festival. It is filled with music, dancing, food, and local vendors. We bring bands from Canton and beyond. Students and community members come set up tables and sell things (like a mini farmers market). The whole day is filled with such joyful energy that is difficult to describe. This event is a testament to how SLU connects with the community. They operate as a unit, not separate entities. Both community members and SLU students want to engage with each other.
My engagement in the Greenhouse has created so many opportunities form me to connect with people inside and outside of campus. I've learned so much from the people I've connected with. They have made Canton a special place that I consider home.
Peace, Love, and Veggies,
*Just a note from your friendly Admissions Counselors to say that while some workshops and community service opportunities are still possible during COVID-19, many have been altered or limited to accommodate for necessary safety precautions. Members of our community must wear masks, practice social distancing, and follow guidelines in the Laurentian Pact while hosting events on campus or visiting our North Country neighbors off campus.