Gannon Students Apply Service-Learning to Local Community

Posted: June 11, 2013

Erie, Pa. - Over 2013 spring break, eight Gannon University students and one faculty member participated in an Alternative Break Service Trip (ABST) to Detroit where they learned the importance and value of community involvement to reach a common goal of a healthier environment. Students returning from Detroit wanted to apply to Gannon what they learned. 

Tomorrow, they'll put education and service into action at the Goodwill Garden "Pot Luck" Planting Party. The committee is welcoming participants to help plant or donate various plants and seeds; tools and refreshments provided. The Planting Party is Wednesday June 5, at 4:30 p.m. in the West Hall courtyard at the corner of West 7th and Chestnut streets.

The Gannon Goodwill Garden has already yielded over 800 pounds of fresh vegetables, which are then distributed to food pantries and similar organizations that help families in need. ABST participants organized the garden's relocation to the West Hall courtyard, where plants will have a more functional environment to thrive.

The committee is focused on urban agriculture that brings people together by growing nutritious foods that sustain the community. Grain from breweries, leftover food from restaurants, woodchips from landscapers, as well as food scraps from individual homes can be used for compost, making the soil nutrient-rich for growing healthy produce.

Gannon University's Erie-GAINS (Gannon Alliances to Improve Neighborhood Sustainability) seeks to improve the environmentally sustainability of the target area, which includes the area bordered by Presque Isle to the north, Parade Street to the east, 11th Street to the south, and the Bayfront Parkway to the west. The Gannon garden will be housed in the target community, keeping up with the Erie-GAINS initiative.

All involved hope the Gannon Goodwill Garden will strengthen the close-knit bond of the Gannon community. The students who traveled to Detroit over spring break hope to inspire all future participants in the ABST program to bring back what they learn and apply it to the surrounding Erie community.