Author: Malcolm MacLeod
Members of the Food, Energy and Sustainability Team (FEAST) are trying to transform the club into a student service in order to secure more funding for projects on campus and in the community.
They aim to make three major changes if their club is granted status as a student service: increasing emphasis on educational programming in the FEAST garden, improving the college’s composting methods and drought tolerant landscaping and advertising the FEAST garden as an accessible, open place for everyone to enjoy.
According to FEAST President Dylan Bruce (senior), in order to become a student service, the club’s executive board is preparing a written statement to be presented to, and reviewed by, the Associated Students of Occidental College (ASOC) Senate on an undetermined date.
Bruce said that creating student jobs within FEAST is the first step in a number of expansion efforts the clubs members have planned. The club is hiring two garden apprentices and one garden supervisor this semester and currently compensating them with funds allocated by the ASOC Renewable Energy and Sustainability Fund (RESF).
Whether or not FEAST can sustain these positions in the long term will depend on how much ASOC funding it can secure if it becomes a student service. By receiving funding through the ASOC budget, the club will not continue to drain the RESF, which is intended for infrastructural changes on campus, according to Bruce.
“What they’re going to do is work about 10–12 hours per week, which will allow us to do the necessary jobs more frequently, because it can be scheduled into someone’s paid work, rather than the rest of us who have jobs and [are working in executive board positions] and trying to fit in the projects in between our busy schedules,” Bruce said.
In an effort to involve more lower division students in the club, the garden apprentices will be chosen exclusively from the classes of 2018 and 2019, according to Bruce. The supervisor will likely be a junior or senior.
ASOC Vice President of Sustainability Sarah Mosley (sophomore) supports FEAST members’ efforts to convert the club into a student service.
“[FEAST has] the true power to create sustainable change on this campus,” Mosley said. “Not only would it be more effective for sustainability as a topic to be initiated by a student group, it could set a precedent on this campus that students can make change happen.”
Both Bruce and Mosley said that it is unclear how an organization becomes a student service, as a formal application process does not exist. Bruce said that the club has been instructed to draft a written statement, explaining how FEAST fits ASOC’s description of a student service. The ASOC website outlines a student service as providing employment and resources for students.
According to Bruce and FEAST executive board member Skye Harnseberger (junior), FEAST and its goals fit well into ASOC’s definition of student services. If given the proper funding the club can build a broader, more inclusive membership base, capable of creating positive change on campus.
According to Harnseberger, with more funding the club will be able to increase its community outreach and put on more events for the student body.
A previous student event was the Sept. 12 Queen’s Garden Party, in which FEAST lit up the garden and played music from solar powered electronics installed by the members. They served over forty plates of food made from ingredients grown in the garden.
“There are people on campus that don’t know that FEAST exists or that they can go there any time to hang or study,” Harnseberger said. “FEAST matches up to the college’s goals, helps connect students with local organizations and its really awesome to see the outside community knowing about the garden. We’re reaching really far and I think we can go even further by becoming a student service.”
Mosley looks forward to supporting members of FEAST in their efforts, and raising awareness of the organization on campus.
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