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Gardens go green in more ways than one

Lauren Kelly | Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Irish Gardens, Notre Dame’s student-run campus flower shop, is going green.


The shop has begun composting waste in an effort to become more eco-friendly.


“The project has been in the works since the start of the semester, but fully got put into action at the end of October,” senior Celia Johns, product manager at Irish Gardens, said.


The name of this new campaign, spearheaded by Johns, is “Making the Gardens Green.”


“[Junior] Clare Mundy — one of the other managers — and I talked about encouraging recycling in the shop this year during a brainstorming session over the summer,” Johns said. “I got the idea for the composting program from a colloquium on Catholic Social Teaching and Sustainability, when a presentation from the Office of Sustainability talked about the community garden that was started over the summer, and that collections from landscape services makes up the compost for the garden.”


The project got rolling with help from the University.


“I contacted LaFortune Building Services, and they were very supportive of our initiative, and helped us get new large recycling bins so the custodial staff would know of the policy change,” Johns said. “As a student run business, it was up to the student managers to lead the charge on policy changes.”


The Notre Dame compost pile is located at the Food Service Support Facility. Waste from Irish Gardens is collected and deposited there.


“The compost is added to the compost pile of other organic material that breaks down and provides natural fertilizer for the gardens that grow food used in the dining hall and by the community,” Johns said.


Johns said she has heard positive feedback.


“Other students and faculty have been very supportive of the idea [and] excited that we are taking initiative to help improve the sustainability of Notre Dame,” Johns said. “The employees have been quick to pick up on the new procedures with recycling and compost, as well as other changes such as unplugging unnecessary electronic devices as well as reducing paper use.”


Other Irish Gardens employees said they are pleased with the new compost program.


“Our work at Irish Gardens involves such beautiful things that the world has created. We need to preserve that beauty and one way we can do that is by keeping waste to a minimum,” sophomore Krystal Hentges, an Irish Gardens employee, said.


Johns the project is for the entire Notre Dame community.


“As a Catholic university, I think it is important that we try to live out the Catholic Social Teaching principles, one of which is care for God’s creation,” Johns said. “By being more environmentally friendly, we can better take care of this gift given to us by God.”