The Office of Graduate Studies Hosts “Grad Students Give Back” Event

Graduate students were invited to volunteer at Monmouth’s Virginia A. Cory Community Garden, located just off campus on Beechwood Avenue, on April 9. The “Grad Students Give Back” event was hosted by the Office of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Advisory Board, with the help of the School of Social Work.

Marie Weimer, Intern of the Virginia A. Cory Community Garden, and Samantha Jaslow, Graduate Assistant for the Office of Graduate Studies, coordinated the event by providing volunteers with a morning garden preparatory workshop and giving them guidance as to how the garden was to be prepped for the new spring growth.

During the lunch break, graduate students of English read excerpts and poems affiliated with nature. Melissa Badamo, an MA in English/Creative Writing student, read an original poem titled, “All There’s Left is Violet,” which illustrates how love and nature can coincide with one another.

“It was such a great opportunity to read an original poem about nature to celebrate not only the new spring season, but also what the garden represents—community and giving back,” Badamo said. During the reading, volunteers were able to ask the readers some questions while they enjoyed a windy but sunny day surrounded by blooming flowers.

The Community Garden has provided food to over 50 families in Monmouth and Ocean counties. According to Monmouth’s website, the garden began as, “a cooperative volunteer effort run by the School of Social Work with the assistance of a steering committee of gardeners and Monmouth University faculty.” The garden strives to grow a community by providing a safe place for students and faculty to come together for a good cause. The event aligned with the garden’s mission statement, which is to provide educational opportunities for all ages to learn about gardening, sustainability and wellness.

Weimer emphasized that the community garden seeks to, “provide a sense of community that bridges the gap between faculty and students, as well as community members to better improve the less fortunate.”

The Community Garden also gives students and faculty the opportunity to connect with one another across multiple schools of study by connecting with nature. It’s a place of new growth and togetherness.

On Saturday, April 23 from 12-3 p.m., The Community Garden will be hosting an Earth Day celebration with live music from local artists, a poetry reading, and local businesses with an angle on eco-sustainability. Students who are interested in volunteering can email Marie Weimer at s0874232@monmouth.edu