The U’s Sustainability Office Launches Giving Tuesday Campaign


Students learn in one of the edible campus gardens. (Courtesy of Jessica Kemper)

By Natalie Colby, Editor-in-Chief

The Sustainability Office at the University of Utah is launching a Giving Tuesday campaign to raise money to buy benches for their Edible Campus Gardens. The folding benches, which could also double as tables, cost $310.41. They hope to purchase eight for the use of students and classes. 

The mission of the Edible Campus Gardens, according to their promotional flyer for the campaign, is to “engage the campus community in ecologically sound and just food systems through garden based experience, education and research.”

There are two separate edible gardens on campus — the Sill Garden, outside of the Sill Center, and the Pioneer Garden, outside the Pioneer Memorial Theatre. These gardens host several classes, including organic gardening, global environmental issues and a Leap seminar in social sciences. This past year, they had a total of nine different classes use the garden at some point to grow vegetables, measure water usage or learn about food justice. The gardens are also open to all students to study and relax. 

Students who currently use the garden lean on trees or sit on the ground, which the sustainability office says “makes it challenging to write or work on a computer.”

The campaign to raise money is part of a larger movement called Giving Tuesday, which was launched in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y at “what at the time felt like unprecedented disruption in global politics and the global economy,” the official website said. “We wanted to harness the power of social media to celebrate and inspire giving.”

The annual day takes place on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and is focused on donating to nonprofits.

The movement has consistently grown since that time, and has become a way to combat the consumption-based Black Friday and Cyber Monday. GivingTuesday is now its own official organization. 

This is the first year the Sustainability Office is participating in Giving Tuesday. However, the Sustainability Office has hosted smaller campaigns before. Jessica Kemper, the Sustainable Food Initiatives Manager at the Sustainability Office said they have gotten the word out through every possible media outlet they have.

She said she finds a lot of value in the Edible Campus Gardens.

“Our space gives students the opportunity to meet friends, share in locally-grown community produce, gain hands-on experience right on campus, and practice leadership skills,” Kemper said. 

She also said that they notice many students in the Gardens between classes relaxing or getting work done, and that the tables would benefit them also.

Chloe Quinn, a freshmen environmental science major, has never personally taken a class in the gardens. However, she said it seems like a very cool resourse.

“I think the garden would benefit from seating because it would make it more accessible for more people to get involved with,” Quinn said.

Donations can be given on their website during, before and after the day. 


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