The end of summer, and that means another harvest for the MCC Community Garden, which grows by leaps and bounds each year, almost as rapidly as its vegetable inhabitants!
Begun last year as a product of the MCC Sustainability Club and providing an opportunity for students, staff and faculty to tend their own plots, the community garden has become one of the most exciting projects on the college's Bedford campus, not just because of the visual enhancement, but mostly because of the community engagement the project has harvested with several community partners.
Overseen by folks like Christopher Fiori, Mike Cermac, Steve Rossi, and a hardy crop from the hard-working members of his Sustainability Club, the garden across from the Cataldo Administration building has allowed dozens of members of the MCC family to grow their own individual gardens, boasting a wide range of offerings from eggplants to cucumbers to sunflowers.
The MCC Community Garden has already donated around 300 pounds of fresh produce, including beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, chard, squash, and cabbage to the Merrimack Valley Food Bank. These donations come from the student-run section of the garden - 2,000 square feet across four beds at the garden's entrance. Last year, donations from the student section totaled more than 700 pounds, and by the end of this year's harvest in October, the Sustainability Club expects to top that poundage.
The main crop of potatoes should be ready to harvest any day, and the Club also has done a second planting of beans, radishes, lettuce, and broccoli. Early on, some unseasonably cold summer weather made casualties out of a bean crop, but they since rebounded and produced a high yield. At one point over the summer, the voracious Colorado Potato Beetle threatened to destroy the coveted potato crop, but the students were able to control them with an organic pesticide that won't harm the plants or the environment.
The garden's infrastructure saw lots of improvements this year. Most notably, with the help of MCC Facilities, the club added a permanent fence enclosing the garden. In prior years, several deer broke through the meager fencing and had their run of the garden. The students also moved their fain barrels inside the fence and added a storage shed for all of their gardening tools. The Club even carved out one corner of the landscape to create a zen garden, where students and staff can just take a moment to soak in the beauty of the garden.
In all, there were 59 active gardeners across 64 plots, with nearly two dozen of those green thumbs belonging to students, a marked increase over last year's initial outing.
So give a shoutout to all of our folks with the green thumbs, especially the members of the MCC Sustainability Club! We look forward to seeing what next year's crop yields!
A new semester underway, so natch, that means it's time for the Center for Student Engagement to welcome students back to campus in style with our annual Block Party, held on our Bedford Campus!
The September classic brings our students together with staff and faculty for a frolicking good time, complete with giveaways, sporting events, and of course, fried dough, hot dogs, and sausages loaded with peppers and onions!
The daylong festival is a fabulous way to help integrate our newest students with our returning scholars, and kick the school year off on a fun foot! Kudos to all the folks from Student Affairs and their army of volunteers who make it happen every year!
Ye blog writer will just shut up here and leave it to the wonderful images from Alyce O'Connell www.alyceconnell.com to tell the story of the day in pics!
Another summer in the books, which means it's time for another Opening Day and another chance to welcome our students, faculty and staff back to campus for a super semester!
This year's Opening Day marked a special celebration, too, as President Carole Cowan, who announced her retirement in June, presided over her last opening ceremonies - her 25th overall as president, her 38th as a member of Team MCC
The first day couldn't happen without the help of our student leaders, who come at things from all different directions!
But the signs are there - this group is ready to lead!
We can only imagine what Jonathan Crockett is saying to fire up the Bedford crowd
In the afternoon, everyone headed up to the Lowell campus for the welcome back luncheon at the Inn and Conference Center.
Every year since 1978, the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) has sought to serve, engage and inspire higher education faculty and staff across the country. Since 1989, NISOD has asked Presidents of their institutions to submit nominees for NISOD Excellence Award recipients, and this year's winners were recognized by Provost and Vice-President for Academic and Student Affairs Phil Sisson.
Nancy Curll, the manager of E-Learning
Said Sisson: "No college can thrive without someone taking ownership and responsibility for instructional technology - both maintaining the infrastructure and pushing for innovation. Nancy is that person for us. She is like the three companions of Dorothy after they meet the Wizard of Oz - she has brains, heart and courage. Nancy has shepherded and mentored hundreds of full and part-time faculty through the on-line course development process and we owe the quality of our on-line courses to her leadership and care."
Maryanne Mungovan, the Director of Multicultural and Veterans Affairs
Said Sisson: "Maryanne has over 25 years of service at MCC. During that time she has taken on numerous roles at the college including faculty, coordinator of the Multicultural Center, and now as Director of Multicultural and Veterans Affairs. Maryanne advances the college's mission and strategic direction by empowering our students, celebrating the diversity of our community, nurturing personal connections and responding to the needs of the community. Her contributions are extensive and her commitment to student success is exemplary."
Karen Oster, the department Chair and Professor of Performing Arts
According to Sisson, "Karen has kept the drama program running through adverse conditions, including floods and theater closings, and despite the significant infrastructural problems, she has consistently led students to provide high-quality productions in a variety of genres. All this, and Karen still finds time and energy to run not one, but two theater camps through the college's Business and Industry department with the goals of developing in children a love of theater and increased self-confidence.
Nursing Professor Marie Ryder
Said Sisson: "In her over 35 years teaching in the MCC Nursing Program, Marie has been a champion for her nursing students and for veterans at the Bedford Veterans Administration Hospital. She role models compassionate care for the mentally ill and warm, sincere supportive advocacy for her students.
An MCC mugshot
President Cowan being feted by from left, MCC Alum and MCC Foundation member David Basile, Student Trustee Vennesa Van Wyk, and Board of Trustees Chairman Royall M. Mack, Sr.
Best of luck to all of our students, faculty and staff as they launch into a fabulous academic year on campus, our college's 45th, and thanks to President Cowan for leading the college for 25 of those years!