Sullivan Foundation Workshop Encourages First-Year Students to Embrace “Head, Heart, Hustle”

Students in Hollins University’s first-year seminar “Sustainability and Social Innovation” are focused on finding ways to address the world’s most pressing problems as they present themselves in our local communities. Class members recently received inspiration and a blueprint on how to start finding their purpose as social entrepreneurs through “Head, Heart, Hustle,” an interactive workshop presented by the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation.

Reagan Pugh Sullivan Foundation
The Sullivan Foundation’s Reagan Pugh: “The most effective young people are the most reflective young people.”

 

“What we do is simply support young people who want to be changemakers,” explained Reagan Pugh, a facilitator with the Sullivan Foundation. Partnering with a network of 70 schools throughout the southeastern United States, the foundation seeks through college scholarships, awards, and events and programming to inspire young people to prioritize service to others above self-interest.

Pugh discussed with the students the idea of finding “an intersection” between one’s own beliefs, passions, and skills. “We know that we want that, but some of us are not one hundred percent clear what that looks like. It’s a work in progress. The most effective young people are the most reflective young people.” He urged the class to “take a minute and pay attention to what’s going on around us and make observations. Then, pick a path forward and do that incrementally over time. Move toward finding something that’s right for [you] and right for the world.”

In the “Head, Heart, Hustle” workshop, Pugh led the students in recognizing potential career pathways that employ one’s head (an individual’s skills and unique gifts) and align with one’s heart (the issues that matter most) in order to develop a hustle (a vocation) that fits the individual and serves others.

“If you leave here today and you have a clear step of something you might try, in real life, to bring you clarity about what you might want to do,” Pugh noted, “that’s our goal.”

Sustainability and Social Innovation
In the first-year seminar “Sustainability and Social Innovation,” students are “challenged to ask not what your community can do for you, but what you can do for your community.”

At Hollins, all first-year students take a first-year seminar. These seminars allow them to participate in collaborative and active learning and to hone their skills in critical thinking, creative problem solving, research, writing, and oral communication. Each seminar also has an upper-class student mentor called a Student Success Leader, or SSL. SSLs attend the seminar, help students with advising, and answer academic questions.

“Igniting passion into people and seeing them transform will always be a concept that’s magical to me,” said Zahin Mahbuba ’22, who serves as the SSL for “Sustainability and Social Innovation.” From her perspective, the workshop had a profound impact. “It was tremendous to see the students being struck by their own sense of inspiration and to ultimately want to build on their passions.”

Assistant Professor of Education Teri Wagner co-teaches “Sustainability and Social Innovation” with Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Science Mary Jane Carmichael. “At the heart of the concepts of sustainability and social innovation is stewardship – the responsible use and protection of the environment around your through thoughtful and intentional practices that enhance ecosystem resilience and human well-being,” Wagner said. The concept of stewardship, she added, is applicable not only to the environment and nature, but also to economics, health, information, theology, cultural resources, and beyond.

“In this seminar, we challenge students to develop innovative solutions to complex problems by applying design thinking principles while working in multidisciplinary collaborative teams. We challenge them to ask not what your community can do for you, but what you can do for your community.”

 

 

 


Hollins Honored As Tree Campus Higher Education Institution

 

The Arbor Day Foundation has recognized Hollins University as a 2020 Tree Campus Higher Education institution.

Launched in 2008, the program honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.

“Over the past year, many have been reminded of the importance of nature to our physical and mental health,” said Arbor Day Foundation President Dan Lambe. “[Hollins’] campus trees provide spaces of refuge and reflection to students, staff, faculty, and the community.”

To obtain this distinction, Hollins met the five core standards for effective forest management, including establishment of a tree advisory committee, evidence of a campus tree care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance, and the sponsorship of student service learning projects.

“Your entire campus should be proud of this work and the leadership of [Assistant Professor of Biology] Elizabeth Gleim and the committee,” Lambe noted.

 


Arbor Day Foundation Honors Hollins with 2020 Tree Campus Higher Education® Recognition

For its commitment to effective urban forest management, Hollins University has been honored with Tree Campus Higher Education® recognition for 2020 by the Arbor Day Foundation.

“Tree Campuses and their students set examples for not only their student bodies but the surrounding communities showcasing how trees create a healthier environment,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Because of Hollins’ participation, air will be purer, water cleaner, and students and faculty will be surrounded by the shade and beauty trees provide.”

The Tree Campus Higher Education program honors colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. Hollins achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus Higher Education’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance, and a student service-learning project. Currently there are 403 campuses across the United States with this recognition.

“This is our fifth year receiving the Tree Campus Higher Education designation, which really speaks to Hollins’ commitment to responsibly managing and caring for trees while also engaging students in that work,” said Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Elizabeth Gleim ’06. Over the past several years, students in Gleim’s Conservation Biology course have completed a full inventory of trees on campus and quantified the ecosystem services that provide, such as the amount of carbon these trees sequester.

“Through service projects, students have also planted over 100 trees on campus over the past several years in an effort to mitigate the impact of the invasive emerald ash borer, which is currently killing many of our ash trees on campus,” Gleim added.

This spring, Hollins will be celebrating both Arbor Day and Earth Day on Friday, April 23, as Gleim will conduct a Hollins Tree Tour for students, faculty, and staff. “I’ll share some cool facts about the services trees provide, some of their medicinal properties, and how to identify these trees.”

The Arbor Day Foundation is a million-member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. It has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees, and Tree Campus Higher Education colleges and universities invested more than $51 million in campus forest management last year. This work directly supports the Arbor Day Foundation’s Time for Trees initiative — an unprecedented effort to plant 100 million trees in forests and communities and inspire five million tree planters by 2022. Last year, Tree Campus Higher Education schools collectively planted 39,178 trees and engaged 81,535 tree planters — helping the foundation work toward these critical goals.

 


Hollins’ Community Garden Opens To Students For The First Time Since March

One of the unexpected results of the COVID-19 pandemic has been more people and households gardening. This fall, Hollins students are getting to see if they have a green thumb, too, as the university’s community garden recently reopened to students who are interested in planting an autumn crop. This semester marks the first time since March that Hollins students could step foot inside the university’s garden, which is actually a greenhouse comprising ten garden beds.

“It’s a great opportunity that gives students experience in gardening, and it’s also an outlet for activities that are a lot of fun,” said Stephen R. Wassell, an associate professor of mathematics at Hollins who also helps maintain the community garden. While the garden was closed over the spring and summer, Wassell and his wife took care of the garden beds, even planting a summer crop. Now, Wassell’s been getting the greenhouse ready for the school’s Community Garden Club to take over. “I’ll provide guidance while students do most of the gardening work,” explained Wassell, adding that students will be planting a fall crop very soon. “The students will decide what to plant,” he said. “My intention is just to hand it back over to them and be a hands-off advisor.”

Mackenzie Sessoms '24
Mackenzie Sessoms ’24 is president of the Hollins Community Garden Club.

The Hollins Community Garden Club is a free, student-run club open to all students, with or without prior gardening experience. The club’s president, Mackenzie Sessoms ‘24, said that the club currently has about 20 members, many of whom are first-year students. “Gardening in general is like a type of therapy for me,” said Sessoms, who became the Community Garden Club’s new president this semester. “I usually walk to the garden almost every day when I have the chance to, just to see how the plants are doing, and it’s something I’m very passionate about and something that I would love to pursue. I enjoy taking care of plant life and receiving a type of reward for all the work I put in, the reward being harvest!”

The whole gardening club collectively decides what’s planted in the community garden’s beds, and harvests are purchased by the university’s dining services, which pays for next harvest’s seeds and soil as well as some extra activities. Normally, the Community Garden Club would offer a couple of intern or work-study positions as well, but this semester (because of the COVID pandemic and reduced resources) all work in the greenhouse will be volunteer-based. “For at least this semester, we’re setting up a system where the students get credits for the weeding and mowing and watering and various things that need to be done,” said Wassell. “Then with those credits, the students can have some of the produce that the community garden is producing.”

For more information about Hollins’ Community Garden Club, check out the club’s Instagram or email communitygarden@hollins.edu.

Jeff Dingler is a graduate assistant in Hollins’ marketing and communications department. He is pursuing his M.F.A. in creative writing at the university.

 

 


Hollins Featured in The Princeton Review’s “Guide to Green Colleges: 2019 Edition”

Hollins University is one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges, according to the 2019 edition of The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges.

The Princeton Review chose the 413 schools it profiles in the tenth annual edition of the guide based on a survey the company conducted in 2018-19 of administrators at hundreds of four-year colleges about their institutions’ commitments to the environment and sustainability.

“We strongly recommend Hollins to the many environmentally minded students who want to study and live at a green college,” said Rob Franek, The Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief.

Franek noted a high level of interest among college applicants and their parents about environmental and sustainability issues. Among the nearly 12,000 teens and parents The Princeton Review surveyed earlier this year, 64% said that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would affect their decision to apply to or attend a specific school.

An overview of how Hollins is “keeping it green” can be found on the university’s environmental sustainability web page.

 

 


Hollins Honors Earth Day, Arbor Day with Free Tree Seedlings

UPDATE (04/15/2019): We’re pleased to announce that all the available tree seedlings have been claimed. Thanks to the campus community for your enthusiastic response!

The Hollins Tree Committee is celebrating Earth Day (April 22) and National Arbor Day (April 26) by giving away free tree seedlings this month to members of the campus community.

“The tree committee has sponsored numerous tree plantings on campus, most recently on March 18 along Carvin Creek during our annual Hollins Tree Planting Day,” said Assistant Professor of Biology Elizabeth Gleim, who serves as the faculty representative on the Tree Committee. “Now we’re hoping to make an impact beyond our campus.”

The seedlings are available to any faculty member, staff member, or commuter student who has a place to plant a tree. Nine different tree species are available through April 18, or while supplies last: red maple, silver maple, bald cypress, river birch, persimmon, black walnut, black cherry, silky dogwood (a shrub), and red osier dogwood (also a shrub). The seedlings are approximately one to two feet in length.

Members of the campus community can contact Gleim at egleim@hollins.edu to arrange a time for pick-up. There is a limit of two seedlings per individual.

 

Photo: Approximately 40 students, faculty, staff, and their family members took part in the annual Hollins Tree Planting Day in March. The group planted 90 seedlings along Carvin Creek on the Hollins campus. The work was an effort to mitigate the loss of the nearly 100 ash trees along the creek that are dying due to infestation by the emerald ash borer. The trees planted are all native to Virginia and well-adapted to the soggy soil along the creek, and include river birch, silver maple, and silky dogwood.

 

 


New Charging Station to Serve Campus Community

In coordination with the university’s Environmental Advisory Board (EAB), Hollins has installed its first electric vehicle charging station.

Located in the Dana Science Building/Moody Student Center parking lot, the SemaConnect charging station is fully operational and available for use free-of-charge by Hollins students, faculty, and staff.

Vice President for Finance and Administration Kerry Edmonds says the station offers a number of benefits to Hollins.

“It supports those who already use electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids to commute to and from work or school, and encourages others to consider green modes of transportation for themselves. It also sends a clear message to campus visitors and prospective students that Hollins is committed to clean transportation and our green campus mission.”

The charging station was the winning proposal from the campus community in 2018 for using the university’s Green Fee. Established by students in 2008, the Green Fee is a $5 charge that is added to undergraduates’ tuition each semester. It funds projects that uphold Hollins’ commitment to reducing its carbon footprint, conserving energy, and/or supporting the institution’s sustainability efforts. The university welcomes Green Fee proposals each spring, evaluates project ideas, and makes recommendations to the President for approval.

Edmonds notes that while access to the charging station is currently limited to students and employees, “we will monitor usage by the campus community on an ongoing basis and then determine whether to open the station to the general public.”


Hollins Earns Tree Campus USA® Recognition for Third Consecutive Year

Hollins has been honored by the Arbor Day Foundation with the organization’s Tree Campus USA® designation, highlighting the university’s commitment to effective urban forest management and engaging students, faculty, and staff in conservation goals.

“Tree Campuses and their students set examples for not only their student bodies but the surrounding communities showcasing how trees create a healthier environment,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Because of Hollins’ participation, air will be purer, water cleaner, and the university’s students and faculty will be surrounded by the shade and beauty the trees provide.”

Hollins, which has now earned the designation in 2016, 2017, and 2018, meets Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance, and a student service-learning project. Currently there are 364 campuses across the United States with this recognition.

The Arbor Day Foundation has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested more than $51 million in campus forest management last year.

 


Arbor Day Foundation Honors Hollins with 2017 Tree Campus USA® Recognition

Tree Campus USA LogoHollins University was honored with 2017 Tree Campus USA® recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management.

“Students are eager to volunteer in their communities and become better stewards of the environment,” said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Participating in Tree Campus USA sets a fine example for other colleges and universities, while helping to create a healthier planet for us all.”

Tree Campus USA, an Arbor Day Foundation program, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.  The Tree Campus USA program honors colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. Hollins University achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project. Currently there are 344 campuses across the United States with this recognition.

The Arbor Day Foundation has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested more than $48 million in campus forest management last year.


Hollins Featured in Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges

Hollins University is one of the nation’s 375 most environmentally responsible colleges, according to the 2017 edition of The Princeton Review Guide to 375 Green Colleges.

Schools were chosen for the seventh annual edition of The Princeton Review’s “green guide” based on data from the company’s 2016-17 survey of hundreds of four-year colleges concerning the schools’ commitment to the environment and sustainability.

“We strongly recommend Hollins and the other colleges in this guide to the many environmentally minded students who seek to study and live at green colleges,” said Princeton Review Vice President/Publisher Robert Franek.

In an effort to model sustainable practices, Hollins created an Environmental Advisory Board in 2006 composed of students, faculty, staff, and trustees to provide the university president with advice and leadership regarding identification, assessment, creation, and implementation of environmental planning and policies for the university. The following year, Hollins became a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Agreement, documented its greenhouse gas emissions, and developed a plan in 2009 for reducing campus carbon emissions. As part of this commitment, an initial benchmark was set to reduce the university’s carbon footprint by 15% by the end of the 2013-14 academic year.  Hollins subsequently reduced its carbon footprint by 19%, one year ahead of schedule.The dramatic reduction in emissions came primarily from the university’s 8.8% decrease in electricity consumption. The university’s commitment to renewable energy initiatives, including the purchase of landfill gas, is further offsetting its carbon footprint.

Hollins has coordinated projects to promote sustainable practices, including campus-wide conservation guidelines and a recycling program; installing geothermal wells with new construction; and establishing a Green Revolving Fund to implement additional cost-effective energy conservation projects. Hollins also maintains growing academic programs in environmental studies and environmental science. In 2016, the university received the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus USA recognition for the institution’s commitment to efficient urban forest management.

 

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