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Graduating seniors discuss 2010 class gift

This post corrects the previous story, which stated the senior class already had $6000 to apply toward its gift.

In a class meeting yesterday, Mills College seniors discussed the idea of using their class gift to help create a campus farm and possibly extending the areas included in Senior Paint Night.

They gathered at the Student/Faculty Lounge Feb. 23 to discuss plans for the senior class as graduation is less than three months away.

Along with discussing the process for choosing a commencement speaker, means of fundraising and sponsoring social events, Senior Class President Rebecca Waterhouse introduced some ideas for the 2010 class gift.

“This is our chance to give back to this great institution that we are a part of,” said Waterhouse.

Most of the seniors present were thrilled with the idea of their class gift fund – which they hope will accrue nearly $6000 by the end of the year – being used to start a fund for an on-campus farm.

Seniors discuss their goals, including the possibility of a campus farm as a senior class gift.

“I think it’s meant to be,” said senior Katherine Kugay.

Waterhouse said she hopes the rest of the Mills community will take to the idea as well.

“I think it could be one of the best gifts to give,” said Waterhouse. “It would be self sustaining.”

According to Christina McWhorter, Botanical Garden/Greenhouse Coordinator, the College had a campus farm in the early 1900s. She said reinstating the farm would be relatively simple because the campus catering service, Bon Appetit, has agreed to purchase all of the produce potentially grown on such a farm.

“We hope to start out small and then expand it,” she said. The plan is to start the farm as a means of growing produce and possibly housing chickens for eggs and to expand it as it becomes more sustainable.

There are some potential problems with the idea that need to be worked out, including how the farm will affect the surrounding environment. McWhorter said she and a Mills MBA student are currently working on a feasibility plan, because she is interested in pursuing the project even if seniors choose to put their money elsewhere.

“I want to know that it’s going to work before I put a shovel in the ground,” said McWhorter.

If the senior class chooses to help fund the creation of a new farm, McWhorter said she plans to use the money to prepare a plot of land for farming. This process would include buying equipment, setting up a work shed and building cleaning facilities.

A campus farm would also create job opportunities for Mills students.

Seniors also discussed changes to Senior Paint Night, an annual event during which seniors are allowed to paint various areas around campus, including the steps leading up to Adams Plaza and Campanil newsstands.

According to Assistant Director of Student Activities Mandy Benson, who serves as Senior Class Adviser, seniors will also have access to an entire wall somewhere in Rothwell Center this year. Benson said that this wall could depict a pre-designed mural, a collage of individual images or artistic graffiti.

Here are the minutes from the meeting: