/input

I got the results from my milestone review, and here is a compiled list by my professor of strengths and weaknesses for this project. Your input on any of these things would be much appreciated!

Strengths

√ Completed text-based proposal

√ Blog successfully underway

√ Bill to design fountain layout

√ Promising alternative marketing techniques

√ Reserved desk for petition signing

√ Learned a lot about turf wars from Maine Campus Forum experience

√ Good to prop up publicity, i.e the two members of the Permaculture Club

√ Excellent collaborative possibilites and synergies, good work with organization

√ Good start on going viral

Weaknesses/To Do

Create concrete timeframe for this — how will it continue after you graduate? [Graduate as formal contractor solution!]

Keep pushing on the administrative obstacles front.

Keep pushing for grants.

Ben suggested to advertise the problem of the fountain being unused, ie. eyesore, smell, then suggest the solution.

Prepare a rapid response team (friends for responses before every time you appear in print/web), to add comments from others.

Keep pusing the Contagious Media campaign – even if your project hits a roadblock, that campaign’s impact may endure.

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/how

Hey, all!

I’ve gotten so much feedback from so many people, and I haven’t even met half of you! This post is being created to get a response from all of the volunteers on this project. Please include how you heard about this project, and a little bit about yourself just so everyone can get to know each other.

Thank you all for your support!

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/milestone review

Hey there, all!

So, a few quick developments and updates. Yesterday I had my milestone review to present our progress thus far. My professor and classmates seem receptive to the progress we’ve made and the direction that this project is going in.

I promised to upload my Gantt chart, however there was a mishap involving my computer and a very unfortunate glass of red wine, and now Critter is gone, may she rest in peace. However, I am going to be reconstructing my Gantt chart for viewing as soon as I get my new computer (hopefully within the week).

This is the week that I’m hoping we can solidify our first petition signing. I’m sending out emails for people to take time slots as soon as I get the okay from Carole. The time slots are dependent on what is available, but I’m hoping for signings Monday through Thursday of next week. Here’s the numbers that I was hoping to run for that week:

1 -2 people upstairs in the union with electronic petitions

1-2 people downstairs next to the fountain with electronic petitions

1-2 people floating around the union handing out fliers and gathering signature petitions

I know this might seem a little intensive, but that’s only 3-6 people for maybe an hour out of 4 days. I hope people can make it!

Green Team, do you think maybe we could get together to make the poster we talked about for the lower level of the union, and maybe to design some fliers?

Bill, is there any word from your contact? As soon as I get the schematics for the Union, I’ll send you a copy so you can have some solid measurements to design off from.

I’m still working to get through the mire of administration to find that one person who can okay or not okay this. If anyone has any suggestions or contacts, please post them.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t meet with SAgE yesterday because for the first time this semester, the observatory was open and I had to go for my class. Very irritating. Am planning on striking up a solid correspondence and attending after break.

Also, I know that there are a lot of people looking at this site – I can see the stats on my dashboard for this site! I know you’re out there, and I would love some feedback. Please feel free to drop a line on here telling me what you’re thinking, suggestions, questions, comments, contacts, or anything you think may contribute to this project. Thank you!

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/gain:collaboration

Great news! I attended a Green Team meeting Thursday evening at the Wade Center, and they agreed to throw us their support. The Green Team is officially on project FSG. They also had some really helpful information for me. Here’s a rundown of what was talked about:

- Greg informed me that if I went to the Facilities Management website for UMaine, it could be possible to download the complete layout and dimensions of the water fountain area. This definitely beats my original plan, which involved a tape measure and some unlucky person I dragged along with me.

- I explained the concerns that people had about the Union area being cleaned with chemicals so close to an eco-source. They expressed that the chemicals used to clean (bleach, ammonia, etc.) should not be within at least 10 feet of the garden. This may present a roadblock in that the University may have to switch to non-toxic cleaning supplies. The way that sounds you wouldn’t think that would be an obstacle, but…. well, you know. They work and are cheap, so they’re used. It’s also important to keep in mind that these same chemicals used to clean are used in the facility in which you eat, as well as pretty much any that you would visit. If it may kill other living organisms like plants, snails or fish, then what could it do to us in the long run? Again, a big obstacle, but every problem is an opportunity in disguise, no?

- We decide to form petitions no later than Wednesday of next week. Here’s the tentative game plan:

Call Carol LeClair and reserve one of the desks in the main level of the union, between Starbucks and Couchland. Have two people there: one to have people electronically sign the petition, the other to either have people sign a written petition or hand out fliers. We’re hoping to put up a sign where you usually see them in the walk-across in the Union, right above the bookstore level. It would demonstrate something like “Sign The Free Student Garden Petition!” with a giant arrow pointing down. Downstairs at the fountain, there would similarly be two people for petitions and fliers. We’re looking into seeing if we could leave petitions in the Bookstore just for student interest. Still pending.

The Green Team has offered to take over the entire marketing section of this project. This is absolutely great. That means that there are only two sections left, and there are still two or more clubs to visit and pitch this to. The Green Team is planning everything from putting up a section their website, to making a Facebook account, fliers, and posters. We’re also looking into an alternative source of marketing, which boils down to two ideas so far. One, is get a lot of gourds. I mean, a lot of gourds. Print out tags with the project name, date, time, and place of the Capstone presentation and perhaps the web address, and attach the tags to the stem of the gourds… and then just leave them all around campus. The other idea which would probably be a little less messy would be to gather beach rocks and paint them with the information, and then leave them around campus.

So far, so good. I’ll be updated the positions on the previous post as they are taken. Cheers!

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/collab components

Here are the structured components on the collaboration of this project. This will expand as more members join the force of this project. The * indicates the principle of that faction.

[project managers]

*Danielle Gagner

Gregory E. Edwards

[designers]

*Bill Giordano

[treasurer]

- Draw up budget and allocate resources, balancing budget and resource schedule.

{resources and budget manager}

- Help scout potential sources of funding catering to the best aspects of the garden.

[networking manager]

- Manages contacts between administrative and public contacts.

{administrative contacts and proposals}

- Secure contacts among administration for the needed sections of the FSG, i.e. Maintenance Dept., etc.

{public contacts and proposals}

- Make public contacts and proposals, such as viral, video, awareness, and public content marketing.

The Green Team (spots yet to be designated)

[marketing manager]

- Oversees the locations for distribution of media and approves all media submission.

{media designer}

- layouts and design for fliers, posters, video, type, audio, etc.

{awareness manager}

- Oversees and gets approval for the locations for distribution of media.

Well, two potential spots filled. Let’s see how long it takes to get some people on the other ones.

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/concept

Bill and I met at the fountain on Tuesday and were tossing around ideas for the FSG, from the finer points to the basics. Here’s a rundown.

[permissions]

Bill has a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who fell off the back of a truck who might know what’s up with the fountain. Basically, we’re using his extensive contacts to get as much information about the status of the fountain as we can, as well as possibly finding out who to contact administration-wise.

[concept titles/definitions]

Bill pointed out that the name “Free Student Garden” might be a little misleading without some undercurrent phrase that might better explain what the actual project is. A few terms like ‘art’, ‘public’, ‘sculpture’, and ‘design’ were tossed around. Though still open to suggestion, the new sub-title is now:

Free Student Garden: A Collaborative Interior Design Sculpture

[collaboration]

Great news! We now have the full force of the Permaculture Club behind us! Or rather, we have the full force of Bill behind us. And me, I think. Yes, indeed the two people of the Permaculture Club have thrown their full support to the design effort.

Well, that’s about it. Up to come is impending meetings with the different clubs on campus that are willing to throw us support. Cheers!

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/whatis_sustainme_final_proposal

Alright, here she blows. This project has taken tosses and turns, uplifting prospects and tumultuous dives. Now, after about a semester of attempting to do seven different projects, I finally narrowed it down to three, and then scrapped it down to two as of 48 hours ago. And now, 23 hours ago, just one. Not too bad, huh? And with that, the final flourish of what I fully intend to diligently pursue for my 2010 capstone.

[abstract]

A rising trend is being noticed in the world today; a throwback, something that’s been done and done effectively for thousands of years, and yet is a fairly new concept to our culture today. The art of making something useful out of what was previously considered useless. Efficient and succinct uses of space, time, and energy. Is it art? Design? Efficient? Useful? Sustainable? Yes.

[what]

Free Student Garden is a collaborative interior design sculpture. Sculpture and garden? These two words don’t seem likely to fit together, however this project is just that. Designing and possibly creating a living machine in a structured space that also produces. This is a sculpture that would keep giving, literally. While there would be herbs, vegetables and various edibles that would be free for the taking, there would also be a complex setup that would also involve moss for filtration, snails for sanitation, and yes, there has even been curious optimism where fish are concerned.

[why/where]

A marvelous opportunity has arisen. Or at least, what some people consider a marvelous opportunity; a lot of people are just pissed that there’s a broken staircase fountain in the Union, the hub of traffic on the UMaine campus. It lays motionless, abandoned, a victim of burst pipes that would be quite costly to fix. There were rumors that the fountain was to be abandoned altogether, and that your usual small plants and ficus’ were to be planted in its stead. While possibly aesthetically pleasing, it would be like every other useless plot on campus; pretty, hearty, but producing nothing. Why not change that? Why not seize the opportunity to use that space to make something that would give back to students, faculty, and the community? Something not only aesthetically pleasing, but producing, perpetuating, and sustainable? Why not something more beautiful? We’re working collaboratively to design that beauty, in hopes to make it happen.

[when]

Things are happening very fast; it makes me wish I had noticed the broken fountain earlier so I could apply this project to last semester, but that’s the price I pay for never really being on campus. The design will be finalized and compiled into a portfolio by the end of April, in time to present on Capstone Night, which is speculated to be on May 3rd. Progress on this project is happening fast, and can be viewed when I add my updated Gantt chart [pending].

[collaborators]

The people involved with this project are the very crux of knowledge needed in order for the Free Student Garden to be accomplished. An email was sent out to various clubs that were related to anything agriculture, and there were quite a few responses from excited individuals who have volunteered to help with this project. The Maine Campus also put out an article on the possibility of the FSG, and I received quite a few emails from individuals who had read the article and wanted to participate. Word has spread fast, and there are now 9 individual volunteers, and the entirety of the Green Team and the Permaculture Club. Other support is pending, but there is so much interest out there and that lifts my spirits so. When we have formed a cohesive plan, a proposal will be drawn up and presented to the administration of this university, in hopes that they too will collaborate with us on this project.

[promotion]

There has been sudden and unexpected advertising when it comes to the FSG. Though virtually small attempts have been made to get the word out, the focus has been primarily on the concept solidification before the marketing. However, on the same day that the concept was initially presented, I was contacted by the Maine Campus (thanks to Eryk Salvaggio), asking me for an interview. This was very sudden, and occurred within the next 48 hours or so, and went to print a few days later. I got many emails from individuals who had interest, the want to volunteer,  or just questions. The article was also put up on the Maine Campus website, which generated a lot of comment content. A few other web blogs that I didn’t even knew existed somehow found out about the article and snatched it up, which came as a complete surprise.

The next step in generating promotion is petitioning. There is already a petition set up online, and you can access it here. We will be meeting with the Green Team this Thursday, and hope to set up petitions at the fountain on a rotating basis. Not only will this generate awareness, but it will also be a strong element to add to the proposal that will be presented to the administration. There is a lot of force that is put behind a student project when there is a multitude of student interest. In addition to the petition signing, there will also be fliers available, and there will be some put around campus. This is only to generate initial awareness; a more creative and unconventional form of advertising is still in the works.

And that is all! I know it’s a big jump from my last lonely entries, but this is a solid concept to work around, and there are so many people interested in helping. Since there is already and will be more development, you will find this blog updated more frequently. Let’s get this show on the road!

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