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.
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.
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.
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.
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].
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.
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!