Linfield students volunteer over spring break

For most college students, spring break entails sleeping until noon, eating junk food, and drinking way too much.

However, there are some among us that used their spring break enthusiasm to better our world. The nine Linfield students enrolled in the Green Outreach Alternative Spring Break program did just that.

By threading sustainability into multiple service projects, from land conservation, to farming, to home building for the poor, participants not only contributed to “green” projects in the area, but to also learned about the mindset and practices of sustainability.

All in all, it was a huge success.

To kick things off, they headed out on Saturday March 22 to work at Westwind, a gorgeous 529-acre wilderness area on the Oregon coast.

They divided into groups with fellow stewards to clear brush, rebuild a deck, fix up hiking trails, and construct a paddleboard shed.

These long days were rewarded by beautiful views, good food, and thoughtful discussions.

“Getting the opportunity to contribute to [Westwind’s preservation] was really powerful,” and provided an “energizing start” to the week of service, according to Program Leader Kaleigh Andsell.

After leaving Westwind, students traveled back to McMinnville and spent a few days volunteering on various projects around the community.

Monday March 24 and Tuesday March 25 were spent working at Walnut City Farm and learning about sustainable agriculture and food systems.

On Wednesday March 26, they helped make the foundations for Habitat for Humanity houses and learned about sustainable building practices.

In their last days, the group brought the “susty” effort to campus.

They conducted a waste stream analysis (sorted garbage) to find out how much recyclable or compostable material was ending up in the trash, finding that over 50 percent of it could have been diverted.

During this time, they also worked in the Linfield Garden.

Duncan Reid, Sustainability Coordinator and Faculty Adviser to the program, said that he was pleasantly surprised by how much they got done.

“The Linfield Garden looks better than it ever has,” Reid said.

With the bimonthly garden work parties, it can only improve. If you’re interested in participating, the next work party will be on April 19.

Looking back, both Reid and Andsell are grateful for the diverse backgrounds and opinions of all participants, and are very appreciative of the collective work ethic.

This excellent combination of people made for a productive and stimulating week of learning, working, and general green outreach merry-making.

Alaire Hughey

Office of Sustainability

The office of Sustainability can be reached at sustainability@linfield.edu