Open Access Honors Program Thesis
Disa Cornish, Honors Thesis Advisor
Community gardens--Iowa--Cedar Falls; University of Northern Iowa--Freshmen; Experiential learning--Iowa--Cedar Falls;
The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) Panther Plot is an on-campus garden originally designed to provide university students with the opportunity to learn practical gardening skills and apply educational concepts concerning sustainable food systems (Aquilani, 2013). When implemented in 2013, the garden was expected to foster relationships and connections throughout the UNI community and offer a diverse learning experience in the pursuit of academic and civic excellence (Aquilani, 2013). Due to resource constraints, no activities have been undertaken to track objectives/indicators associated with the Panther Plot goals. After speaking with students, staff, and faculty associated with the functioning of the Panther Plot, it is clear that these goals are not being evaluated, and it is unlikely that they have been met since the garden’s implementation.
Through the development of a new, multi-component health education program and associated evaluation materials, we can increase student awareness and use of the Panther Plot. Beginning Fall 2018, UNI Student Wellness Services will partner with First-Year Cornerstone in an effort to a) educate students regarding the importance of local foods, gardening, and food system sustainability; b) increase awareness regarding the opportunities available within the Panther Plot; and c) facilitate engagement in experiential learning through on-campus gardening.
In the implementation of this multi-component program, I will educate First-Year Cornerstone students regarding the importance of local foods, gardening, and food system sustainability (among other topics) via a monthly electronic newsletter distributed by the First-Year Cornerstone professors. I will increase awareness regarding the opportunities available within the Panther Plot via an oral presentation and informational flyers delivered to First-Year Cornerstone students by an executive member of Green Project UNI. Finally, I will facilitate engagement in experiential learning through on-campus gardening and food system sustainability by allowing students to volunteer alongside the Green Project UNI members following their attendance of the oral presentation. The development of this program will increase the educational potential of the Panther Plot and contribute to an environment in which First-Year Cornerstone students are more aware of UNI’s personal efforts to support food system sustainability and on-campus gardening.
Year of Submission
School of Kinesiology, Allied Health, and Human Services
University Honors Designation
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors
1 PDF file (50 pages)
©2018 Lauren Janning
Janning, Lauren, ""Perks and produce of the Panther Plot": A multi-component program to engage UNI first-year Cornerstone students in local foods, gardening, and food system sustainability" (2018). Honors Program Theses. 323.