As the Garden Liaison and part of the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Internship Program, Chelsey conducted a year-long assessment of the PICA program by holding focus groups with PICA residents, PICA alumni, campus gardeners, and student leaders in order to determine areas of strengths/improvements, as well as potential avenues for future collaborations. This project created a synergy that aided in securing a staff position for PICA during the 2014 – 2015 school year. The assessment illustrated that PICA has been successful at teaching students professional skills, providing opportunities for residents to learn to cook for a crowd using plant-based ingredients, offering consistent skill-sharing through garden workday groups, and creating a sense of community that one may not find in the traditional dorm setting. In addition, PICA has a rich alumni legacy that encompasses communal houses with gardens off-campus, which includes the well-known “Food Not Lawns” house on Laurel Street.
Throughout her internship Chelsey aided with program outreach and communication through her participation in the Office of Physical Education, Recreation, and Sports’ (OPERS) Fall Festival, the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems’ (CASFS) Harvest Festival, Strawberry and Justice Festival, Stevenson College’s Healthy World Healthy You event, Practical Activism Conference, Campus Gardens’ Food Systems Learning Journey, Farm Fridays, Winter Inter-Organizational Sustainability Retreat planning committee, Meet the CUIPs, Earth Summit, and Earth Week. Chelsey also maintained social media sites, coordinated a website migration, collaborated on event planning with other campus organizations, managed list serves, hosted the Student Gardens Market Cart, coordinated grant writing proposals that raised $20,593 (Carbon Fund, Campus Sustainability Council, and Measure 43), facilitated groups during garden workdays, and advocated for campus gardens and sustainability via the Measure 57: Gardens, Resources, Opportunities, and Waste management (GROW) campaign.