Stuffed Stomachs + Fat Wallets
By Chiara Phillips
In the words of Ron Finley, “growing your own food is like printing your own money.”
That being said, graduate housing could be riding into a promising future of health and wealth (disregard inflation). After meeting with our stakeholders, Daisy and Addae, we are starting to understand the different avenues in which we could serve the graduate community. Resources such as surveys, focus group discussions and service requests provided valuable insight on the specific needs and wants for improvement within their living situations. With housing and graduate apartments spread throughout the city, many graduates expressed a lack of a sense of community that many undergraduates experience on the hill.
After taking the weekend to mull over their concerns, we decided to meet again on Tuesday to begin generating potential project ideas. Our favorites revolved around community gardens, cooking classes, workshops, compost bins, waste audits with the hopes to not only create that sense of community but also promote sustainable lifestyles for graduate students here at UCLA. We’ve found that there is a similar system already in place at University Village, one of the graduate housing locations, which has over 100 thriving plots. Our team is looking to conduct research on this system in order to duplicate its success with other areas of graduate housing, such as Weyburn, Hilgard, or the mixed-use apartments.
By giving students the ability to get outside, talk to new people and learn how to grow and cook their own food, we’ll be able to provide opportunities that will foster healthy relationships and build a sense of responsibility with the environment. Moving forward, we are planning on conducting more research on other organizations that have already established successful community health systems in order to effectively serve the graduate community.