Two springs ago, Middlebury College students organized a completely student-run conference that they named the Campus Cultivation Conference. People from peer schools came together to share ideas, discuss deep questions, network, and grow in a short but wildly successful day. A contingent of Wellesley Regeneration students came back with their fingers itching for dirt and hearts exploding with excitement, and started planning for the 2012 Campus Cultivation Conference at Wellesley.
With about 20 students representing seven colleges, including Middlebury, Brandeis, Olin, Babson, Tufts, and Bennington, on the appointed day the Observatory where the conference was held bustled with excitement. The day included workshops on vision and asset mapping, a roundtable discussion on the Farm-Campus relationship, meditation in the Greenhouses led by Ji Hyang Padma, the Buddhist chaplain, and a brainstorming session for a regional student farm networking site being built by two students in a Wellesley web design class. It ended with a gloriously huge and heartwarming communal dinner at Instead, the Feminist Co-op.
We’d like to think that the 2012 Campus Cultivation Conference was a successful second generation. Our greatest hope is that it will again take root somewhere, to become a yearly event that gets passed among schools. Like farming, that requires trust and hope. We ate the ripened fruit and threw the seeds to the wind, hoping they’ll be picked up. Will they? Let’s pray for rain.
– Excerpts from Ellen Bechtel’s ’14 article for the Wellesley College Botanic Gardens Friends Newsletter