Community Garden brings fresh produce to the community

The inaugural Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, program has allowed community members this summer the opportunity to access fresh grown produce weekly from the Community Garden at Auburn University.

According to Marley Halter, manager of the Community Garden at Auburn University, this first season has included 10 participants with plans to expand the program with more participants next year.

“I am also hoping to expand this program to other specialty/seasonal baskets of fresh produce,” Halter said. “Like a Thanksgiving Basket, Fourth of July Basket, Easter Basket, etc. that will be a one-time pick up with limited availability.”

According to Halter, the CSA program began to further engage the community, make money for the garden and to support their outreach and education programs.

Into its second season, and similar to the CSA program, the Concierge Gardening program fosters relationships between local restaurants and the Community Garden. This summer, the garden has partnered with Lucy’s, a local restaurant, to provide an assortment of produce including carrots, specialty peppers, summer squash and a variety of edible flowers.

“The Concierge Gardening program is such a great new way for us to connect with the public by providing hyper-local and delicious vegetables to their favorite restaurants,” Halter said. “I’ve learned so much about seasonal eating, building a seasonal menu and the importance of supporting our local restaurants.”

Additionally, the Community Garden and any participating restaurants will cross promote one another through social media which is a win-win for both groups, Halter said.

The summer season for both programs began in June and runs through August. The Concierge Gardening program has two additional growing seasons, the fall and spring.

Because the Community Garden is open to local community members, about 90% of the garden is rented plots and produce grown by renters. Produce for the CSA, Concierge Gardening and donation programs are grown by Halter and community garden student workers.

“The Concierge Gardening program pushes myself and the chefs I work with to think outside the box and to figure out where the overlaps are in what we can grow seasonally and what they can use on their menu,” Halter said.

Because of both programs, Halter said she has grown as a gardener and as a garden manager. She is also appreciative of the opportunities that have allowed her to expand community outreach.

“The CSA program has been so much fun because it’s a chance for me to experiment with growing new types of produce I’ve never grown before,” Halter said. “The CSA members get a huge variety of vegetables each week.”

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Student Counseling & Psychological Services internship program becomes APA accredited

American Psychological Association, or APA, accredited internship programs are considered the highest level of oversight an internship can achieve, and Auburn’s Student Counseling & Psychological Services has attained this level of recognition.

As of now, Auburn University’s Student Counseling & Psychological Services internship program is the only accredited university counseling center in Alabama. This accreditation not only helps the university to stand out but attracts more permanent staff interest of those who are investing in taking part of a training program.

With the help of the Auburn University’s Mental Health Task Force and years of planning, the internship program was almost ready to be offered as APA accredited.

“We were accredited on contingency by the time our first intern cohort graduated,” Brandy L. Smith, Student Counseling & Psychological Services assistant director of clinical training, said. “But a program has to have distal data from two graduated cohorts before they can apply for full accreditation.”

Students earning a doctoral degree in psychology and are pursuing a state license as a psychologist require a yearlong internship. The year includes specific seminars, along with hands-on experience to best prepare the interns for the range of tasks as a future psychologist.

Participating in an internship through a university counseling center covers a variety of experiences required for this specific setting. According to Smith, experiences include, but are not limited to, individual counseling, group counseling, emergency coverage, supervision of practicum students, outreach programming and intakes. Also, topics such as eating disorders, group, outreach and diversity are offered as additional optional rotations.

Smith and the Student Counseling & Psychological Services staff also recognizes students may pursue careers outside of a university counseling center. This internship program includes other focuses allowing students to best serve people as a psychologist.

Other focuses include generalist training that fosters personal and professional growth to ensure readiness for increasing independent, ethical functioning in the field of health service psychology; acquisition of sufficient knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to be competent practitioners; a broad understanding of diversity and ability to work within an increasingly diverse world; and active engagement in self-reflection as a means to foster personal and professional development.

One of the benefits of having interns in the office of Student Counseling & Psychological Services is that it allows more people to provide services.

“Having interns allows students access to a wider range of providers,” Smith said. “As well as potential access to providers who represent more diversity and identities and experiences which will hopefully allow us to connect with even more students.”

For more information on Student Counseling & Psychological Services, click here.

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Cox co-authors “College Ready 2021”

Lady Cox, associate vice president for Student Affairs, has co-authored “College Ready 2021: Expert Advice for Parents to Simplify the College Transition.”

Cox joined 13 other family relations professionals from major universities across the United States who also contributed to the book. Each chapter addresses top-of-mind concerns and is written by a university official who works with parents to enhance student success at the collegiate level. 

The chapter written by Cox focuses on helping students stay mentally and physically healthy in college. 

“Mental health is a top concern of college parents, so this chapter provides guidance on how parents can support their students,” Cox said. “Plus, “College Ready 2021” is full of ideas on how to start those tough but essential conversations before drop-off.” 

To access a free downloadable version of the book, click here and apply the promo code “Auburn 2021” at check out. There is a limited number of downloads available. For more information about “College Ready 2021” or to purchase the book, click here

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Mov’in through the summer

While campus life slows down during the summer months, Student Counseling & Psychological Services keeps campus active through the Camp War Eagle Parent Run and Get Mov’in with Moose and Nessie.

This year marks the 24th year Dr. Doug Hankes, director of Student Counseling & Psychological Services, faculty, and staff lead parents in a three-mile scenic run across campus for the Camp War Eagle Parent Run. Highlights on the run include the Memorial Garden, the historic Old Rotation, South Donahue Residence Hall, Plainsman Park, Campus Recreation, the Village Residence Halls and other campus landmarks.

When Hankes returned to his alma mater in 1998, he noticed the Camp War Eagle bus tours and thought, ‘why not try a running tour?’ Unsure of what was to come, Hankes gave it try. Now, the Camp War Eagle Parent Run is a highlight of the freshman orientation program.

“They (parents) really appreciate the idea of seeing the campus in a different way,” Hankes said. “They also always express thanks for the effort to do something unique.”

Each Camp War Eagle session, the run begins at 6 a.m. outside the Melton Student Center at Starbucks. According to Hankes, the average number of runners is around 15-20, but there have been as many as 50. Also joining each run is Eric Smith, director of Health Promotion & Wellness Services.

Through collaboration with Health Promotion & Wellness Services, First Year Experience and Parent & Family Programs, Hankes has contributed to the unique and unforgettable experience Camp War Eagle brings to students and families. 

Throughout the summer months, students, faculty and staff also have the opportunity to move about campus through Get Mov’in with Moose and Nessie, another outreach program of Student Counseling & Psychological Services. The three-mile walk around campus with therapy dogs Moose, a 13-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever, and Nessie, a 6-year-old black Labrador Retriever and German Wire-Haired Pointer cross, on Mondays at 7 a.m.

Both dogs are on their second careers after retiring from being detection dogs for the university’s Canine Performance Sciences program.

The weekly walks provide positive physical and mental activity for attendees.

“There is extensive research that links exercise to positive mental health,” Hankes said. “It specifically is effective for anxiety and depression-like symptoms.”

Get Mo’vin with Moose and Nessie takes place throughout the academic year for those who want to take part. When asked why someone should participate, Hankes said, “You get to walk on a beautiful campus with beautiful dogs. What’s not to like? Conversations are different and more relaxed when you’re moving your body.”

To learn more about these outreach programs and Student Counseling & Psychological Services, visit this website.

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2021 Greek Sing raises over $92,000 for Lee County’s Habitat for Humanity

Greek Life’s Panhellenic Council hosted its annual Greek Sing event that raises funds for Lee County’s Habitat for Humanity, and this year $92,285.60 was raised. Greek Sing is a choreographed dance competition that brings together all 18 Panhellenic sororities and takes place each spring at Auburn Arena. Prior to the annual event, Panhellenic sororities fundraise and participate in habitat build days.

Fundraising efforts include selling T-shirts, attending benefit nights at local restaurants, selling event tickets and through online fundraising. The habitat build days allow hands-on experience for Panhellenic sorority members as they help build homes for community members.

While Auburn Arena was not filled with entire chapters, alumni, students and families this year due to COVID-19 guidelines, there were 1,000 audience members in attendance. With reduced capacity in place, the Greek Life office ensured those that were unable to attend in person would still be able to enjoy Greek Sing by offering a live stream of the event.

According to Greek Life Coordinator Lindsay Holdren, there were 982 live stream viewers, with many chapters hosting watch parties in their chapter rooms.

Even though Greek Sing looked different, which included masked performances and extra sanitization protocols, the Greek Life office made a successful event possible.

“Greek Life takes pride in being able to offer vibrant, exciting and engaging student events throughout the year,” Holdren said. “Being able to host events, such as Greek Sing, remind our office of our commitment to enhance the student experience.”

The 2021 Greek Sing winners are listed below:

First Place: Alpha Chi Omega

Second Place: Alpha Omicron Pi

Third Place: Chi Omega

Fourth Place: Alpha Gamma Delta

Fifth Place: Alpha Delta Pi

Learn more about Greek Life by visiting this website.

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Student Affairs employees recognized for years of service to Auburn University

Student Affairs recognized 23 employees for their years of service to Auburn University on Thursday, May 20, in the Melton Student Center Ballroom. There were 12 employees with five years of service, 7 employees with 10 years of service, two employees with 15 years of service, one employee with 20 years of service and one employee with 30 years of service.

Employees recognized for five years of service include William Ferris, Katherine Lenkner, Britain Bowen, Joshua Story, L Moore, Amy Shugart, Scott Dirksen, Matthew Sinclair, Justin Choron, Kevin Hoult, Robert Webb and William Walker.

Employees recognized for 10 years of service include Terrell Smith, Amy Mosley, Priscilla Little, Philip Harper, Lady Cox, Eric Smith and Kristee Treadwell.

Employees recognized for 15 years of service include Mindy Bowen and Melissa Stillwell.

Melissa Dunn was recognized for 20 years of service.

Carl Ross was recognized for 30 years of service.

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Auburn’s Property Management gives back to the community for over 30 years

Over 30 years ago, Property Management Director David Maddox saw the need to provide an outlet for the amount of waste being collected during on-campus move out. Maddox decided to partner with local organizations to create Check-Out for Charity, an initiative that gives Auburn students moving out of on-campus residence halls the opportunity to donate any unwanted items.

As the spring semester comes to an end, Property Management sets up donation tents, trucks, bins and boxes throughout campus residence halls for students to easily drop off items. Donatable items include furniture, clothing, rugs, non-perishable foods, mirrors and electronics.

Property Management has partnered with community organizations such as the Food Bank of East Alabama and The Campus Kitchen at Auburn University to donate food items, Big House Foundation for clothing items and Habitat for Humanity for household items.

According to Amy Mosley, office supervisor and overseer of Check-Out for Charity, donations for this year’s event included 25 large boxes of clothing, approximately 30 box trucks with loads of household items and an estimated 2,000 pounds of food.

Not only are students and their families working hard to move out, but the Property Management staff stays busy collecting donations. According to Mosley, she and Katie Lenker, administrative assistant, collectively walked a total of 136.9 miles and worked 197.25 hours during the move out process.

“We are grateful to facilitate the opportunity for the students to give back to the community and the impact of our charity partners,” Mosley said.

Check-Out for Charity will take place again starting on the last day of class in spring semester 2022.

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In Memoriam: Maddie McClendon

Auburn University will remember student Maddie McClendon, beginning Thursday, May 13.

A memorial flag will fly in front of Samford Hall on May 13. The flag will then be displayed, along with a memorial certificate, in the Melton Student Center beginning May 14.

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Special Spotlight: Late Night Food Truck Program

Auburn students had the opportunity to spend their campus dining dollars in a new way this spring through a test-run of the Late Night Food Truck program, which was developed by Auburn’s Student Government Association, or SGA, and Campus Dining.

“For continuous weekends, students realized how long many lines were for the few restaurants that were open in the later hours,” Michael S. Thomas Jr., SGA executive vice president of initiatives, said. “Along with that, many students spoke about how they wished that they could use Tiger Card money during the weekend, and it was a large conversational topic easily spoken about on campus.”

SGA brought the opinions of Auburn students to Tiger Dining and from there it was figuring out logistics and making sure the safety of students was a top priority. The late-night program utilizes similar operations that students are used to throughout their day on campus. Additionally, the W. Magnolia location is close to an Emergency Blue Light and the Lyft Ride Share program is still available for students.

The test program ran for three weekends in the month of April and was open to all on-campus food trucks. Across the three weekends, food trucks saw an average of around 100 transactions per night, with the busiest night being 150 transactions, according to John Holloman, director of operations for Aramark.

“We have received a lot of positive feedback from students on the program and have made some alignment adjustments in an effort to make the program sustainable for long term execution,” Holloman said.

Heading into the summer semester, another test run will take place Thursday, May 20-Saturday, May 22. Engagement during that time will determine if the program continues through the remainder of the summer, or if the program will begin planning for a fall return.

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Auburn Cares: Daily embodying the Auburn Creed

Students often experience hardships, both academically and personally, during their collegiate career. Through the work happening at Auburn Cares, students are provided support, assistance and resources allowing them to successfully navigate these times.

Auburn Cares helps students find campus and community resources, supports students with mental health matters and connects them with mental health providers. The office also supports students during times of sickness, injury or financial difficulties, and works with students to solve problems and help with crisis management.

Auburn Cares, previously titled Student Advocacy & Case Management, was created in 2011 to support students struggling with complex issues that could not be addressed by one single office on campus, according to Katherine Hettinger, manager of Auburn Cares.

“Our office works directly with students, parents, faculty and staff to support students struggling with a variety of issues, ranging from academic concerns to medical and mental health emergencies,” Hettinger said. “We help students identify resources, problem-solve solutions, set goals and advocate for themselves.”

The Auburn Cares office also oversees the Campus Food Pantry, which assists students who are struggling with food insecurity, and handles the medical withdrawal process for the entire campus.

“The Auburn Cares office is so important because it serves as the centralized reporting office on campus for students of concern or those who are struggling,” Hettinger said. “Our goal is always the safety and well-being of the student.”

Daily, Auburn Cares embodies the line of the Auburn Creed which states, “I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all.”

Hettinger and her staff reflect the human touch day in and day out as students and parents call to ask questions, talk through options and learn about resources. Additionally, Auburn Cares offers support and assistance to families when an Auburn University student passes away.

When an incident of a student death occurs, Auburn Cares reaches out to the families to offer condolences, provide support and handle all of their affairs on campus.

Annually, since 2012, Auburn Cares has conducted the Student Memorial Ceremony where the families of these students can return to campus to honor their loved one and reflect on the impact they had at Auburn University.

“It is the time when we honor their student, sit with them in grief and share hugs and tears,” Hettinger said. “It is the time when we literally and figuratively provide the human touch to these families.”

The Student Memorial Ceremony is held in the Memorial Garden and is hosted by Senior Vice President for Student Affairs, Bobby R. Woodard. During the ceremony, there are readings and remarks by student leaders and a flower ceremony that involves family participation.

This year, an in-person and virtual Student Memorial Ceremony was held on Sunday, April 25, and students remembered were Maxwell Fink, Jack Kennedy, Peter Smith and Carter Wilson.

To learn more about Auburn Cares and its resources, visit this website.

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