Community Gardening Project Helps Libraries Give Back

New things are blooming outside Cooper Library! On Thursday May 27th, library employees traded search engines for shovels to plant flowers and plants in the bare roundabout near the Watt Center. Dean Cox initiated the project as a way for employees to get together outside and do something meaningful in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Clemson Libraries employees are always looking for fun activities they can do together and being engaged with the campus community is also a priority. We did a similar community gardening project when I was at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, so this seemed like a win-win for everyone,” says Dean Cox.

Tommy Fallaw, the landscaping director of University Facilities, worked with Emily Preston, the staff horticulturalist, to coordinate gardening logistics. Members of Clemson Libraries’ staff took time out of their day to work with Facilities staff for the betterment of Clemson’s campus. “I was extremely excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Emily Preston (Landscaping Service’s Staff Horticulturalist) to improve the area. The Core Campus Landscape Crew prepped the area for planting by adding compost that was created by the Campus Recycling Department at Cherry Crossing Research Center. All in all, the finished product turned out fabulous and I want to thank Dean Cox for being the catalyst to make this project a reality,” says Tommy Fallaw, University Facilities landscaping director.

Lots of work went into planning what types of plants and flowers were going to be added to the garden to give it the rejuvenation it needed. According to Emily Preston, “The plants for the project came from a local nursery, Head Lee Nursery, in Walhalla, SC. I wanted to have as much color in the bad as possible with multi-season interest. I’m always looking for the opportunity to add color to campus and was excited to take part in this project!”

Though it was a very hot day, the volunteers worked cheerfully and were happy to spend some time outside during their workday to give back to Clemson. “I enjoyed the opportunity to work with my colleagues on a project that further enhances the beauty of the Clemson University campus. Someone said that day that many hands make for light work and it was certainly true. We all did a little to create something big that will have a lasting impact. I hope this project motivates others across campus to find their own ways to make a positive impact in our community,” says Kellie Marlatt, Administrative Coordinator with Clemson Libraries. We would also like to give a special shoutout and thank you to all of the staff members of Clemson Libraries who volunteered in the gardening project: Anne Grant, Chris Cox, Tara Woods, Teri Alexander, Megan Sheffield; Mark Albertson, and Karsyn VanDeventer.

This project was a great way to get people together since the COVID-19 pandemic upturned social activities, and we look forward to doing more community projects and gatherings like this in the near future. Don’t forget to check out the finished product when you go by Cooper Library and see the work that paid off!