Former PSO Student Scholar helps design solar-powered picnic table

Writer: Andrew Lentini

University of Georgia students, faculty and staff are now able to power up their electronic devices without attaching to the grid by connecting to a new solar-powered charging station near Herty Field.

This pilot energy conservation program is a first offered by a university in Georgia. The station has eight USB ports and four standard plugins and can support up to 75-150 hand-held mobile device charges per day—even on overcast days.

The ConnecTable solar charging station uses renewable solar energy and it features a 530-watt solar array and a 225 amp hour gel cell battery. The off-grid design offers year-round charging power without tapping into the university’s electrical supply.

Brian Holcombe, a senior majoring in anthropology, wanted to help solve the ever-growing problem of finding electrical outlets to charge mobile devices and laptops in public areas, and he wanted to meet that need through renewable solar energy. With help from the UGA Campus Sustainability Grants program administered by the Office of Sustainability, Holcombe worked with the Facilities Management Division Grounds Department and the Office of Sustainability to set up the charging station.

“I’m hopeful that students will enjoy using the station,” Holcombe said. “And that it might encourage them to think more about their own energy usage and personal choices, especially in terms of individual impact on climate change … we all should be thinking about our personal energy consumption and understanding that our consumptive decisions have local and global effects.”

Holcombe said he hopes that UGA will consider expanding to multiple stations across campus. “That’s the most rewarding part of this process for me-to have played a part in helping develop solar power at UGA especially in a highly visible and interactive way.”

For more information on the UGA Office of Sustainability, see

Originally published:

Institute of Government facilitates exchange program between Athens and Seoul

Building on the University of Georgia’s longstanding foreign outreach mission, the Carl Vinson Institute of Government brought together the leaders of two university communities this summer to inaugurate an new international economic and educational exchange program.

The institute’s International Center helped arrange a six-year exchange agreement between the Athens–Clarke County government and a district in South Korea’s capital of Seoul. Athens–Clarke County Mayor Nancy Denson and Seodaemun District Mayor Seok-Jin Mun signed the compact during a ceremony in Athens City Hall. Mun is the chief executive of Seodaemun, one of 25 districts in Seoul and home to nine universities.

“I am delighted to be part of the beginning of cooperation and friendship with Athens, and I’ll spare no effort in supporting future exchanges. I am hopeful that mutual exchanges will lead to economic growth and prosperity for both communities,” he said.

The memorandum of understanding calls for the two governments to explore international cultural, educational, and economic exchanges through at least 2021.

Denson said she looks forward to developing a fruitful and substantive relationship with Korean leaders.

“I am confident that through the signing of this MOU we can begin efforts to develop even stronger relationships and friendships between the people of Athens and Seodaemun,” Denson said.

The agreement states that Athens and Seodaemun leaders will cooperate in sharing information, knowledge and resources to promote economic and entrepreneurial activities between the two governments.

Mun led a three-member delegation from Seodaemun. During the visit, Mun and two aides also met with UGA President Jere W. Morehead and UGA Vice President for Public Service and Outreach Jennifer Frum, visited the Athens Community Career Academy for talks with Clarke County Schools Superintendent Philip D. Lanoue, and toured cultural, recreational and educational facilities managed by the Athens-Clarke County government. In addition, the delegation attended a presentation on town-gown economic development collaborations moderated by Institute Director Laura Meadows.

“We look forward to working with Mayor Mun and Mayor Denson as they forge a new friendship and explore cooperative ways to help both communities share their unique cultural and educational assets,” Meadows said.

The Institute’s International Center provides technical assistance and comprehensive training and development programs that have attracted scholars and government leaders from 30 countries around the globe. The center coordinates educational exchanges with governmental and educational institutions in Korea and China, two of UGA’s major Asian partners, including the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Governors Association of Korea. The center regularly arranges UGA research appointments with visiting scholars who audit university classes, attend seminars and conduct research.

School children give back to Marine Extension

The fifth-graders at St. Martin’s Episcopal School are proof that you don’t have to be grown up to make a huge impact.

Since 2011, students at the Atlanta school have donated $4,473.75 to UGA Marine Education Center and Aquarium. A check for the school’s most recent donation of $1,000 was presented last spring during the annual fifth-grade trip to to Skidaway Island.

“You have given so much to us and our fifth-graders, that we really wanted to give back,” said Mary McPherson, elementary school principal at St. Martin’s.

The students raised the money at a bake sale, part of St. Martin’s annual Cookie Company project, an interdisciplinary unit in which fifth-graders work in small teams to form cookie companies. The students learn about advertising, website development, budgets, and they sharpen their math skills through calculating for large-batch baking. All of this takes place over 10 days, culminating with a school-wide bake sale.

“It lets our students see where their money is going,” McPherson said, “which is an important part of our service-learning development.”

Over the years, the donations have been used to purchase a variety of items for UGA Aquarium, including a 15-person life raft, life jackets; life rings; a marine-grade hot water heater and refrigerator for the R/V Sea Dawg; a VHF marine radio; a GPS Chart Plotter; and several anchors.

“The students are very generous and proud to be able to help UGA’s educational efforts,” said John “Crawfish” Crawford, a marine education specialist and boat captain at UGA Aquarium. “They are appreciative, very interested, polite and a real pleasure to teach.”

New service-learning course connects students with families dealing with dementia

Marissa Jones holds up a flash card featuring a U.S. president.

“Do you recognize him?”

“Do you know his name?” she asks when he doesn’t respond.

Leo Jackson, a senior citizen with dementia, sits on the couch in his Athens home and stares at the photo.


She gently tells him that the man is President Obama.

Jones, a master’s student in the School of Social Work, then spreads out several cards she made with photos of singers and their bios. Jones and classmate Mellissa Pricher ask Jackson to select a favorite singer.

He chooses James Brown and Jones begins playing his songs from her iPhone, which triggers smiles and chuckles from Jackson.

“If you’re creative with activities, it can bring back memories,” Jones says.

Jones and Pricher are social work students in a new service-learning class that teaches students about the impacts of dementia on a family. Each week, the students visit with Jones, engaging him in activities, and giving his family—his caregivers—some much needed time for themselves.

Tiffany Washington, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work, created the course primarily for students majoring in social work or public health and have an interest in gerontology. She partnered with the Athens Community Council on Aging who provided the students’ training and identified the families who are enrolled in the program.

“It’s so meaningful to me for so many reasons,” Washington said. “We’re helping families. We are addressing the issue of caregiver burden, caregiver stress and recognize that caregivers give around-the-clock care. I always talk about empathy as the most important skill we can have as practitioners. This is very much an empathy-building course.”

The course is the first service-learning project for the Council that has enabled UGA students to work unsupervised at clients’ homes, said Eve Anthony, ACCA chief operating officer.

“We want to make sure that we are a good learning environment so that we’re creating a second generation of professionals who are interested in working with the aging population, or who at least understand issues related to the aging population,” Anthony said. “Service learning is creating that.”

Dementia is a syndrome in which there is a deterioration in memory, thinking behavior and the ability to perform everyday activities. Worldwide 47.5 million people suffer from dementia. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the total number of people with dementia will rise to 75.6 million by 2030.

The students get ideas for activities from the people who are caring for the person with dementia. Suggestions have included listening to music or setting the table for dinner, things that can help the person relate to an earlier time in their life. Caregivers use the 90-minute respite provided by the students to take naps or do activities such as cleaning or gardening.

Jackson’s wife, Artelia, says listening to music and looking at pictures and words holds his attention and elicits responses.

“What they’re doing with him is a new activity,” she says. “When they are here with him, he smiles.”

Jackson connects a square puzzle piece showing a brown hat to the “hat” word piece.

“You got it. You did it,” Pricher says.

“Do you have any hats?” Jones says.

“I have a bunch of them,” Jackson says, laughing.

As the visit ends, Jackson takes a card of Ray Charles, folds it up neatly and puts it in his pocket. Pricher takes photos to document the moment, considered another break-through in their visits.

“Having this opportunity to learn and possibly explore and see if we want to work with this population, for me, it’s great,” Jones says. “Had I not taken this class I don’t know if I would have come into contact with them. I’m able to learn first hand.”

The Pulaski Archway Partnership visits campus with its youth leadership program

The basketball courts at the Ramsey Student Recreation Center turned into a championship arena in July when 50 teenagers from the Pulaski LIFE League came to the University of Georgia to play the final games of their season.

But the trip—the second annual visit to UGA by the Pulaski LIFE Leaguers—was about more than a game. It was the capstone event for these elementary, middle and high school students, who spent five weeks this summer learning about good sportsmanship, appropriate behavior, making the right decisions, setting goals, managing money and dressing for success.

Rising 10th-grader Ga’quan Watkins earned $500, which he will receive when he begins college in three years, by completing a series of tasks demonstrating the life lessons taught through LIFE League, which means Leading and Inspiring through Fellowship and Education.

“I learned a lot about preparing myself for the ‘big’ world,” said Ga’quan, who is planning to major in animal science at Fort Valley State University.

The Pulaski LIFE League began three years ago when Jeff Tarver, its founder and director, reached out to the Archway Partnership in Pulaski County. Through the Archway Partnership, a unit of the UGA Office of Public Service and Outreach, communities in Georgia are connected with university resources that can help them address their most pressing challenges. There are currently eight active Archway Partnership counties.

Tarver, a former juvenile probation officer who now teaches criminal justice studies at Middle Georgia State, saw the need for a program that would engage students and help them build life skills for success.

“Jeff, along with fellow Pulaski Tomorrow participants Tyler Jenkins and Nevin Shennett, wanted to reach young people before they get into trouble and LIFE League grew out of that idea,” said Michelle Elliott, the Archway professional from UGA in Pulaski County.

What began as five Saturdays spent learning life lessons followed by lunch and basketball for Pulaski County youngsters has grown exponentially, morphing into summer camps that reach hundreds of children in Pulaski and neighboring counties.

This summer, more than 200 children ages 5-18 from Pulaski, Bibb, Houston, Twiggs and Bleckley counties participated in camps. While basketball is still a major draw, programming has expanded to include an interpretative arts camp in Bibb County and a drumming group in Hawkinsville.

Community support for the program has been strong. This year, instead of riding in an un-air conditioned school bus, the students traveled to and from Athens in a chartered bus paid for by Charles Johnson, a Hawkinsville native, UGA alumnus and current member of the Carolina Panthers NFL team.

The Archway Partnership has been instrumental in bringing many of the campers to UGA for a chance to experience life as a Bulldog. During the LIFE League visit in July, representatives of the president, admissions and the Office of Institutional Diversity met with the students. They ate lunch in a campus dining hall and toured the Ramsey Center.

A highlight of the day was the arrival of UGA basketball players Yante Maten and Kenny Geno, who assisted in presenting awards following the games. They also shared their personal experiences.

“When I was a kid, I was always picked last for basketball,” said Maten, a sophomore from Pontiac, Mich. “But then, I started making sure I was always in the gym more than anyone else and I became much better.”

Geno, a junior from Booneville, Miss., noted that even as a college player he has had to re-focus. “I used to struggle, not just as a player, but as a person. I hadn’t worked hard enough for the past two years, but now I’m in the gym for an extra hour-and-a-half every day just shooting and improving so I can contribute better as a player.”

While all of the campers received medals for their basketball prowess, Tarver had prizes for those who had met the other camp requirements. He also had a special award for Tyneshia Edwards, a former LIFE Leaguer who served as a coach this summer, for earning a 4.0 grade point average at Central Georgia Technical College.

Throughout the day, Tarver made sure the focus didn’t drift from the true goal of LIFE League.

“This organization is about more than basketball,” Tarver told the students. “It’s about life. I want you to think big. Don’t be mediocre. Think big.”

EcoScapes to celebrate National Pollinator Week with garden program in Brunswick

The EcoScapes Sustainable Landscaping program at the University of Georgia Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, units of UGA Office of Public Service and Outreach, will celebrate National Pollinator Week this month in coastal Georgia. The EcoScapes program and its partners will host an educational kickoff event from 9 a.m.-noon, June 18, in the native plant demonstration garden of UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant’s Brunswick Station at 715 Bay Street.

National Pollinator Week is a celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, beetles, bats and other animals. The pollination work of bees accounts for more than $15 billion in added crop value every year in our country, particularly for specialty crops such as almonds and other nuts, berries, fruits and vegetables.

However, scientific research reports that some native bees, butterflies, and European honeybees are in decline due to pesticides, parasites, habitat loss and other factors, said Keren Giovengo, EcoScapes program manager.

“Pollinators are critical both to the environment and to human health,” Giovengo said. “They transfer pollen between flowers, ensuring the growth of seeds and fruits. The work of pollinators touches our lives every day through the food we eat. In the United States, approximately one out of every three bites of food you eat and beverages you drink depends on the work of a pollinating animal.”

The event will include tours of the station’s pollinator habitat garden and other native plant gardens. At 11 a.m., there will be an EcoScapes presentation on pollinator protection and native plant pollinator-friendly landscaping. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) and the EcoScapes program will be providing native pollinator and wildlife information.

Glynn County Farm Bureau’s Beekeepers’ Committee will have a honeybee hive, honey tasting, and beekeeping demonstrations. Keep Brunswick-Golden Isles Beautiful, USFWS and EcoScapes will provide children’s activities.

“Our event is all about celebrating pollinators and educating folks on the importance and need to protect these invaluable animals,” said Giovengo. “This event will be an excellent opportunity to learn about pollinators, explore the garden, watch pollinators in action and observe many of the native plants that local pollinators depend upon.”

The EcoScapes Sustainable Landscaping Program
The EcoScapes Sustainable Landscaping Program engages Georgians in sustainable land use practices that help preserve and protect healthy ecosystems. For more information, see

UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant
The University of Georgia Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant are a state and federal partnership dedicated to conducting research, education and outreach to enhance coastal environmental, social and economic sustainability. As units of the Office of Public Service and Outreach at UGA, they help improve public resource policy, encourage far-sighted economic and fisheries decisions, anticipate vulnerabilities to change and educate citizens to be wise stewards of the coastal environment. Georgia Sea Grant is one of 33 Sea Grant programs throughout the country housed under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. For more information, see or

Photo Caption: The miner bee is one of many pollinators that will be seen in action at the pollinator week event on June 18 in Brunswick.

Writer: Michele Johnson, 912-264-7319,
Contact: Keren Giovengo, 912-280-1586,

Archway Partnership utilizes Institute of Government resources for communities

The University of Georgia Archway Partnership has worked closely in recent months with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government to provide assistance in five Archway communities across Georgia.

Training was held in Metter for local Downtown Development Authority Boards from Candler and Washington counties. Additional training is in the works for Grady County DDA members. The Institute of Government also facilitated sessions for the newly formed Charter System School Based Governance Team in Candler County. Both the DDA and charter trainings focused on compliance with the Georgia Open Meetings and Open Records Act as well as mission-specific items.

The Habersham Archway Partnership has utilized resources of the Institute of Government for two projects: a water study and Habersham Archway Economic Development Council (EDC) Work Group. The water study is being conducted by CVIOG faculty Harry Hayes and Scott Pippin. The two have conducted community interviews with county officials, community members and staff from each of the seven municipalities in Habersham. The data collected will be assembled into a report for presentation in early fall 2015. The community anticipates the report will provide much needed information related to economic development and planning initiatives. The EDC Work Group will hold its fourth meeting on Wednesday May 13 in Clarkesville and be facilitated by institute faculty members Gordon Maner and Jennifer Nelson. These faculty members will facilitate discussion for the group on possible funding sources for a new EDC, as well as the roles of the new organization related to the various local entities hoping to be involved once the EDC is established.

The Sumter Archway Partnership has collaborated with Danny Bivins of the Institute of Government to assist in the Downtown Renaissance Strategic Vision Plan for Americus. This is a civic engagement process for the revitalization of the city. Three areas were identified for a feasibility study for future development (Jackson Street, Cotton Avenue and the upper parking area behind Rylander Park). Participants are using the Main Street model and creating action items to launch this initiative early in summer 2015.

Clarke County 5th graders participate in youth leadership trip to Skidaway Island

Barrow C. Elementary School fifth graders ended the year with a trip to the Marine Extension Education Center on Skidaway Island.

David Meyers and Brendan Leahy, faculty members at the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership, accompanied the students. In addition to learning about marine biology, the youth practiced leadership skills that had been a focus throughout the year. The leadership session focused on effective communication, problem solving, and conflict resolution. Approximately 60 youth participated in the end of year trip.

Regional leadership forum focuses on collaboration and generational differences

Augusta-area leaders gathered at the Columbia County Exhibition Center in Grovetown on May 4 for their annual regional leadership forum. This year’s focus was on collaboration, generational differences and how both relate to leadership.

The one-day event was facilitated by Jenny Jordan and Emily Boness, faculty members at the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development.

More than 90 representatives from five community leadership programs attended including programs in McDuffie County, Lincoln County, Columbia County, Augusta, and Aiken County, South Carolina. Participants explored their roles as leaders in building networks and fostering collaboration to improve the region. Additionally, they explored the challenges that emerge when working with others with different perspectives, particularly through the lens of different generations.

State Botanical Garden of Georgia celebrates National Pollinator Week with pollinator webinar and walk

Writer/Contact: Linda Chafin, 706-542-6448,

Athens, Ga. – The State Botanical Garden of Georgia, a public service and outreach unit of the University of Georgia, will celebrate National Pollinator Week, which is June 15-21, with a webinar on June 9 from 1-2 p.m. in the garden’s administration building auditorium followed by an hourlong walk through the Pollinator Garden led by botanical garden naturalists. Both events are free and open to the public.

The webinar will feature pollinator expert Stephen Buchmann, an entomologist and adjunct scientist at the University of Arizona and international director for the Pollinator Partnership, an organization dedicated exclusively to the protection of pollinators and their ecosystems. Buchmann’s presentation will explore the complex relationships between plants and pollinators and discuss the global threats to pollinator health.

Providing pollinator habitat has been a focus of the botanical garden for years. “The Flower Garden was created seven years ago to be a pollinator garden,” said Shelly Prescott, director of horticulture at the State Botanical Garden. “The Bee Pasture especially provides year-round forage for bees. But really, all of the botanical garden is focused on increasing pollinator habitat and the number of pollinators.”

Pollinator Week was started eight years ago and has since grown into an international celebration of the importance of pollinators. Without pollinators, 30 percent of food crops would disappear, including many of the fruits and vegetables popular in the U.S. Pollinators support the plants that clean the air, stabilize soils, buffer severe weather events and support other wildlife.

In his annual Proclamation of National Pollinator Week, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack states that pollinators “are essential partners of farmers and ranchers in producing much of our food supply” and “provide significant environmental benefits for healthy, diverse ecosystems.”

For more information or to register for the events, see

Institute of Government selected to deliver major training program for DeKalb County leaders

DeKalb County has engaged the Carl Vinson Institute of Government to provide extensive supervisory and management training for more than 1,000 government personnel, starting this spring and continuing for up to five years. The program will offer management training for up to 1,000 front-line supervisors in 27 two-day sessions. Through a related project, the institute will provide “Emerging Executives” training for managers seeking to advance to executive-level positions and a “Bright Futures” program to enhance the skills of aspiring managers.

Forest Service engages Institute of Government to find methods for identifying “heir properties”

The Carl Vinson Institute of Government’s Planning and Environmental Services unit received funding from the U.S. Forest Service to explore ways to identify “heir properties” — tracts of land that lack clear legal title. Heir properties frequently arise when a property owner dies without a will. Identifying heir properties aids Forest Service management practices and benefits local government by improving enforcement of local health and safety codes and increasing property tax collections. Property owners benefit from obtaining clear legal title because it allows them to leverage their equity to make improvements or other investments and enables them to access a wide variety of state and federal land assistance programs. Faculty members Scott Pippin and Shana Jones, working with GIS specialist Jimmy Nolan of the institute’s Information Technology Outreach Services Division, are using computer-assisted mass appraisal data and other metrics to identify and map probable heir properties.

Fifth-graders raise more than $3,000 for UGA Aquarium

Since 2011, fifth-graders from St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Atlanta have donated more than $3,000 to UGA Marine Education Center and Aquarium. The most recent donation of $1,000 was presented in April during the annual fifth-grade overnight field trip to UGA Aquarium. The money was raised through the school’s annual Cookie Company project, part of an interdisciplinary unit in which fifth-graders work in small teams to form cookie companies. They learn about advertising, website development, budgets, and they sharpen their math skills through calculating for large-batch baking. All of this takes place over 10 days, culminating with a school-wide bake sale. Over the years, UGA Aquarium has used the donations to purchase a variety of items, including a 15-person life raft, life jackets; life rings; a marine-grade hot water heater and refrigerator for the RV Sea Dawg; a VHF marine radio; a GPS Chart Plotter; and several anchors.

Record number of Service-Learning Fellows selected for 2015-16

Nineteen faculty members selected as Service-Learning Fellows for 2015-16 attended a day-long retreat at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia to learn about service-learning best practices, meet campus leaders and past fellows, and to share their plans for creating or extending service-learning in their departments and units. These faculty members will meet monthly as two cohort groups beginning in August to further explore course development and relevant topics. After a record number of applications this year, additional funding was provided by the vice president for instruction and vice president for public service and outreach to select more fellows, now twice as many as in last year’s program. Many of their proposed projects will result in new service-learning courses that can be used to fulfill UGA’s new experiential learning requirement.


The 2015-16 Service-Learning Fellows are:

Lisa Bazzle, small animal medicine and surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine;

Abigail Borron, agricultural leadership, education and communication, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences;

Peggy Brickman, plant biology, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences;

Scott Connelly, Odum School of Ecology;

Cheryl Fields-Smith, educational theory and practice, College of Education;

Laurie Fowler, Odum School of Ecology/School of Law;

Leslie Gordon, Office of Academic Planning/Romance Languages;

Katie Darby Hein, health promotion and behavior, College of Public Health;

Meg Easom Hines, educational psychology, gifted and creative education, College of Education;

Alice H. Kinman, economics, Terry College of Business;

Theodore J. Kopcha, career and information studies, College of Education;

Juan Meng, public relations, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication;

Bodie Pennisi, horticulture, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences-Griffin Campus;

Nancee Reeves, English, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences;

Jerry Shannon, geography/College of Family and Consumer Science;

Jennifer Jo Thompson, crop and soil sciences, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences;

Susanne Ullrich, physics and astronomy, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences;

Brandy B. Walker, J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, Public Service and Outreach;

Elizabeth Watts Warren, sociology, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.


Sunflower Concert Series returns to State Botanical Garden

Writer: Connie Cottingham,

The State Botanical Garden will host four performances during its Sunflower Concert Series. Held Tuesday evenings in June, July, August and September, these outdoor concerts in the Flower Garden offer an eclectic mix of music.

Tickets are $15, $5 for children ages 6-12. Admission to each concert includes beverages and light snacks. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and picnic dinners. Lawn chairs are allowed on one designated level of the terraced Flower Garden. For information about the concert series or to purchase tickets, visit or the Garden Gift Shop or call 706-542-9353.

The Sunflower Music Series is sponsored by Friends of the Garden, Northeast Sales Distributing Inc., Athens Coca-Cola, Musician’s Warehouse and Flagpole. The concerts and artists performing are:

• June 2: Caroline Aiken with The Twangtown Paramours opening. Aiken is an award-winning folk singer, whose new album, Broken Wings Heal, has just been released. Aiken has performed on NPR’sMountain Stage and has toured with the Indigo Girls. The Twangtown Paramours, who hail from Nashville, bring fine harmony singing and inventive musicianship to the stage.

•July 28: Grassland String Band with Claire Campbell. The Grassland String Band will bring its take on bluegrass/Americana music with special guest Claire Campbell from the acclaimed band Hope For Agoldensummer.

• Aug. 25: Grogus returns for its annual celebration of Latin jazz, traditional Cuban and Caribbean styles and funk versions of jazz standards. The band is a past recipient of the Flagpole Athens Music Award in both the jazz and world music categories.

• Sept. 29: Arvin Scott with Marti Winkler. Drummer/percussionist Scott, an Athens resident who is world renowned as a jazz musician, and his combo will deliver a jazz performance. Jazz singer Winkler will open the show.

In case of inclement weather, the concerts will be held inside the garden’s Visitor Center and Conservatory.

Hundreds of UGA students give back by raising future service dogs

Writer: Kristen Morales,

Vicki has learned to be patient during classes, but so far she’s gotten out of long exams. It’s OK to cut Vicki some slack though. She’s only 10 months old.

This fall, if her work on campus stays on track, she’ll go back to her home in New York to learn to be a full-fledged service dog.

Vicki is one of around 120 puppies—mainly Labradors and golden retrievers, but also some other breeds—that get formative training with students at UGA. Raised by an army of volunteers, many of whom sign up even if they can only watch a dog for a few hours or overnight, the dogs learn basic obedience and get exposed to an array of life situations. When they’re 16 to 18 months old, they begin full training with Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind in Smithtown, New York.

The inevitable departure is bittersweet for Vicki’s raiser, Jana Burchette, a third-year exercise and sport science major. Burchette said she was interested in the program her freshman year, and after doing more research on what was required, she felt inspired by the work the dogs would go on to do.

“Letting her go is going to be really hard; she’s like a child,” Burchette said. “But I want her to do something good for somebody. I want her to be a guide dog.”

UGA is home to the largest group of puppy raisers for the Guide Dog Foundation. The organization mainly has families up and down the East Coast raising puppies, and another group of students at Georgia Southern University, but they pale in comparison to the nearly 250 UGA students who volunteer their time to be puppy raisers.

The program’s roots at UGA started nearly 10 years ago with just one student, said Deana Izzo, the Georgia field representative for the foundation. The idea took off. Today, Izzo said, most of the puppy raisers are students in veterinary science programs, but students from across all colleges take part.

Working with students also has introduced some protocols for puppy raising, both with the foundation and with UGA. The time frame for raising a puppy meshes well with the time a student spends on campus, and students know they will have a dog for a set period of time but not beyond graduation. On the issue of allowing pets in residence halls, it was decided that future guide dogs are allowed. And for long exams or plans to study abroad, “buddy” and “camper” students are available to watch the puppy in the interim. If a student needs some time to study without a puppy, there are dozens of students willing to step in and help.

To be in the foundation’s program, student volunteers—with and without dogs—must attend regular obedience sessions, where they go over basic training and address any issues. Students who volunteer to be campers also must be willing to host a puppy at least twice a month. Izzo said there is a general sense among the volunteers that you have to give help to get help.

“It’s not an easy program. If you were to apply, from application to the day you get your puppy, it’s going to take three months,” Izzo said. “We want to make sure that they are as prepared as we can make them for the commitment that they think they want to do.”

Madison Fellows, a first-year animal health student from Hiram, is starting the training to get her first puppy. She’s already dreading the day the dog will leave, but she also says the experience will help her later in life.

“It’s a really good way to have a dog on campus, but it’s still a huge responsibility,” she said. “I’m going to be a vet, so it’s going to be good for me first to know how to not get too attached to an animal.”

Raising a puppy, Izzo added, also can give students a great sense of accomplishment.

“This is really the first thing they’re doing without mom and dad, and I think that makes much more of an impact,” she said. “And the way that the community rallies around people who raise puppies, even if you’re not a dog lover, it’s still impressive. They’re still going to stop and say, ‘That’s really cool.’ ”

Read more about how UGA impacts communities at

Story originally published in May issue of UGA Columns

UGArden teaches students, feeds families in need

Writer: Maggie Dudacek,

UGArden, a 4-acre, student-run farm, is teaching students about sustainable food while growing produce to feed families in need.

Located on South Milledge Avenue, the farm started out as a garden in 2010 for students of all majors throughout the university to learn about sustainable food. Initially financed by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ horticulture department, UGArden is a tool for instruction, sustainable practices, experimentation and service-learning.

And now land used for sheep and hog farming grows vegetables, fruits, shiitake mushrooms and herbs using organic practices.

“The primary reason UGArden exists is to teach students how to grow fruits, vegetables and herbs organically,” said CAES associate professor David Berle, director of UGArden. “Some come to learn how to garden, others to learn about composting or growing and making herbal teas. Some come just to get outside after being in a class or lab all day and some come to be part of the local food movement.”

More than 50 students visit the farm weekly, and excess food production is donated within the Athens community.

“Seventy-five percent of the produce grown at the UGArden is distributed to families in need in the community, either through the Campus Kitchen program, Clarke Middle School or through the weekly produce stand at the Athens Area Council on Aging,” Berle said.

In 2014 alone, UGA’s Campus Kitchen harvested 2,600 pounds of fresh produce from UGArden to make meals for grandparents raising grandchildren.

Students can volunteer at the garden though designated work events, typically centered on planting and harvesting.

Several courses are taught at UGArden including two freshman seminars and three upper level courses: Organic Agriculture Systems, Sustainable Community Food Production and a UGArden Internship.

The garden holds a weekly produce stand Thursdays from 4:30-6 p.m.

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Article originally published in the May issue of UGA Columns

Campus Kitchen hosts national Food Waste and Hunger Summit

Campus Kitchen at UGA hosted the Second Annual Food Waste and Hunger Summit, the Campus Kitchens Project and Food Recovery Network April 18-19. The summit convened about 300 student leaders from across the nation to learn from experts in social justice, social enterprise, public health, non-profit management and related fields. The event featured keynote speaker Doug Rauch, former president of Trader Joe’s and current CEO of Conscious Capitalism, Inc.