Student group ramps up ecology efforts

Members of the St. Herman Society for Orthodox Ecology, one of several student interest groups at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, are ramping up efforts this spring.

The group has plans to begin composting on campus and establish a community garden.

“We are very thankful we have such a beautiful campus to work with,” said St. Herman Society Student Leader Dr. Tracy Gustilo, who is pursuing a Master of Theology (Th.M.) degree at St. Vladimir’s.

Dr. Gustilo and other members of the St. Herman Society recently took a field trip to Sarah Lawrence College to see how students there do composting, and have now purchased three compost barrels to gather compost from the refectory and the lakeside and north sides of the seminary campus.

The St. Herman Society also has a location picked out for the community garden: the green space in front of the seminary to the northeast of the Germack Building. Students plan to build raised beds since the ground at the location is rocky.

“Not only are we concerned with how we are interacting with creation, there are important community building, outreach, and possibly economic aspects to our efforts to get back a little closer to the processes of growing and recycling food,” explained Dr. Gustilo. “To have one’s whole life revolve around the seasons, the weather, planting and harvesting, waiting patiently... there are spiritual lessons to be learned at the most basic level. It is no wonder Jesus in his parables uses images of sowing and pruning, gathering and multiplying to teach his disciples.”

Society members are brainstorming other future projects as well, and the group also organized its Annual Pre-Paschal Campus Clean-up on Lazarus Saturday with participation from some of the many children who are part of the seminary community.

To learn more about the St. Herman Society for Orthodox Ecology contact Tracy Gustilo at at tgustilo@svots.edu or visit the Student Council page. The group meets approximately every month.