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Rising junior named New Yorker of the Week

Meredith Byrne '13 is planting seeds of peace on Staten Island, and her efforts caught the attention NY1 News. This week, the television station honored Byrne by naming her New Yorker of the Week. A two-minute news segment highlights Byrne's efforts to establish a community garden in the Stapleton area of Staten Island. The project is funded with a $10,000 grant from the Kathryn Wasserman Davis 100 Projects for Peace program.

Since receiving the grant from the Davis foundation this spring, Byrne has been working with dozens of community members, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and local officials to make the garden a reality. The 24-bed garden opened in June, and Byrne, an international relations major from Brookside, N.J., is spending the summer overseeing its day-to-day operation. "I wanted to have this peaceful space for all aspects of the different community to come together, work together and integrate better," Byrne told NY1 News.

Michael Schnall of the Staten Island Parks Department said in an interview with the news station that Byrne recognized the need for the garden during an internship with the African Refugee organization last summer. "I think the community grew on her and she felt a sense of mission and concern for what was not being addressed here, which was healthy living and accessibility to good food options," he said. The segment also includes an interview with Robert Landau, a property owner who is allowing the garden to operate on his land free of charge.

"I truthfully believe that it was an enhancement to the neighborhood. It made it better. And that's the most important thing," Landau said.

July 11, 2011