When you think of the word “sustainability,” do images of neighborhood revitalization pop into your head? If not, they should!
During Orientation, new Camels, including those enrolled in three different first-year seminars, volunteered in Hodges Square as part of the College’s New London Community Projects program. Hodges Square is a business district one mile from campus that lost some of its charm when highways separated it from downtown New London.
Yet New London community members have not lost hope. The Hodges Square Village Association (HSVA) consists of businesses and residents dedicated to revitalizing Hodges Square through farmers’ markets, business development and beautification projects.
In collaboration with HSVA, incoming students, Manager of Sustainability Josh Stoffel, Senior Fellow for Communications in the Office of Sustainability Yu-Cheng Liu ‘17, and Senior Fellow for Resource Management Virginia Gresham ‘17 kicked off a substantial beautification process on Aug. 23, 2014. They painted the walls of a prominent gas station with energetic shades of orange and yellow, painted camels on flowerpots, gardened, and landscaped the area. They were pleasantly surprised by the results of their efforts. In the words of one first-year student, “It was great to see Hodges Square literally brighten over the course of a few hours, through the hard work and dedication of many community members."
As much as the students enjoyed working to transform the square, they especially appreciated the encouraging words of community members who were passing by the area.
Yet the project still has a ways to go. Fortunately, Connecticut College’s Office of Sustainability will continue to support the square. The Office has selected a representative, Taryn Kitchen ‘17, to serve as a member of the Hodges Square Village Association so that Connecticut College can stay intimately involved in the all future efforts.