2008-08-28 / About Town

URI brings help to community farm

By Sam Bari

Resident assistants from the University of Rhode Island did volunteer work at the Jamestown Community Farm last week. The students pulled weeds, tilled soil and did other farm chores as part of their curriculum that requires three hours of community service. Photo by Sam Bari Resident assistants from the University of Rhode Island did volunteer work at the Jamestown Community Farm last week. The students pulled weeds, tilled soil and did other farm chores as part of their curriculum that requires three hours of community service. Photo by Sam Bari A busload of University of Rhode Island student resident assistants and their supervisors arrived at the community farm on the old Eldred Avenue last Saturday morning. The students contributed three hours of their time pulling weeds, tilling soil, and doing other farm chores.

The 70 students are resident assistants at URI, and part of their curriculum requires three hours of community service to fulfill that component of the staff-training program. "They are here to learn leadership skills and experience giving back to the community by working as volunteers," said Deb Bergner, a hall director and member of the URI staff in housing and residential education.

She said that URI has 150 resident assistants, and 70 of them came to help at the farm. The others are completing their community service at other locations. "This is our fourth year coming to the Jamestown Community Farm," Bergner said. "The students look forward to it. They had such a good time last year that they asked farm founder and manager Bob Sutton to 'leave the weeding for us,'" Bergner added.

Sutton said that the help was welcome, and complimented the students for their enthusiasm and hard work.

Mark Lane, another hall director, said, "The work puts the students in touch with providing food for the needy and gives them a good lesson in land use management."

Coretta Antivi, a student from Guyana, said that she was always happy to help people in need. "Many students have never seen people who don't have enough to eat," she said. "I will do whatever I can to help the hungry."

Tolu Adenadi, a Nigerian student agreed with Antivi. "Many of us don't appreciate how fortunate we are. We never have to worry about whether or not there will be enough food, or even drinking water. Many people in this world wake up hungry and go to bed hungry. Anything we can do to help those who need food is a privilege. I am happy to do it," she said.

Another student, who introduced himself as Ken, said, "I'm majoring in business. This is the real world out here. Working on the farm gives us an opportunity to learn about where the food that we take for granted every day comes from, and how much work it takes to grow it."

Sutton said that the students and faculty get a tremendous amount done in a short time. "It's amazing how much 70 hard working young people can accomplish in just a few hours," he said.

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