Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

First Springfest Promotes Gardening, Community Involvement

Abe Frato
Springfest was hosted in the Johnson House garden space.

On Sunday, students who attended the Blue Rock Station field trip last semester held Springfest at the Johnson House garden. The end-of-year celebration was promoted by the Resource Conservation Team and cosponsored by the Green EDGE Fund.

“We just wanted to have an event to celebrate the J-House garden, celebrate spring,” said College second-year and Springfest organizer Lilly Dodson. “So, we decided to build a stage and have some live music, have activities, bring student orgs out, and just have a fun community space to be outdoors and enjoy the spring weather.”

Springfest boasted a variety of activities and tables. The itinerary posted on the RCT’s Instagram page included screenprinting by YeoPress, rock painting, face painting, gardening, seed bomb making, a Free Store pop-up, games, and “hanging out.” A number of organizations tabled at the event, including the Naturalist Club and Barefoot Dialogue. There were also live music performances throughout, featuring four different student acts. 

The idea of Springfest came about after the student trip to Blue Rock Station in November, an earthship and sustainability center in Philo. Through the Environmental Studies department, a group of students led by College second-year and Springfest organizer Molly Davis went on a two-day field trip to tour the earthship, do volunteer work, and participate in dialogues about sustainability, resiliency, and localization. The field trip inspired the group to plan Springfest.

“We wanted to kind of keep the momentum going from what we learned on that trip to here,” Davis said. “So, we asked the garden initially what they needed and kind of how we could help out as a community. So there’s certain events … that have to do with seed planting, or there’s the painting of the [garden] signs.”

College first-year Marlena Hall also attended the trip and helped organize the event. She worked the table making seed bombs — balls made of clay, soil, and wildflower seeds meant to be easily planted in the ground. This was part of the event’s additional initiative to encourage environmental activism and practices.

“The event is just trying to celebrate spring and also bring awareness to some of the environmental issues, and one of the things that we were talking about a lot is how you have to have a balance between activism and celebration,” Hall said. “And that’s one great way to build community, and which is one of the only ways we’re gonna be able to make change.”

Dodson, Davis, and Hall said one of the most exciting things about Springfest for the organizers was the live music. Student acts Sorghum, Sarah Krohn and Friends, Spelunkers, and Cat Piano each performed a set at the event. The intersection of live music and activism seemed to be a major draw for attendees. 

“I think it’s a good thing to get people out and involved in nature and listening to student bands,” College first-year Miriam Barnhill-Wright said.

Attendees also appreciated the sunny weather and the coming of student organizations to the event.

“It’s nice,” College second-year Ethan Katz said. “It’s spring. It’s cool to see. It’s always nice when a bunch of orgs come together here.”

The organizers hope that Springfest will take place yearly from now on, and are currently working on making that happen.

“To make it an annual event would be great,” Davis said. “But also just to really get more students involved in the garden; there’s a lot of projects that they want to get done, and I think they could use a lot more student power.”

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