Letter to the Editor: Real Scoop on Hoop House

Tracy Basile

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The article in the Feb. 10, 2017, issue of The Pace Chronicle entitled “Environmental Club is Growing the Future,” sadly leaves out the most important information –- acknowledgment of those who actually built the hoop house. (For anyone who may not know, the hoop house is an inexpensive 12’ x 16‘ greenhouse made out of heavy-duty plastic and wooden framing instead of glass and metal and you can find it at the Nature Center here on the Pleasantville campus. Its purpose is to extend the growing season by starting seedlings in the early spring and housing cold weather crops in early winter).

Let’s give credit to Anthony Jones, a student of my “Food Revolution” class, who wrote and submitted a proposal to the Student Government Association in December 2015 and got a unanimous approval to fund the Hoop House Project through the Pace Legacy 2016 Fund. Anthony and I (the unnamed professor in the article) worked tirelessly to handle purchasing of supplies, gathering volunteers and seeing its completion.  Construction began on a snowy day almost one year ago in early April and ended late June, not in the fall of 2016 and winter 2017 as reported. The Environmental Club at that time was called N.A.T.U.R.E and Anthony was its president. He also was an Environmental Studies graduating senior whose independent research project examined the challenges of growing food on college campuses. We received tremendous help from individuals outside of the Pace community, such as Rudy Rodriguez, an instructor at New York School for the Deaf, Laurie Evans of Westchester Safe, Pastor Kyran Leo John from the First Seventh Day Adventist Church of White Plains who picked up and delivered a free door, Wilson Chang, an organic farmer from Ridgefield, Conn., and a handful of die-hard alumni that were at one time my students — Serena Veith (now a student in Pace’s program for Mental Health Counseling), Nicolette Maio and Ryan McPartlan. They all deserve recognition. The article that appeared in the Feb. 10 issue fails to give a sense of how widespread community participation really was. The Environmental Club members did help on two Sundays in April, one day installing the aluminum hoops, and another day building seeding tables, and the organization generously funded lunches for hungry crews.

While it is nice to hear of a ribbon cutting ceremony for the hoop house and plans for its future use, neither Anthony nor I, nor the Pace alumni were invited. In fact, none of the people who did the work were invited. It’s too bad that Pace Chronicle readers weren’t told the whole story because it’s a good one. The hoop house was built with love. It is a generous gift, not monetarily, but in spirit. Remembering its legacy starts with these small seeds of recognition.

Thank you,

Tracy Basile

Adjunct Professor of Environmental Studies and English

Pace University

Pleasantville, NY

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