Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 55.44
Liaison Bradley Flamm
Submission Date March 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

West Chester University of Pennsylvania
IN-48: Innovation B

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Bradley Flamm
Director of Sustainability
Office of the President
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
West Chester University Natural Pigments and Dyes Garden

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

In the summer of 2019, West Chester University added a fourth organic garden to campus. This garden is different, however, in that it is not to grow vegetables, as the gardens on south and north campuses and at the president's residence are, but to grow plants used for making natural pigments and dyes. The initiative -- a faculty / staff collaboration -- was organized by Art + Design Professor Kate Stewart and WCU Grounds Manager Josh Braid, following a 2018 presentation by Professor Stewart in our Sustainability Research and Practice Seminar at which Mr. Braid was present. Located outside the E.O. Bull Center for the Arts, the garden is planted with Coreopsis, Black-eyed Susans, Japanese Indigo, Woad, Madder, Lady's Bedstraw and other plants traditionally used in the production of natural dyes and pigments.

The garden serves as a teaching garden from which students learn about technological, political and cultural shifts that have had incredible influence over art historical movements and materials available to artists throughout time. Students taking various studio courses are also involved in cultivating and harvesting the plants in the garden for the creation of natural dyes, pigments and art materials. Students also develop an awareness of "slow fashion" through the processing of natural dye plants in response to "faster" conventional methods of production. This garden has the potential to reach a wide range of disciplines at WCU, reinforcing research in Art and Design courses, Art History courses, Theater and Costume Design, Sustainability-related courses and more.
The garden serves as a teaching garden from which students learn about technological, political and cultural shifts that have had incredible influence over art historical movements and materials available to artists throughout time. Students taking studio courses have toured and attended lectures in the garden, learning about the creation of natural dyes, pigments and art materials. Students also develop an awareness of “slow fashion” through the processing of natural dye plants in response to “faster” conventional methods of production. This garden has the potential to reach a wide range of disciplines at WCU, reinforcing research in Art and Design courses, Art History courses, Theater and Costume Design, Sustainability-related courses and more. To date, students in three courses have used the garden for their studies; Professor Stewart intends to double the number of courses using the garden in the coming academic year.


Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Curriculum
Public Engagement
Grounds

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
---

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Response provided by Professor Kate Stewart (sstewart@wcupa.edu), March 2020.

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