SU Florence seeks to promote international education through sustainable living practices. We believe we can only help students grow to be more responsible citizens of a globalized world if we ourselves implement ecology-friendly practices and provide opportunities for students to engage in activities that contribute to environmental sustainability and encourage multicultural engagement.
The Mary Jo Kitchen Garden
In response to a generous gift from program alumnae Mary Jo Weinig, SU Florence inaugurated its first Edible Garden in July 2013. The project began in 2012 when Prof. Richard Ingersoll and a group of SU Florence students planted a small nomad garden which has since become a large permanent garden. The tomatoes, eggplants, beans, chick peas, rocket greens, herbs, and cabbages are gathered by the students and used in the preparation of traditional Tuscan dishes in SU Florence's newly renovated professional kitchen.
Food for Thought: A Community Project
The Italian Language and Culture Department arranges free language classes for members of Florence's immigrant community where conversation is organized around gardening activities and the preparation of meals uses the produce from the Mary Jo Kitchen Garden. These non-credit classes not only help the outside community but give SUF students the opportunity to practice their Italian language skills and become exposed to the challenges and opportunities of multiculturalism in Italy, a relatively recent phenomenon in contemporary Italian society. Language, gardening, and food, therefore, become the channels through which learning takes place, environmental awareness is sustained, and diversity is embraced.
See videos: Food for Thought and Food for Thought 2.
Sustainability in the Classroom
SUF has created a cluster of courses and experiential-learning opportunities that focus on sustainable living. These courses invite students to imagine the world and their relationship to it differently by learning to improve human well-being and preserve the life support systems of the planet.
The Sustainable Office
The staff and faculty of SU Florence are committed to making their work environment as ‘green’ as possible. That means we print double-sided documents, recycle bottles, turn off lights we’re not using and only turn on heating or cooling systems when absolutely necessary. However, we know there is always more room for improvement. Please let us know if you see anything we could be doing better to ensure our campus is as environmentally friendly as possible.
SU Florence students: While you’re living in Europe, do as the Europeans do! Take a mindful approach to all the travel that will be filling your free time. That means, whenever possible, choose the more sustainable option: ride a bike instead of using public transport; take a bus instead of a taxi; take a train instead of a plane. Not only it is the responsible thing to do as an engaged global citizen, it also tends to invite romance and adventure (think pedaling over the Arno as the sun sets, figuring out how to reach off-the-beaten-path destinations like a local or writing in your journal as the Alps stretch beyond your train window).
Healthy eating habits and regular exercise are yet another way we can contribute to a healthier planet. With this in mind, SU Florence kicks off each week during the fall and spring semesters with Healthy Monday! Keep an eye out for:
- free fruit available throughout the day in the Limoniaia next to Elia and Sergio's cafe'
- an e-newsletter with practical exercise and nutrition tips, as well as suggestions for healthy study habits
- free exercise classes are offered by local instructors and/or current students in the Villa Rossa, Villino or Garden. Just show up!
I warmly invite you to watch this video narrated by our garden's namesake, SU Florence alum Mary Jo Weinig, to learn more about the inspiration behind our community engagement project.
- Sasha Perugini, Director, SU Florence