Mac Hart - Sprouting Connections

When the candidates for Associated Student Government gathered in The Commons on results night, Mac Hart was exhausted and ready for the election process to be over.

“I was pleased by how many of our supporters turned out to hear the results. When the results were read I smiled incredibly wide, high-fived Anthony and hugged Sachi Silva, who was our spectacular campaign manager,” he said. “With so many of our supporters at the results night, it felt really good to have won because it showed how effective their efforts were.”

Hart, voted president in the recent AS elections, ran alongside Anthony Gallino, who won the vote for vice-president. The team plans to influence positive change on the SSU campus, combining Gallino’s student government experience and Hart’s involvement with student life.

One of his goals as president is to unite various groups on campus through fun, interactive and collaborative events.

“I intend to lead AS to best serve the students and their efforts inside the classroom, as well as their passions and interests outside of the classroom,” Hart said. “Solving the many issues facing SSU students is something that will require collaboration on all levels of this campus community.”

Hart’s position in student government presents new challenges, but also new opportunities for him to cultivate community and implement positive change on campus by getting students more involved.

Hart, an environmental studies and planning (ENSP) major, has another passion located not far from campus.

It started with a backyard. Hart began developing a concept for a garden, one that would utilize local unfarmed land for the purpose of growth, experimentation, cultivation and profit.

“I left around 200 notes on doors,” Hart said. He circled the neighborhood adjacent to campus once, and when no one called he did it again and eventually received one call that worked. “They were skeptical and it was kind of interesting because it was this new type of relationship that I was not used to and the landowner was not used to,” he said.

Once this relationship was established, Hart’s garden project began to flourish. Obtaining the plot, located in a backyard in Penngrove, was just the beginning.

Early on Hart had established a connection with Dining Services at SSU, agreeing to collect the compost from the cafeteria for his garden plot for free. He was collecting about 30-35 gallons of compost a week, all by bicycle trailer, a truly sustainable method.

From collecting the compost, Hart was able to build relationships with the chefs and administrators, which eventually led to a business agreement. Hart went though the steps to start selling his produce to Dining Services.

Last semester he grew three varieties of salad, which he combined into a product, a spring mix. He sold his spring mix to the cafeteria and The Commons for the University Club. When he was delivering most, he was making 2 deliveries a week.

Interest in the garden idea grew as well, from a single landowner who had an agreement with Hart, to other landowners in the neighborhood. They saw what was happening in Hart’s plot and came around to the idea themselves, opening up their land to other SSU students. Now Hart is able to share his knowledge of gardening with others.

Hart plans to continue with his garden project while he adjusts to his role as president. Although he does not foresee the two endeavors overlapping in the future, he plans to actively partner with sustainability senator, Allison Jenks, to further develop sustainability efforts on campus.

Hart’s expanding involvement is sure to guarantee his senior year at SSU will be a busy, yet rewarding one.

-Sarah Dowling