By Cassie Florian
SAGA, not to be confused with the name that students use to refer to Hamilton Commons, stands for the Student Agricultural Group for Advancement, a group of students with the goal of creating a more sustainable and healthy food practices here at Alma College.
“We want to see the food on [Alma’s] campus improve in terms of what can be grown locally,” said Jarrett Buikema (’21) when asked what drove him and many other members of the new campus organization, SAGA, to become members.
The group came out of the First Year Seminar ‘Stuffed and Starved’ which we all took this past semester.
“This is where it began, we put together a group and started having meetings,” said Buikema He continued by mentioning the importance research also played in founding the organization.
“We’re interested in making a more nutritionally conscious campus,” said Samuel Nelson (’21).
This however, does not mean that the organization is anti-Sodexo, in fact the organization would like people to know that they are in reality the opposite of that.
“We are not necessarily against Sedexo or certain foods,” said Nelson. “We don’t want to be against anything, only for things…we wish to work with Sodexo to improve the food on campus.”
In terms of the organization’s plans for the future they have both short-term and long-term goals for SAGA.
“A short-term goal is to secure the old garage behind the environmental house and create a greenhouse out of it,” said Buikema. “We have also been in contact with companies who provide grants to schools for greenhouses.
We created a small pop up green house as a test run and believe we will have even more success with the real thing.”
Regarding long-term plans, the goal is to secure the old K-Mart in town.
“We have been researching how to transform urban spaces into greenhouses,” said Buikema. “It is a 150 thousand dollars [for the space].”
Another long term goal of the organization is one that focuses on strengthening and improving the group itself.
“We wish to gain a larger following in the fall, since it is difficult to find people to join in the middle of the year,” said Nelson.
SAGA, although it started out from an FYS, is welcoming of people who would be interested in joining their group.
“First of all, it’s open to everyone interested in joining” said Buikema. “We are looking to diversify the group’s background information and want to see an increase in people who can bring other things to the table.
“We meet on Wednesdays in SAC 109 at 9 p.m.” Nelson said. “We want to see students join that come from a large variation of backgrounds to help us to get some new perspectives that will help to further develop the group.
“This group is one of the most diverse on campus. Everybody in this organization came together with one common goal.” Buikema said, when asked what was his favorite part about joining this group is and why this organization is so important to him.
This common goal, of creating a more nutritionally conscious and sustainable campus, is something that without a doubt, this organization is proud of and ready to share with the rest of Alma College.