Chances are, at some point in your time at Lawrence, you’ve walked by or even been inside of SLUG house. But there’s a lot more to the garden-focused community than meets the eye. With eight residents and a sixteen person co-op, SLUG house is focused on staying environmentally conscious and finding ways to ever-improve the garden that members devote much of their time to. Senior Brynley Nadziejka, and sophomore Cate Bentley both live in the house and offered some insight into the goals and challenges of SLUG life.
Both women agreed that SLUG house is an important extension of the garden itself. “I think it’s an extremely integral part of SLUG’s success, because it’s an incubator for our community where we talk about ideas for the garden, and where we’re constantly exchanging energy about what can happen in the garden,” said Bentley. “Our house is mostly centered around philosophies that coexist with the garden. It’s integral in the way that it inspires people to always be thinking about it, especially in the winter.”
The co-op meal plan is a major way that SLUG house remains true to its mission. “Our meal plan is focused on local, sustainable food, which is what we produce here in the garden” Nadziejka explained. “How we treat eating in the house is a great reflection of why we do what we do in the garden.”
But the house isn’t just a tool for the students that live there—it’s a place where anyone interested in SLUG can get more involved. Nadziejka elaborated, “It’s also awesome for students who don’t live in the house but work in the garden to come back to the house and prepare what they have helped produce. It’s a great way to see the full cycle of what happens down in SLUG.”
While they always remain open to new members and promote SLUG as a welcoming environment, Nadziejka and Bentley admitted that having a group house can add an intimidation factor to the organization. “It can be intimidating when you see a very tight knit group of people, and it sounds cliché but when you’re actually helping things grow, you grow together as a community,” said Bentley. But they actively try to combat this, as Bentley added “We have events for the entire campus to get more people to come down to the garden, and the house is great for that. We invite people interested in gardening to come cook, and we open up our house to campus in some of the events we’ve planned.”
Nadziejka offered a slightly different perspective. “That can be true, but on the flip side, going to the house can be less intimidating than going to the garden. The garden can be a space where people don’t have any experience with agriculture, like I didn’t, so going to the house can be an easier way to get involved and to get to know the people that work in the garden before you come down.”
Both encouraged anyone interested in SLUG, the garden or the house, to come to weekly garden hours or composting. In case you need any more encouragement, Nadziejka added, “Stuff is growing, so there’s a good chance you’ll get a snack.”