GDS: Green dining services

Seton Hall is creating a sustainable garden in between Xavier Hall and the Student Center Dining Hall that will act as a fresh air classroom while providing fresh vegetables and herbs for Gourmet Dining Services, according to a press release.

The Seton Hall garden, donated by GDS and coordinated by the Office of Sustainability and Business Affairs, will be the fourth garden in a network of campus gardens in Northern New Jersey, the press release stated.

“We are very excited about the garden and getting students involved in the project,” Julie Aiello, Gourmet Dining garden coordinator, said.

The garden is part of the Gourmet Campus Gardens program by GDS, the press release stated.

Aiello has started similar gardens at Fairleigh Dickenson University, New Jersey Institute of Technology and Kean University, where GDS also provides food services, Dr. Marian Glenn, professor of Biology, said.

She also said she is optimistic about the garden.

“Urban gardening and organic gardening are activities that more and more people are taking up, and it’s great that we’ll have a chance to practice these skills where so many students are living,” Glenn said.

The garden, described as an organic edible landscape, is being created to connect the campus community to nature and to demonstrate how the University community “can grow our food locally,” the press release said.

The location of the garden was chosen because it gets sun, is near the cafeteria and has a water supply, Glenn said.

Glenn and Dr. Judith Stark, professor of Philosophy, will oversee classroom involvement.

“Next fall I’ll be teaching Introduction to Environmental Studies and will use the garden as an outdoor classroom,” Glenn said.

“The Environmental Studies program would like to offer a class on urban gardening and permaculture, utilizing the garden as a “lab,” Glenn said.

A statue of St. Francis of Assisi will be selected and placed in the garden under the guidance of Msgr. Thomas Nydegger, associate vice president for Student Affairs, and Msgr. Anthony Ziccardi, vice president for Mission & Ministry.

According to the press release, Theresa Deehan, director of Business Affairs, is donating the statue in memory of her late husband, Edward J. Deehan, a 1979 alumnus.

For monitoring and protection, a fence will be placed around the garden, which will mainly be to keep animals out, said Glenn. She also said she hopes students will respect the garden as a work of the community.

“Our campus is a large garden, but it’s all taken care of by the grounds crew,” Glenn said. “This garden offers a healthy, tangible connection with nature to everyone in the campus community.”

Through the summer and fall, GDS will host gardening programs and harvesting events, which will include learning about seed and plant varieties, observing nature with all the senses and learning about the seasonality of food and organic gardening techniques, the press release said.

For more information about upcoming food and harvest events, “Gourmet Campus Gardens” can be found on Facebook.

Joanna Toole can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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