branson

Campus Solar Production

Environmental Action Committee

The Environmental Action Committee (EAC) is a group of students and faculty devoted to increasing environmental sustainability and awareness in the Branson community and beyond. The EAC meets every Tuesday to discuss ways to achieve this goal; whether planning bike-to-school days, improving the recycling program, working on the garden, or raising awareness, the EAC always has a project underway. 2009-2010 was largely dedicated to the creation of our organic school garden, which is now completed and contributing fresh produce to the dining hall and hungry passerbys.

Branson Organic Garden

Organic Garden
In the fall of 2009, members of EAC began to dream of an organic, on-campus garden that Branson could call their own. When the club decided to embark on this endeavor, with ’10 alum Sarah Arndt at the forefront, it was necessary to come up with a game plan. There were many questions that needed to be answered; where to put the garden, how much would it cost, where the financial support come from, who would be responsible for the garden once built, where the wood, seeds, soil, etc. would come from and more.

While the school provided some financial support, it was clear that the garden would be a costly endeavor. Sarah Arndt sent out hundreds of letters to faculty, parents, and community residents, and many became generous garden sponsors. Their support was integral to the success of the garden.

The students and faculty worked diligently in springtime and summer of 2010 to clear and level a plot of land on the hill adjacent to the Branson steps. A fence was erected and raised beds were built and filled with soil. When fall of 2010 arrived, the garden was ready for seeds to be sown and for plants to grow.

Building Green

Student Commons
In 2009, Branson added three new buildings to campus, all of them environmentally-friendly.  The centerpiece of the project was the Student Commons, which acquired Platinum LEED certification in 2010.  It has many sustainable features, including a living roof, radiant heating, natural ventilation, and solar panels, as well as large flexible doors that create an open dining experience in fine weather.  Branson is one of very few schools in the nation to have Platinum-certified LEED buildings, which also include the Maxwell Music Hall and the sculpture and digital media studios.

Harvest Fest

Harvest Fest Since 2008, the Environmental Action Committee has organized semi-annual Harvest Fests to celebrate local, organic produce, sustainability, and community. At these festivals, Branson students and faculty from the EAC sell in-season produce from Marin Organic and our very own Branson garden.
 
The Thanksgiving Harvest Fest is a perfect opportunity to stock up for Thanksgiving festivities and promote sustainable and healthy food choices in our community. Parents are encouraged to come out and purchase produce, as well as tasty baked goods.

The springtime Harvest Fest is typically near Earth Day and serves as a reminder that our eating habits greatly impact the environment. Harvest Fests typically feature student music, like a Branson bluegrass band or emerging songwriter, organic pie contests, and sundae-building stations. Please stay tuned for information about the next upcoming Harvest Fest.