STUDENT SPOTLIGHT – SARAH CLOUSE
years ago, Sarah Clouse walked into the office with no
experience in gardening and unaware at how her new job would
come to affect her. Today she plays a vital role in the success
of the University of Houston’s campus community garden and
supervises the student workers for the Office of Sustainability.
Clouse had learned about the existence of the garden from a
campus marketing event and signed up for the program’s email
list. Through those emails, she heard about the opening of a
student position and decided to apply. She was hired on in the
summer of 2010 to begin assisting in the campus community garden
and organizing events and soon became a huge fan of gardening.
“I love it. I was really surprised I have a green thumb,” she
said. “And I get really excited when plants start producing.”
Clouse takes a lot of pride in her work and her great attitude
earned her a promotion to student supervisor and campus
community garden coordinator last spring. She is responsible for
the daily care, planning and watering of the garden, overseeing
the student workers in the Office of Sustainability, recruiting
and coordinating volunteers, meeting weekly with representatives
from Urban Harvest and coordinating with the UH Horticulture
Society, and also leading weekly team meetings. Clouse also
began a weekly posting on the Campus Community Garden’s Facebook
fanpage called the “Edible of the Week.” Every week, she chooses
one vegetable or herb in the garden and gives a summary of its
health benefits and provides a recipe using the produce. She
said she likes the change of pace her position provides.
“I enjoy it a lot. It’s a good balance to go from the office to
outside and I get to communicate with other people and
volunteers so I get to work with new people all the time,” she
Clouse also organizes a gardening event every other Sunday to
coordinate and teach volunteers how to work and assist in the
campus community garden. She said she really wants the UH
community to be aware that the garden is here on campus and
believes it is something everyone should try to experience.
“You really get an enjoyable feeling from gardening because
you’re doing hard work and something comes from it. When a plant
grows, you see how your hard work has paid off,” she said.
Clouse is supervised by Program Coordinator for Sustainability,
Leah Wolfthal, who she also assists along with the other student
workers in sustainability-related research and grants as well as
other events and projects.
“I am thankful for Sarah’s support of the Office; her work
contributes order, stability, continuity, and ease, and it is a
joy to be among the recipients of her giving from the heart,”
said Leah Wolfthal, Program Coordinator for Sustainability.
Clouse said she loves being able to donate the produce in the
garden to the Manna House, a local food bank near Texas Southern
University. She visits Manna House once to twice a week to
deliver produce. She said seeing the happy faces of the people
at Manna House when they donate the food is the best part of her
She said the experience she is gaining in the garden may also be
able to contribute to her profession. As a psychology major,
Clouse is interested in the therapeutic effects gardening can
provide for people suffering from mental disorders. She said it
can be used as a method to calm people down instead of resorting
to drug therapy.
Clouse will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Spring 2013 and
hopes to possibly move after graduation. Originally from Austin,
Texas, Clouse is very used to moving and did so a lot as a child
since her father was in the Air Force. His service took her
family all the way to England, followed by California, Georgia,
Arizona, Alaska, and then finally to Houston where she has
stayed ever since.
She plans to wait a couple of years before enrolling in graduate
school and hopes to one day become a forensic psychologist and
work for a law firm in jury selection or to consult clients as
they go through the court process.
For more information on volunteering in the Campus Community
Garden, visit the
Facebook fanpage. For more
information on the Office of Sustainability, visit