While growing up, Casey Hall's mother was always in the back yard tending to the family garden. So perhaps it was just a natural step that Hall would become the next campus community garden coordinator here at the University of Houston.
The senior biology major from the small Fort Bend County town of Needville took over the position a little more than a month ago. Already, she's gotten her hands dirty, spending a couple of Sunday afternoons with groups of volunteers maintaining the garden and the variety of vegetables growing there.
"There's sweet potatoes growing in there right now that are ready to be harvested," she said of the garden, which is located next to the Cougar Woods Dining Hall on the northeast corner of Cullen and Wheeler.
The garden, which falls under the arm of the Office of Sustainability, relies on a small army of volunteers to keep it vibrant. The food grown there is donated to Manna House, a local food bank near Texas Southern University.
Hall has set some clear goals for her tenure, which likely will end when she graduates in May. Until then, she wants to spend time and effort computerizing and organizing the garden's plans and other information to make it easier for her eventual successor to transition into the role. She also wants to lay out a clear plan for the garden, make it more presentable, and above all, make it as fruitful as it possibly can be.
She is the first person in her family to have attended the University of Houston. She made the decision to come here as a senior at Needville High School.
"I wanted to be able to attend school away from my small town, but I didn't want to be too far away from home. I really enjoy being with my family," she said.
Her time at UH has been relatively uneventful when compared to what happened her senior year of high school. That's because an arsonist started a fire at her school, causing significant damage to the building and destroying the TAKS tests that students had just taken, forcing them to have to retake it.
"We had taken the tests the day before, so nobody was happy about having to do it all over again," she said.