You’re a great woman, Jen Colby

As a result of the Sustainability Resource Center moving to Academic Affairs and emphasizing activities such as data gathering/analysis, social marketing, and communication, the position of “sustainability coordinator” was eliminated. The Sustainability Resource Center is indebted to Jen Colby, former sustainability coordinator, for her years of service, her willingness to teach, and her devotion to students. She will be missed.

By Erika Longino, Sustainability Resource Center

Jen Colby, former sustainability coordinator, cuts vegetables grown in the Edible Campus Gardens in the Union kitchen.

Jen Colby, former sustainability coordinator, cuts vegetables grown in the Edible Campus Gardens in the Union kitchen.

I remember starting out as a volunteer at the Edible Campus Gardens. Being a Pacific Northwest-raised grower, my desert gardening toolbox was sparse to say the least. Jen Colby, former sustainability coordinator for the Sustainability Resource Center, is the one who taught me the tricks and tips to gardening in the arid southwest. She also taught me a great deal more.

Whether it was how to improve saline-alkaline soils, identify desert native plants, get crops enough water, or deal with bindweed, Jen was incredibly knowledgeable and willing to share. Furthermore, her warmth and ability to navigate the University system were imperative to the functioning of the gardens at the U. With deep appreciation and gratitude, we acknowledge Jen’s amazing presence here at the Sustainability Resource Center and in the gardens, and likewise acknowledge how much she’ll be missed.

If Jen has taught us anything, it is to carry on through adversity and be flexible with sticky situations. When University construction cuts through the garden space, we plan a hoop house and a raspberry bed to implement when it is complete (coming spring/summer 2015!). When our storage basement floods, we inventory the damage and negotiate the purchase of a new set of tools. When it looks like rain, we plant spring seeds and make the best use of Utah’s precious rainfall.

Rhubarb starting to show its ruby stalks in the spring sunlight.

Rhubarb starting to show its ruby stalks in the spring sunlight.

The hope of the stewards of the Edible Campus Gardens is to carry on Jen’s tradition of sharing and educating future edible landscapers. Your hands, head, and heart are always welcome in the campus gardens. Volunteer for a fresh perspective and some fresh produce! For more information about volunteering, e-mail the Edible Campus Gardens at or sign up for our weekly updates.

Erika Longino is a garden steward with the Sustainability Resource Center’s Edible Campus Gardens.

5 responses to “You’re a great woman, Jen Colby

  1. Well said!! I have worked side by side with Jen in the early years of the garden and compost project. She is indeed a knowledgeable and giving soul! Most people have no idea the depth of her reach at the University. As we welcome Spring a time of renewal, I say Get ready, set, go Jen and all future U edible gardeners!

  2. Wait, what? U Sustainability eliminated its coordinator? How is that sustainable? Who will run the student gardens and farmers market? They are dropping them? Those were favorites of mine at the U. This is too bad. Good luck Jen.

    • Despite the position elimination, the Sustainability Resource Center continues to be committed to the Edible Campus Gardens, the Farmers Market, and the students who make those campus features great. Both programs will continue!

      Take care,
      Ayrel Clark-Proffitt

      • Thanks for the reply. It doesn’t make sense tho. If they are keeping the programs she ran, who will run them? Sounds like her job is still needed. She seemed to know just about everyone and everything, too, big loss for the U.

  3. Pingback: Germinate in your environment | sustainableUTAH·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s