I was recently honored with Greencastle’s “Green Citizen of the Year” award, yet I am not even a citizen of Greencastle! Living in a college town is strange. It’s hard to get involved with a community you know to be a temporary home, and I think that is why most students don’t. Not until this year, with my work at the Greencastle Community Garden, did I feel like a member of the Greencastle community. Now, I am able to walk into stores on the square and Kroger and recognize all kinds of people not directly involved at DePauw. It is a true blessing.
The foundation of community is positive one-on-one relationships. Only by getting to know others have I really felt comfortable in Greencastle; I hope other students step outside of their comfort zone to do the same. For a long time, I thought I was too liberal, or urban, or eccentric to get along with Greencastle people and that kept me from growing. It simply wasn’t true.
The Greencastle Sustainability Commission has been a great project uniting the DePauw and Greencaslte communities on multiple levels. We have shared goals and a shared sense of how the community should transform. I highly recommend people get involved with the garden, farmer’s market, local food for neighbors in need, recycling projects, or other joint DePauw-Greencastle sustainable efforts. For me it’s been a fantastic way to implement my values and get to know people outside of professors and the limited 18-22-year-old demographic that lives at DePauw. In the end, my experience at DePauw would not have been complete without my friends in the larger community.