Garrison Murphy ‘15
John Sittu ’15 stares intently at the newly blossomed tomato plants in the garden behind the Great Hall.
“You can always tell if a tomato needs more water… the leaves tend to shrivel a bit,” Sittu said.
Sittu is the head student leader of the Gardening Club, which has received some needed student care this year.
The Brophy Gardening club may have looked a lot like those shriveled tomatoes before Sittu and others resurrected the almost dormant club.
“I’m starting to bring it back,” Sittu said. “We now have about 20 members.”
There are currently three gardens maintained by the Gardening Club and they tend to almost 200 plants, according to club member Cameron Kurtz ’15.
The club’s main purpose is to educate students on basic ecology, gardening and most importantly becoming “in touch with nature,” said club moderator Deacon Joe Stickney.
Most of the actual produce is distributed within the faculty if not eaten by hungry gardeners.
Deacon Stickney said that the club also held a “farmers market” fundraiser last year in order to raise money for refugees, which they hope to do again when they yield another large harvest.
“I think that what they’re doing is really cool,” said Conner Zautke ’15. “The composting and charity of the club is really beneficial to the Brophy community.”
Just two years ago the now bountiful club was on the verge of dormancy.
“The club started around the time Brophy had a Summit on the environment,” Sittu said. “After the Summit ended … it lost all of its members.”
When asked what is most different this year than last, club member David Levy ’15 responded simply with: “John.”
“We now have an actual leader,” Levy said.
Sittu said he took the leadership position last year with the intention of expanding the club size and the amount of produce they yield.
He has realized that dream with the help of new club members and faculty support, Sittu said.
One of the other significant changes Sittu said he has made to the Gardening Club is the reintroduction of
“composting” on campus.
Gardening club members collect compostable materials like banana peels and apple cores from trash cans after school with the intention of mixing it in with the garden soil.
“It’s really good for the soil,” Kurtz added. “We don’t need to buy store bought fertilizer now.”
The Brophy Gardening club is also starting to work with Xavier’s own sustainability and garden club called “Xero.”
“We sometimes go over there (Xavier) and they sometimes come over here,” said Karl Bercy ’17.
Bercy said that meeting girls is one of the reasons he joined the club.
The gardening club has made a lot of changes in the last year, and Sittu said that they plan on continuing in the same direction.
“This year I want to work more closely with Xero and make the club more service oriented,” Sittu said. “It’s going to be bigger and better.”
In many ways, the Gardening Club is looking more like the blossoming tomatoes in its garden.
“You can tell when a tomato plant is ripe …when the skin starts to get shiny and a little firm,” Sittu said. “These aren’t totally ripe yet, but they are definitely getting close.”