Introducing the Graceland Sustainability Team

Introducing the Graceland Sustainability Team

AUTHOR: Jenna Cox '17


We are only a couple of weeks into the 2016-17 school year, but the Graceland Sustainability team is already hard at work on a lot of new and continued projects. Each year, Graceland Sustainability Coordinator, Jen Abraham-White, hand picks a small team of student workers to assist her in making Graceland (and Lamoni!) a more sustainable community. Together, we all have a common purpose: to make a lasting impact and make our little piece of the world a greener and more environmentally-healthy place.

The Graceland sustainability team will work together to post monthly updates on the hoop house garden, orchard, and other programs and events (the “inside hoop,” if you will). We will also write about local life relating to our natural world, the environment, and sustaining those things that we all should hold so dear. Before we get into the details of what Sustainability has planned for the upcoming year, we’d like you to meet our hardworking team!

Ryan Schlom     Caleb Torres     Jenna Cox     William Ansong     Paul Stewart     Alice Nelms

Graceland University Sustainability Coordinator
Jen Abraham-White

Shortly after earning her Master of Science from Utah State University in a program titled Human Dimensions of Ecosystem Science and Management, Jen began working at Graceland University as part-time Sustainability Coordinator. While at Utah State, Jen worked at the university’s Environmental Learning Center, educating visitors about environmental issues and sustainable home design. Her master’s thesis was focused on storm water management in a semi-arid urban region. Jen’s goals for the sustainability program are to increase the program’s academic footprint and to grow more sensible food crops for sale as part of the campus dining service and in the community. Jen also wishes to pursue better food waste management in the Lamoni community.





Ryan Schlom

Ryan is a senior English and business administration major. This year is his second with the sustainability program, although he has been involved with campus sustainability initiatives since his sophomore year. He became interested in working with the campus sustainability team after research of food systems ignited his passion for the subject, which has only grown over his time with the program. Ryan works in the campus hoop house and outdoor garden and produces digital content for the program. He hopes to make a career of his passion and intends to pursue a master's in urban planning after he graduates. His ambition is to help create cities that will be resilient when tested by social, economic and ecological challenges. Ryan's biggest hope for the future of Graceland's sustainability program is to dramatically expand our on-campus food production.

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Caleb Torres

Caleb is a junior and, after two years of volunteering, is finally making his employment debut with Graceland Sustainability. He became involved due to the encouragement of Sustainability Coordinator, Jen Abraham-White, and his interest in working with the ground. In addition to helping with the hoop house, he is building the apiary project and hopes to create a long-lasting and fun beekeeping position for many students to come.

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Jenna Cox

Jenna is a senior and this is her first year working with Graceland Sustainability. She became interested in sustainable living after taking an environmental psychology course taught by Graceland psychology professor David Devonis and Sustainability Coordinator, Jen Abraham-White. Jenna loved the field portion of the course that took place in the hoop house and greenhouse and wanted to stay involved after the class ended. Now she gardens in the hoop house and works in communications for the program by blogging and managing other social media. Jenna loves plants and animals and strives to become a zookeeper once she finishes school in the spring. Her big hopes for Graceland sustainability are have a great beekeeping program and to have the ability to compost most of the food waste that is produced on Graceland’s campus.

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William Ansong

William is currently in his second year at Graceland. He started working for Graceland Sustainability at the end of his freshman year and worked throughout the summer, so he has been in the program for around four and a half months. William thinks he was mistaken for his brother when he was offered the job, but he has always had a heart for working with the environment in which we live. He manages and repairs the bikes for Graceland’s Shared Bike Program. His dream job is to make films about the unknown parts of the world. William thinks it would be awesome if a majority of Graceland students could get an understanding about the importance of the environment through the actions and leadership in Sustainability.

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Paul Stewart

Paul is a senior biology major from Moreno Valley, California and came to Graceland on a football scholarship. He has been part of the sustainability program for two years and was introduce to it by Sustainability Coordinator, Jen Abraham-White. He is responsible for the upkeep of the hoop house and recycling, as well as other needs that come with the sustainability program. Paul is currently applying to medical school and hopes to get into Stanford where he can become a urological oncologist.

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Alice Nelms

Alice is a senior, earning degrees in human services and studio art. After two years of working as a Wholeness, Peace and Social Justice Coordinator for Campus Ministries, she came on as a work assistant for the sustainability program in order to expand and gain experience within sustainability programs. As human rights issues are closely intertwined with environmental issues, Alice is enthusiastic to learn more about sustainability programming and community building through environmental efforts; not to mention hanging out with plants and bugs as part of her job! She will work in the hoop house this year and is heading up special events and programs. She strives to expand the presence of the sustainability program on campus and in the community, help pave the way to a self-sustaining campus, and connect people to resources for sustainability and outdoor fun.

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We have a really great group working together this year. There is a lot going on already, but there is still much to be done and even more that we would love to see happen in the future!