Utilizing The Center on Cherry Street as a way to offer an opportunity for mingling between Knox students and Galesburg citizens has become more prevalent over the last year, and this past week, senior Sam Bouman decided to put the resource of The Center to use yet again.
On Valentine’s Day, Bouman, along with sophomore Amelia Gant, senior Alissa Burger, senior Alana Heber, and junior Abby Pardick, spent the day cooking vegan chili, hamburgers, and vegetarian burgers to sell at The Center. They were fundraising in order to buy trees to plant around Galesburg. The group sold brownies, donated by Q’s Café, and chili for $1, and the burgers for $2. They raised almost $200 for the cause.
“The tree-planting idea was from fall term,” said Bouman. “Since all I had at the time were some beef burgers, I figured I’d just set up a grill and see if anybody who walked past wanted a burger. I got lazy and that never happened, and so I worked with Abby Pardick and Alissa Burger over the course of this term to put this one together and, with their help, this really turned into a much more substantial event than just some yahoo flipping burgers on the sidewalk.” Knox Environmental Studies professor Peter Schwartzman helped the group by giving them access to The Center, and KARES donated money in order to buy the chili-making supplies. “[The] barbecue served a number of purposes. It raised money for trees, brought people to The Center, and brought Knox students and Galesburg residents together for a little while.”
Pardick and Burger helped organize the event, while Gant, senior Will Gallmeyer, and junior Samir Bakhshi set up The Center. Heber cooked and grilled burgers. “Hopefully the group can mediate between residents who would like to plant a tree and the bureaucratic structures that complicate what should be a very simple act, and also provide free trees and volunteers if needed,” Bouman said.
Bouman was surprised by the amount of people that showed up to the event. “I was struck stupid by the turnout,” he said. “The place filled up about two times over.”
In March and early April, the planting of these new trees will commence with the help of an arborist. Some trees might be planted on South Street, in Galesburg parks, and in community gardens that are getting started in town. Depending on whether there is any money left over after purchasing the trees, the group will decide if there are enough funds to buy some equipment like shovels and gloves. “We can probably find tools if we ask around, in which case the leftover funds would either be put aside for later tree-planting or given to The Center or some other worthwhile cause,” Bouman said.
“It kicked ass – movin’ it, doin’ it,” Bouman said. “I guess Galesburg doesn’t really lack trees, but there’s no harm in there being more.”