How We Build Community
What makes a community? It’s more than just the physical space around us. It’s people who share passions and ideas; a sense of belonging; diversity of thought; a common purpose; and an interpersonal connection. The Ursinus community expands well beyond the reach of 170 acres in Collegeville. It’s comprised of our neighbors, strategic partners, and friends. And each of us has a job to do—collectively—to infuse our sense of common good in all we pursue right here at home, and all around the world. It’s the Ursinus way.
- <section class="large-cta" style="background-image: url('/live/image/gid/118/width/1440/height/730/42198_web_Establishing_Beloved_Community.rev.1664894219.jpg')"><div class="large-cta__overlay"><h3 class="large-cta__headline">Establishing Our Beloved Ursinus Community</h3><div class="large-cta__caption"><a class="btn-link" href="/live/news/7047-establishing-our-beloved-ursinus-community">Learn about our Beloved Community</a></div></div></section>
Rebuilding a Global Community
Working alongside local community members and AmeriCorps volunteers, Ursinus Melrose Fellows traveled to Puerto Rico to assist a nonprofit organization that responds to natural disasters. The fellows rebuilt a family home once damaged by Hurricane Maria. It presented an opportunity for the group to gain an understanding of the work of late Ambassador Joseph Melrose ’66, who “recognized the vital importance of international understanding and intercultural learning,” Associate
Professor of Politics Rebecca Evans said.
Bears For Life
Our graduates share a rally cry—they are “Bears for Life.” Among the multitude of ways they can remain engaged with the college is through the Alumni Council, which was relaunched in 2021. The group currently includes 45 volunteers from across generations who band together to amplify the experience of former and current Bears. And, with a goal of helping to raise the profile and fiscal strength of the college, another group, the Philanthropy Committee, seeks to engage fellow alumni, parents, and friends in conversations about the impact philanthropy has on our students.
Ursinus began a partnership with the Delaware Tribe of Indians and the Perkiomen Valley School District called the Welcome Home Project, which honored the history, culture, and legacy of the Lenape people, who for thousands of years inhabited land now known as Collegeville, Pa. The partnership was strengthened last spring when each party signed a Statement of Mutual Intentions, which commits to taking meaningful actions that raise awareness about the Lenape people.
Growing A More Sustainable Future
Over the past three years, more than 250 trees and shrubs have been planted on two acres of Ursinus land, including pecans, pawpaws, American hazel, and more than a dozen other species, creating a food forest that is multilayered to produce robust nuts, fruits, and berries. The project has been a foundation to the college’s sustainability efforts—one that will last decades into the future. Food forests are specifically designed to produce food in a sustainable way while mimicking the balanced, diverse layered structure and species composition of a forest. More than 30 students have gained hands-on experience with the food forest and 21 “food forest guardians” have helped to maintain the physical site, its website, and its social media presence. The food forest has been supported by funding from the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Donald Whittaker ’77, and Judy Hoak, and resources from the Elizabeth E. Albert ’59 Student Program Fund, which supplements the environmental studies department budget.
Climate and Communication
Louise Woodstock, a professor, gardener, and liberal arts devotee, has a mission to teach “the whole student.” Her field is
media and communication studies, but her focus is embodied learning. For her “Climate and Communications” class this spring, that meant gathering native species from Southeastern Pennsylvania and planting the insect- and bird- supporting verdure outside of Myrin Library. The project, she said, teaches the value of planting native species to support local ecosystems and foster wild environments for tomorrow’s generation of backyard explorers.
Meet a Service Scholar: Olivia Negro ’23
Olivia Negro ’23 has a heartfelt, unequivocal commitment to helping others. It’s that kind of mindset that is critical to mending a society often torn apart by difference. Negro is one of 20 Key into Public Service Scholars selected by Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s most prestigious honor society. “My passion for and interest in democratic governance and civic engagement have given me the perfect outlet through which to practice my belief in paying it forward,” she said.
Making a Global Impact
Driven by her Ukrainian heritage, Christine Heren ’22 has been taking small steps to make a big impact for a country that has suffered eight years of conflict with Russia. She started crafting bracelets and raised more than $2,200 for the Ukrainian Federation of America, a nonprofit in Jenkintown, Pa. “When you see a war going on somewhere, you’re limited in what you can do,” said Heren. “I felt I was in a unique position to be able to help out.”
A Historic Exhibition
Many Ursinus alumni are familiar with the storied collection of rocks and minerals that are on display in Pfahler Hall. What they might not know is that the collection also includes some 250 unique Native American artifacts from the late E. Lee Porter ’35; they are now being documented by Juliana Valerio ’24. Valerio’s research project aims to appropriately acknowledge and potentially return them to their native tribes. “They have cultural and historical value,” Valerio said. “Every marking tells a story about where the artifact has been.”