William J. Langenberg
I spent a morning at the Kemptville Campus reminiscing the past and discussing its future. I went there with an open mind to learn what the future of this beautiful campus may look like. Well, I can tell you: “This campus is entering a new era as a multi-functional educational hub and that takes time!”
I sat in an office surrounded by foliage plants, which made me feel good. After all, foliage plants reduce my stress levels by 60 percent. It was not easy to go back to a college where I spent well over 30 years of my life teaching horticulture and climatology. This institution became a part of me, and developed me into the person I am today – a ‘culinary herb grower’: “Trying to practice what I preach!”
Over the past few years, while selling herbs at the Kemptville Farmers’ Market, discussions always revolved around Kemptville College.
So this past week I went for an unplanned visit. I had the opportunity to sit down with Patricia Remillard, Project Manager, Kemptville Campus and Community Hub and Cheryl deVries, Kemptville Campus Coordinator. I worked with Cheryl’s father, Bob Gordon, for over 25 years. Bob was the Grounds and Greenhouse Manager. Bob taught me all the stuff that a “well-educated university graduate” does not know. Bob, Ian McLaughlin, our Horticulture Technician, and I did the manual weather data recording, twice-a-day, seven days-a-week, for 365 days-a year at the College for well over 30 years.
Patrica, Cheryl and I exchanged ideas with respect to food production in the class room, which is important within today’s digital generation. Back in the 50s and 60s, we grew our own fruits and vegetables at school in the Netherlands. We were ‘sustainable’ in those days. Today, many young families, of which both parents are working, food is either store-bought or ordered on-line. I have been advocating a return to the 50s, but by using today’s technology. In addition, at the college we talked about foliage plants in the classrooms to improve students’ well-being. Foliage plants, by the way, increase student performance by 15%, reduce stress by 60 % and increase overall well-being by 40%.
I stressed the importance of an institution, which focusses on innovation and well-being. The Kemptville Campus is a perfect location for such an innovative direction.
Half-way during our discussion, Brian Carré, CAO North Grenville, walked in. Brian joined-in with our impromptu discussion, which centered on innovation, education and implementation of the various facets of the new direction this campus is taking. Our discussion was mainly a sharing of our thoughts and feelings.
I felt good when I left the Campus. Now, back at the Kemptville Farmers Market, where I sell my herbs, I am able to give a positive report on the future of our Kemptville Campus. The future looks good!
Important work takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a Day.