LUCAP’s new project

Loyola’s service organization green lights environmental work


PHOTO BY Kylee McIntyre

Lauren Saizan

The Loyola University Community Action Program plans to enlighten campus about environmental sustainability with its new project.

LUCAP will partner with Greenlight New Orleans in an upcoming project in which Loyola students go out in to the community, provide more efficient lighting and build gardens.

The project originally started as a mission to replace incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient ones.

“Greenlight’s founder, Andreas Hoffman, started the organization as a way to reduce the carbon footprint. Whichever city he was in, his band would supply fluorescent light bulbs to that community,” Political Science Senior and LUCAP Chairperson Jacqueline Joseph said.

Since LUCAP lacked an environment-related project this year, Joseph saw the perfect opportunity to connect LUCAP to the community while reducing the carbon footprint.

Hoffman said that, since Greenlight New Orleans has experienced so much success with the lightbulbs, the organization plans to expand their mission to include building community gardens.

“It’s an expansion on the same concept,” Hoffman said. “The two projects will work in parallel.”

Hoffman said he was thrilled to see college students take interest.

“We’re really looking forward to working with LUCAP,” Hoffman said.

Environmental Science Sophomore and Project Leader Destiny Karash-Givens first pitched the project to LUCAP after recognizing the lack of green projects under LUCAP.

“We’ll go do outreach first and then we’ll find someone to build a garden for,” Karash-Givens said.

Karash-Givens also said the project involves a strong level of commitment.

“It’s a long term process, so the students commit for four years to keep up with their garden,” Karash-Givens said.

Joe Deegan, LUCAP adviser, said that Karash-Givens, like many LUCAP project leaders, came to LUCAP with an idea, which the LUCAP executive board helped to develop into a proposal. Finally, the project was voted in by the executive board and all existing project leaders.

“Greenlight became a LUCAP project, because Destiny came to LUCAP with a great idea,” Deegan said. “Destiny’s proposal had everything that we look for in a service project: strong, direct volunteer service opportunities; a highly capable partner agency with a track record of success; and a committed student leader.”

Deegan said that a key point that spoke to LUCAP was the part Greenlight New Orleans played in helping alleviate the food desert problem in parts of New Orleans. A food desert is a geographical area where nutritious food is not available, particularly to those who do not have a transport vehicle.

“LUCAP is committed to social justice, and we believe that food deserts are a justice issue. Greenlight works with New Orleanians to build backyard vegetable gardens so they have access to fresh, healthy foods right at home,” Deegan said.

Karash-Givens said that project not only helps Orleans Parish residents but also benefits the environment.

“Building gardens in people’s backyards promotes sustainability, and it prevents you from having to go to the grocery store all the time because you can grow your own plants,” Karash-Givens said.

Now rooted to the new project, LUCAP plans to start at the beginning of the Fall 2014 semester. Project participants will go out to the New Orleans community on Saturday afternoons to build the gardens and cultivate the community, said Joseph.

Kylee McIntyre contributed to this story.