Sustainable volunteering opportunities at Chatham University for students who are tired of staying inside this fall season

By Anniston Bieri

With the weather getting colder, it’s easy to coop up inside and forget about everything beyond your blanket and pajama pants. However, there’s a lot to do outside before spring. For those looking to get involved and help the environment, here are three volunteer opportunities to help out on campus.

Rain garden tending

If you’ve ever walked along the path past Dilworth, you may have noticed a lush garden patch lined with white stones. This is a rain garden and it does more than look pretty. According to the Three Rivers Rain Garden Alliance, these gardens are constructed to drain runoff from rooftops or paved paths and offer many benefits. They are often filled with native species of wetland plants that absorb rainwater and filter pollutants, which helps prevent erosion, flooding, and water pollution.

Chatham is looking for volunteers to help prune the rain gardens across campus. The event details will be announced at a later time. For those interested, please contact Stacey Enck at [email protected] for more information.

The rain garden sign outside Dilworth

Tree labels for graphic designers

Have you ever noticed the little plaques in the flower beds across campus? Many of the trees, bushes, and flower patches around Chatham have these plaques to label them.

They are there as educational materials to suit the expectations of chatham’s sustainability certifications. In 2012, Chatham became a certified Tree Campus and, this year, a certified Bee campus. These honors recognize the University’s excellent care for the campus trees and the measures taken to strengthen pollinator populations.

If you’ve ever taken a good look at these plaques, you may have noticed that they range in design and information. That’s why Kristen Spirl, Chatham’s Grounds Department manager, is looking for graphic designers who would like to volunteer their time to redesign the campus’s plant labels. For those interested, please email Spirl at [email protected].

Eastside tree planting on Nov. 15th 9–12pm

The Chatham Grounds Department is going to plant 42 trees on Chatham’s Eastside campus this month. This will include thirty large trees, all donated from Tree Pittsburgh, and 13 saplings, which are paid for with a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The planting will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 15. Students should wear closed toe shoes, bring a reusable water bottle, and dress for the weather as it is a rain or shine event. Those interested should sign up on or email Kristen Spirl at [email protected].