Roots at Rhodes, a student organization on campus dedicated to gardening and the study of plants, was presented the Mike Kirby Service Award at the annual meeting of the Vollintine Evergreen Community Association (VECA) held in January. The award—established in 2015 and named in honor of retired Rhodes urban studies professor Dr. Mike Kirby—recognizes volunteers who have rendered exceptional service to the association.
VECA supports the historic Vollintine Evergreen neighborhood, which is located near the Rhodes campus and includes the V&E Greenline—a vibrant nature trail consisting of a station house, garden area, and art sculptures. Annually, the V&E Artwalk brings together artist booths, live music, and food vendors for a fun-filled event for the community.
Roots worked throughout 2022 volunteering in the community garden and at events such as Earth Day and Art Walk, in addition to attending Greenline committee meetings. Club members volunteer weekly along the Greenline at two different gardens, learning gardening skills from neighbors. Through weeding, watering, mulching, and general maintenance, they were integral to the revitalization of the Memorial Shade Garden outside Kirby Station. Additionally, club members donate their time to some of the Greenline's largest events, providing hospitality, supporting fundraising endeavors, and advocating for sustainable living and gardening practices.
“Over the past year, about 15 students have volunteered in the Greenline gardens through Roots,” says Rhodes senior and Roots president Elizabeth Mueller. " A couple people in VECA have really helped me integrate the club into the community over the past year, and they have been most welcoming to our students . . . This spring, we hope to introduce more students to the fulfilling and rewarding opportunities that lie just across the street from campus.”