Herbicide-Free Brandeis, a student group focused on environmental conservation and the removal of toxic herbicide use on campus, held October Weeding Days where students could go and remove invasive plants and other weeds around campus, according to an Instagram post on their page.
“We will be pulling out invasive/unwanted weeds, getting to know the grounds crew, and learning about the types of plants we have on campus. This is a great way to help promote organic land care and help HFB’s mission of moving away from synthetic herbicides,” according to the caption on the post.
The group had two weeding days, according to the post, held on Oct. 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Oct. 21 from 1:45 p.m. to 3 p.m. Students participating met on the Rabb steps. These two weeding days were the first to be sponsored by the group, according to their Instagram reels.
“No prior knowledge is needed,” according to their post, “just bring a water bottle, closed-toed shoes and prepare to get your hands dirty.”
Student members of the group Charlene Duong ’23 and Nikki Krieger ’23 spoke to The Brandeis Hoot about the club’s goals. Duong said that the club is trying to get more student support and engagement but by hosting events like the weeding days they’re hoping that the hands-on experience will allow them to get more support and collaboration with students.
Duong mentioned that the club collaborated with the university’s groundskeeper Chris Gould to host this event. Herbicide-Free Brandeis hopes to host more weeding days before it gets too cold, said Duong; they also hope to potentially host a planting day. The club has discussed with Colleen Hitchcock (BIOL/ ENVS) the potential of having a planting day in the new pollinator garden by the Rose Art Museum. According to Duong the garden is still in need of mature plants and there is the potential to get students involved in planting them.
“There’s not enough talk about herbicide usage,” Duong said to The Hoot. She continued to say that it isn’t something that people typically think or know about and the club is hoping to change that.
Herbicide-Free Brandeis has held other clean-up events earlier in the semester, according to their page. The group got involved off-campus at the Stony Brook Reservoir, located in Waltham, just outside of campus. Students joined the group to clean up trash left at the reservoir back in September, according to an Instagram post. “It’s very important to make sure that you’re cleaning up after yourself when you enjoy places like the reservoir. Always take everything you brought back with you and leave a place more beautiful than when you found it,” read the caption of the post.
Herbicide-Free Brandeis is a chapter of a national nonprofit organization Herbicide Free Campus, according to their page. The organization pushes for the movement to transition to 100 percent organic land management on college campuses and eliminate the usage of toxic chemicals, according to their page. Herbicide-Free Brandeis was featured on their page for their weeding day event. Herbicide-Free Brandeis launched in March 2021.