Campus Sustainability

Rice U Holistic Garden Sees Sustainability Upgrades

At Rice University in Houston, Texas, the Betty and Jacob Friedman Holistic Garden recently received a solar upgrade and other improvements courtesy of the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club. The club awarded the university a $77,000 grant to add an on-site solar array, a greenhouse, rainwater harvesting systems, and composting capabilities, as well as a butterfly garden, an apiary (beekeeping facility), and a chicken house project.

“Improvements supported by the gift from the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club have made the garden a leading example of sustainability and will benefit diverse communities at the University and in the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Rice University’s dean of the Wiess School of Natural Sciences, Thomas Killian. “This reinforces our commitment to strengthening connections with the environment and the broader community.”

The garden was built in 2018 and covers 2.5 acres. It falls under the umbrella of the Biosciences Department, and its original purpose was to teach and promote gardening techniques. It’s open to Rice students and members of the larger Houston community—anyone with an interest in horticulture and improving their gardening technique. Workshops on how to organically produce vegetables, fruits, and herbs lead up to a twice-annual vegetable and herb plant sale.

The Green Mountain Energy Sun Club, established in 2002, serves as the sustainability initiative for electricity provider Green Mountain Energy. Its goal is to promote energy efficiency and sustainability, as well as resource conservation and environmental stewardship, through grants and nonprofit partnerships.

“By supporting Rice University’s sustainability efforts, Green Mountain Energy is helping scale the use of renewable energy while supporting a teaching garden that is improving our city and our lives,” said Mark Parsons, Green Mountain Energy’s vice president and general manager.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].