Innovation Fund 2022: Cardinal Kids

Wesleyan students from a range of majors and interests – all with shared interests in utilizing resources in innovative ways to positively impact the greater Middletown community – applied to the Student Innovation Fund.  The fund provided up to $750 for projects that prioritized:

  • Collaboration between student groups, faculty/staff, and/or community partners.
  • Investigation of the impact of our civic engagement efforts.
  • Sharing of ideas and learnings in civic engagement on campus and beyond.

Jack Vigue ’25, Saoirse Lewis ’22, and Zoe Austin ’22 coordinate Cardinal Kids: 

This semester we used the innovation fund to help buy supplies for our gardening club. With the funds, we were able to buy numerous vegetables, herbs, as well as mushroom and butterfly kits. We created a garden in the front of the schools, which the kids will continue to take care of. The kids had so much fun creating the garden; mapping out the layout, requesting plants to grow, and prepping the soil for planting. With the innovation fund we were able to create a more enriching experience for the students, and will hopefully create a lasting garden that the kids will continue to contribute to.

We didn’t experience any challenges related to budget, as it really allowed us more freedom to acquire plants and supplies we knew the kids would enjoy. Our only challenges were general difficulties related to gardening in early spring, as the weather prevented some of our plants from sprouting when we initially expected them to.

Our advice to those interested in getting involved with the greater Middletown community is to get familiar with the variety of programs hosted through the JCCP office and email coordinators whose programs you’d like to get involved with. There are so many amazing programs to choose from, and I would recommend trying out whichever ones sound interesting. Working with the greater Middletown community has greatly enriched our experience at Wesleyan, and we can’t imagine our college life without Cardinal Kids.