The Center for Experiential Learning and Diversity

Ariana Taylor-Stanley

Leadership Scholar

Project: Creating and maintaining a P-patch style community garden for UW residence hall students


arianataylorMy passion for protecting the environment began at an early age. I grew up on Bainbridge Island, and got my first real taste of  leadership running my high school environmental club. In college, I  majored in environmental studies with a minor in Spanish, but spent a lot more of my time leading environmental clubs and working on several urban gardens. I graduated in March of 2009 and am now apprenticing at a small organic farm in my hometown.

I was very fortunate to receive the Mary Gates Leadership Scholarship twice, first for running a compost pilot project in the dorms, and also for creating a student community garden. Both projects were in conjunction with SEED, the residence hall environmental group. The scholarship helped me to prioritize the projects, really focusing my attention on leading them well. I was also forced to consider my role as a leader, and found that my perspective changed after each project. I took more time to stop and reflect than I would have otherwise, which helped me to learn more from what I was doing. Through this, I learned a lot about my own capacities and grew as a leader. I am now better equipped to engage in the work I want to do, advocating for sustainable food systems. I am so grateful for that opportunity.