Students Ameira and Charlie holding their home grown vegetables

Kent Stars: Green-thumbed Gardeners

This month’s Kent Stars are Kent Community Oasis Garden Ambassadors Charlie and Ameira. They help mentor students, host events and promote the garden on social media, all with the aim to make the space as welcoming and friendly as possible. Hear from Charlie and Ameira:

Charlie – “Hi, I’m Charlie (he/they)! I’m a third year Politics student. When I’m not studying, I spend all the time I can at the community garden or cooking nice warm meals with the vegetables we harvest.”

Ameira – “Hi!! I’m Ameira (she/her) and I’m a third year English Literature student!! All my friends know not to bother me on Wednesdays or Fridays because I will be at the garden and I spend the rest of my free time with friends, reading or playing board games.”

Charlie and Ameira smiling by the Kent COG sign

Tell us about the Kent Community Oasis Garden and what you get up to as a KentCOG Ambassador.

Both – “KentCOG is a partnership project between the University of Kent and East Kent Mind, a mental health charity. It’s a lovely space for students, staff, and community members to learn and practice sustainable gardening, and socialise. We thrive to create a space that’s open and respectful of everyone, and also the natural habitats and biodiversity on site. We want this space to not only be about gardening but also about connecting and enjoying yourself with nature.

Even in winter, there’s always things to do in the garden, both outside and inside. There’s usually plants to care for, bulb planting, maintenance to do around the garden (weeding, bark chipping, dead hedging, etc) arts and crafts activities, and we start planting seeds in February. 

As student ambassadors, we aim to participate in making this space welcoming for our fellow students, as well as work on social media outreach and represent the student volunteers in management meetings. We want to make sure each student feels safe and heard at the garden!”

Ameira jokingly feeding Charlie their home grown vegetables

What advice would you give to other students?

Both – “Make time for yourself to spend time around nature! It’s so beneficial for your mental health. We really recommend coming to the garden, even for just a little bit of time. There’s always a variety of activities to do, from planting to harvesting to more hands-on garden management. It’s also a great opportunity to socialise if you want to. If you don’t know anything about gardening, don’t let that stop you! There’s always time to learn any skill from scratch.”

What are your plans for the next year?

Ameira – “I’m still at the stage where I’m trying to figure myself out but I’m most likely staying in academia for a little while longer to pursue a master’s degree! Feeling very sad that I won’t be around KentCOG but I’m always going to find time to come down even after I graduate from Kent.”

Charlie – “I’m a bi-diplome student between Kent and Sciences Po Lille, a university in France, so I’m leaving Kent at the end of the year. I hope to restart an abandoned garden project in the school building’s yard to keep the passion going!”

The Kent Community Oasis Garden is located near the end of Park Wood at our Canterbury campus. KentCOG is open on Wednesdays and Fridays 10:00-14:00. Students, staff and the local community are invited to attend these open gardening sessions, no experience necessary.

Do you know an inspirational student or student group? Let us know.

Learn more about the Kent Stars campaign.