November 05, 2019
On a normal day, most college students go to classes, eat and maybe go to practice or club meetings before starting their homework and repeating the cycle all over again. But for Stephanie Clouser ’21, a biomedical sciences major from Madisonburg, Pennsylvania, her days include something else — time spent with woolly friends as our student shepherdess.
Clouser helps tend the sheep who roam our solar array maintaining the grass. Her responsibilities include making sure the sheep are all present and healthy, checking their water line, feeding them grain and ensuring they have enough pasture to frolic in. She also assists the farmer from Owens Farm in catching the sheep when they need vaccines.
“I grew up showing sheep in 4-H and I raised sheep on my farm when I was younger, so I am already familiar with how sheep function,” Clouser says.
Through her role as student shepherdess, Clouser hopes to help to build a more sustainable agriculture model, one of her post-graduation goals as well.
“Agriculture is essential for life, but it’s not the most sustainable thing,” says Clouser.
Clouser grew up on a farm planting her own garden for fruits and veggies, as well as raising her own meat.
“The way I was brought up has really made me aware of letting other people know that this lifestyle is achievable,” she says.
Clouser also noted that being more sustainable doesn’t have to be a huge step for most people.
“When I buy milk at the grocery store, I look to see if it has the number 42 on the bottom of the container. If it does, that means it’s from Pennsylvania, so I’m buying local milk,” she says.
“Even I am not perfectly sustainable. A good place to start is educating yourself. Even if you’re buying something from the store, know where it comes from and the options that are there for you.”
In addition to her work with the sheep, as one of our campus garden coordinators, Clouser helps to manage the seven other garden employees, runs the garden’s Instagram and assists in recruiting more passionate students to the garden.