Greater Allegheny to create garden experience

April 29, 2015

A group from Penn State Greater Allegheny is creating a garden that will serve as a “gateway” to the campus. The group is looking for students, staff, faculty or anyone from the community who would like to help with the project. 

The Greater Allegheny Garden Experience (EnGAGE) will next meet to work on the garden from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 15 and again from 9 a.m. to noon May 29, at the site, which is located at the Broadway Avenue entrance to campus (near Giant Eagle), just off of O’Neill Boulevard. Refreshments and tools will be provided.

The garden is sponsored by a ReClaim grant from GTECH (Growth Through Energy and Community Health), which funded ten areas throughout McKeesport. According to the GTECH website, ReClaim McKeesport is a year-long education program that assists community members in implementing change on vacant land. In McKeesport alone, there are more than 2,500 vacant lots.

Alandra Kahl, instructor in engineering and ReClaim ambassador, said, “I’m so excited to give my students the opportunity to be involved through the ReClaim project. I want to create a community gathering space on campus. My hope is to foster collaboration between the campus and the community.”

The project’s theme is “En-GAGE.” April Belback, campus ACE Student Support Services program director, said, “We chose ‘En-GAGE’ because it could mean to engage in community service, or having the students engage in the space.  We hope that students will have meetings in the garden space or just hang out in the peaceful, beautiful area.”

More than 20 students have signed up to help, including a group of engineering students, the men’s soccer team, and students from the ACE program. “We would like to see more people signed up to help.  We welcome anyone from the community who is interested in helping to beautify this space,” said Kahl.

The space, designed by local landscape architects and GTECH will include perennials that are native to Pennsylvania.  The space will include some ground cover, a flower border and large boulders for seating. 

The group also is looking to include some art. If you are an individual or class that is interested in contributing to the space, contact Kahl at or Belback at

  • student digging in grass
    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 29, 2015