Scarlet & Brown Stories

Sonja Jensen '19

August 09, 2021 St. Lawrence University Season 1 Episode 3
Sonja Jensen '19
Scarlet & Brown Stories
More Info
Scarlet & Brown Stories
Sonja Jensen '19
Aug 09, 2021 Season 1 Episode 3
St. Lawrence University

This month we’re all about food! Sonja Jensen ’19 shares her journey through SLU PIC to her current role at GardenShare (, working with local farmers and farmers’ markets here in St. Lawrence County.  If you want learn more about the North Country and why some alumni stick around, start here!

Show Notes Transcript

This month we’re all about food! Sonja Jensen ’19 shares her journey through SLU PIC to her current role at GardenShare (, working with local farmers and farmers’ markets here in St. Lawrence County.  If you want learn more about the North Country and why some alumni stick around, start here!

Amelia:  Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of Scarlet & Brown Stories. This is Amelia Jantzi, your host and assistant director of Laurentian engagement with my cohost, Beth Dixon.

Beth:  Hi. I'm so excited to be back for yet another episode of Scarlet & Brown Stories. Today, we're going to be chatting with Sonya Jensen, who's class of 2019, and she has a really interesting story as a young alum, someone who recently graduated a couple of years ago. She did the SLU PIC internship program, which we'll talk a little bit more in the interview about. And that translated into her first job and her desire to stay connected to the North Country, and be a Laurentian who wants to make a difference in the North Country at a nonprofit organization.

Amelia:  That's so cool. This is a great interview everyone, and I can't wait to share it with you. But I've been thinking a lot about the impact that St. Lawrence has had on St. Lawrence County and with the history that's there, especially now that I'm on campus more and walk around campus. And so I was just doing some digging of the history of St. Lawrence, and there's so much there. And so we have two buildings that are on the National Register of Historic Places. I have to say, Beth, all right, alum check.

Beth:  Okay.

Amelia:  If you had to guess, which two buildings are they?

Beth:  Okay, well, listen, I'm probably like... I'm so prepared for this question. Because I was an admissions tour guide, and now they call them admissions ambassadors. So I do know this, that it's the first two buildings that were on campus, Richardson Hall, as well as Herring-Cole.

Amelia:  Yay. We have a winner. But yes, there's just so much there. And it's really interesting to see people like Sonya who are continuing the legacy of being Laurentian that are creating positive change in St. Lawrence County. So should we jump right in?

Beth:  Yeah, I think we should jump right in. This is a great interview and I hope you all appreciate everything that Sonja Jensen has to say. Welcome.

Sonja:  Oh, thanks for having me. I'm so excited. I'm honored to be a guest and so happy to see you both.

Beth:  We're so happy to see you too. Sonja also had some wonderful opportunities working across campus when you were a student, right?

Sonja:  Yes. I did a lot on campus and had quite a few jobs.

Amelia:  It sounds like you basically did everything that you could do.

Sonja:  I did not shy away from the opportunities that St. Lawrence presented me with. I tried to do little bit of everything. By senior year I'd narrowed down and sort of found my niches. But I worked as a community assistant for my sophomore and my senior year. And I was also the reunion intern for the office of the Laurentian engagement. That's how I know all you lovely folks.

Beth:  A huge help you were too, so thank you very, very much. That's a huge job.

Sonja:  I loved it. It was so great. I had a ton of fun. I loved working reunions. I worked a reunion every year that I was on campus and had a ton of fun doing all the jobs.

Beth:  In a shorter list to say, what didn't you do when you were at St. Lawrence?

Sonja:  Right?

Beth:  But I also can identify with wanting to work reunion every year. I not only worked reunion when I was a student for the four years as a van driver, I also worked the fifth year when I was like a part-time admissions interviewer, where I was like, can I drive vans again?

Sonja:  I love that. I know, like if COVID wasn't happening, I was going to send the text message to Amanda and ask if I could come back and do the vans. I also did vans and golf carts and had such a blast every year.

Beth:  It's a great way to meet all the alums and such that are there.

Sonja:  Oh my God, yeah. I made a lot of great connections through reunion. Not only the alums, but also like some of the student workers are like really close friends that I never crossed paths with them before working reunion. And now, still buds.

Amelia:  Nice. What is one of your most memorable moments from van driving or a golf cart driving? There's gotta be some good ones.

Sonja:  Oh my gosh. Yeah, definitely. Yeah, there was a time. It was the last day of reunion and I was scheduled to drive a van down to Syracuse, the Syracuse airport, and was driving with a friend Morgan Rosser. Shout out Morgan. And she had never been down to the Syracuse airport and I'm from Binghamton. So I drive 81 all the time and I was like, oh, you can follow me. And we went down and of course there was like massive construction in Syracuse and it was pouring rain. And so I'm like so confident we're going to get to the airport. And then they have the lane changes. And I had forgotten that one of my alums was going to the bus station and I had a station in my phone for the GPS. And so we like totally missed our exit to the airport and just took a little jaunt around Syracuse. We had fun with it. We saw the sites, no one was late. Everyone made it on time. But it was a bonding moment for sure, with everyone on that van. It was a ton of fun.

Amelia:  Oh my goodness. Yeah, that sounds like a harrowing tale with a happy ending.

Beth:  I was going to say the harrowing tale, well I have another one, which we won't disclose here, but I had a harrowing tale of turning, we to have these posts, these brown posts at the top of the quad. And I found that turning left on a van, you couldn't quite see where you were going. And I scraped the entire side of one of our vans. I think it was like the third year that I was driving. Dennis Morreale at the time was was my boss. I'm sure he's reminded of how I once had to tell security, "I'm sorry. I ruined the side of a van."

Sonja:  It was always a fun time though. Nick Purcell and I, and a couple other kids that were big in the golf cart groups, if you want to say it like that, we developed a little safety course that we did with people for the golf carts. Our senior year, we put up cones in the Whitman parking lot and had people drive around, do slalom turns with the cones and then back into a spot. And we made other people ride around so they could feel what it was like to be a passenger. And my favorite was you're not supposed to leave your keys in the golf cart, and so I would leave a Gatorade bottle somewhere and I was like, oh yeah, can you just grab that Gatorade bottle for me? I just left it over there.

Sonja:  You're done with the tests, don't worry about it. And then everyone left their keys in the golf cart and I was like, ha ha. That was another test, and I would steal the golf cart from them. And everyone learned to take their keys out. Amanda, I'm not sure if you knew that, but we had fewer incidents that year of keys left in the golf cart.

Beth:  Was this security approved?

Sonja:  Security does show the safety video that Nick Purcell and Cooper McCrillis and I made. A couple of other kids were involved. I think they show it or somebody shows it. Joe definitely shows it.

Beth:  That's amazing, because I remember when I was a student trying to get golf cart certified, they showed a video from University of Florida. My favorite part about that was they said don't drive the golf carts on the freeway. And I was like, first of all, there is no freeway around Canton, New York. Secondly, I just thought the idea of having a golf cart on route 11 would be akin to running into an Amish buggy or something.

Sonja:  Probably faster than some tractors.

Amelia:  Yeah. But speaking of North Country life, after graduation, you stuck around. Can you tell us a little bit about that story?

Sonja:  So I did SLU PIC with GardenShare, which is where I work now. I'm the outreach coordinator for GardenShare, and I also manage the Canton farmer's market. And I was in a SLU PIC with GardenShare right after graduation. So the summer of 2019, and a couple of weeks into that job, they had told me there was a position open for an AmeriCorps Vista with them and asked if I wanted it. And I was like, sure, I had nothing else going on. So I decided to take it and was thankfully able to take it and not take too big of a hit to my bank account, because I lived with the wonderful Sarah Coburn from career services. They let me rent a room in their house in exchange for some dogs sitting and occasional making sure their kids were safe. I stayed up here, so I lived in Canton for a year with them, and then moved up to Potsdam back last August with two other St. Lawrence alums. We were all class of 2019, Nula Woods and Matt Atkins.

Sonja:  They're a good friends of mine. We were all sociology majors together and ended up here. And we're absolutely loving it. We like to say that Potsdam is the new Burlington. So it's been really great. I love the North Country. I was fortunate enough to spend three summers up here while I was a student. Like, clearly couldn't get enough. So this is my second year. So 2019, June of 2019 is when I started with GardenShare. Now we're June 2021. So it's been a while and it's been really great. People always say there's not a lot to do in the North Country, but-

Amelia:  They just aren't being creative.

Sonja:  Yes. I have a ton of fun. I go for a lot of walks. That's one of my favorite things about Potsdam and just North Country is how walkable Potsdam is, but also how easy it is to take a hike and escape into nature and see really, really spectacular sites. Even just going to Heritage Park in Canton, it's like you're in another world away from Main Street. So yeah, it's definitely a plus for me as a nature lover to stay up here.

Amelia:  I'd love to hear a little bit more about the kind of work that you're doing, but before we do that, I want to jump back and talk a little bit about SLU PIC, because Beth, I believe that you've been involved on the more logistical side of things.

Beth:  I have, yeah.

Amelia:  So if you want to fill in a little bit of what SLU PIC means for people who don't know.

Beth:  Sure. I'm going to talk a little bit just about SLU PIC, but then I want to hear Sonja, what your experience was because clearly it translated well, but SLU PIC is a program that started I believe in 2015 where basically the university uses funds to align our student interns with nonprofits and NGOs in the North Country who could use an intern or help who maybe wouldn't normally have the funds in order to do so. So they have a summer internship where they're going to be working on a project or projects that would help bring the organization to the next level that's sustainable after that intern is gone.

Beth:  So in the fall, we open up applications to these different NGOs and nonprofits in the North Country and a committee that involves a lot of different alums and staff members from across campus, which I happened to be a part of, review those applications, and then we make the selections of which sites will be available for the summer. And then in February, typically that is when the students apply for the various different sites. They can apply for one site, multiple sites. And then we interview every student that applies because we think it's important and it's a learning opportunity to make sure that we can give feedback to students, both positive and constructive, or even things like, hey, your resume may need a look over from career excellence. Go to the center for excellence and work with them.

Beth:  And then from there, second interviews will take place with the site. And then they make the selections of the interns that work with them for the summer. And we provide a stipend for the students, as well as housing in the townhouses for the summer. They have kind of a community learning opportunity and also get to work in the North Country. And Sonja, you were talking about how important exploring the North Country is. A lot of students don't get the opportunity to explore Canton in the North Country in the summer. So I think that a lot of people, whether they are their admissions interns or doing fellowships or research over the summer, SLU PIC interns really have this unique opportunity to explore everything that the North Country has to offer when the weather is nice.

Sonja:  Yes, definitely. The work that I did there, I came on and they were working on a project looking at what summer meals sites were available for kids up here. With such a large county, it can be hard to make sure that everyone in the summer without the constant busing to and from school, once school gets out it can be a big challenge for families to get the food access that they typically have during the summer for their students. So I was looking at what options were available for families for summer meal options. If there were summer schools that were in session, how folks could take advantage of that and essentially identifying what gaps were left. And it was a great project. I also did a lot of local food guide delivering.

Sonja:  And that was one of, I think the best experiences I had as a SLU PIC. Not that I didn't enjoy doing my summer meal research, but it was a little depressing just seeing how much work needs to still get done up here. But I delivered food guides which if you don't know, GardenShare puts out a resource every year that lists all the farmer's markets, farm stands. U-pick's, restaurants that source local food, stores that source local food. And then all the different ways that programs that we offer that make global food affordable, and we make that available. You see them all over, and we try to get them as many places a week as we can. So I delivered them from everywhere from down in Star Lake to Morristown and up to Akwesasne. I saw all of the Lawrence county that summer and it was a ton of fun.

Sonja:  I just popped in, I got to chat with business owners and farmers and just a ton of really great people and made a ton of connections that way that have helped now that I actually work at GardenShare. There are some people that I met delivering food guides that I'm like, "Hey, do you remember me? I need your help doing something in Ogdensburg." And they're like, "Yeah, for sure. I remember, it was great chatting with you." So yeah, that was a really great part of the project. Like Beth said, they're all project-based. They help organizations in the area with basically a project that their regular staff don't have the bandwidth for that they would love to get done. And so a student can come in and help them out. Help take a little bit off the plate of the staff members, which is a really great help.

Sonja:  So I was happy to do that work at GardenShare and happy that I got to explore. I did a lot of exploring through work, but then also on my own. There's such a great community at the townhouses in the summer. And especially getting to live with other SLU PIC students. It's just really fun. We get to talk about what we're up to. There was one day I remember a friend Zach Larkin, he was doing a SLU PIC with the renewal house and one of the other SLU PIC students, she was working at the children's museum. So she had to work Saturdays and we all had Saturdays off and Zach and I were like, let's go visit. So we went up and hung out at the children's museum and got to see where our other SLU PIC person was working.

Sonja:  And then we went and played mini golf at Swing Time mini golf, and had such a great time. And it was really cool getting an inside look at a lot of the different organizations up here, especially there's a lot of collaboration that happens up here. Just the nature of things. Like there's a lot of non-profits that work together, or that should work together because they have similar interests. Being able to just hang out and eat dinners outside and chat about what we're working on and what needs organization has. And like maybe how, oh, I see that the children's museum could partner with GardenShare to do kids' activities with the farmer's market and present those ideas. It was just a really fun and collaborative environment that I loved being a part of.

Beth:  And then your work shifted as you moved from being a SLU PIC intern into the AmeriCorps Vista program, right? And then you shifted again when you came on full time, right?

Sonja:  Yeah. So I was only an AmeriCorps Vista for like two weeks. Another position opened up here as the outreach coordinator. So I shifted again pretty soon after I started up here. And I was able to join full time. So as part of AmeriCorps, their work is focused primarily on capacity building. So developing resources. Not a lot of direct service, which is fine, and definitely something that's needed for the organization, but I tend to thrive more-

Beth:  You're a people person.

Sonja:  I am a people person. Yeah, I love to be the one that answered the phone and be like, yeah I can help you with that, and find the resource that they need and all that stuff. So I shifted more into direct service, a lot of working with different organizations in the North Country and working with individuals to let them know what things are out there. Where is your nearest farm stand? How do you use tokens at the farmer's market if you don't have cash or if you're on SNAP, like how do you do all these things? So I focused a lot more on consumer education and community awareness of what we do and how to access all the food that's grown up here.

Sonja:  So I have really enjoyed my new position and I'm also very much enjoying my latest shift into managing the Canton farmer's market. It has been really fun. I do the token program. So if you are without cash, or if you're on SNAP, you can swipe your card at the market manager's table, which is the one that I staff. And you get tokens to use with the farmers, which helps make those non-cash payments a lot more accessible for farmers that are either older or don't want to get into the whole E commerce Square reader type of business themselves. So yeah, a wooden token? I'll take that.

Amelia:  What else goes into managing the Canton farmer's market?

Sonja:  So I make sure all the vendors know exactly what's expected of them, what our rules are at the market. I do vendor recruitment. If people are interested in signing up, I give them all the information they need. I do the placement, that's if you're in Canton and you're coming around to the farmer's market, you'll notice where we're playing around with some of the placements right now. The fence that was previously enclosing the fountain is finally gone and up and running after like five years of nothing. They've been doing a ton of construction on it and we had the unveiling ceremony on Friday, so there's water in the fountain, and it's very nice. But it's opened up a lot more space at the market for us. So we're playing around with where people are going to make it the best experience for the customers and for the vendors themselves.

Sonja:  So I do a lot of thinking about where people should go and who it makes sense to be next to each other. What sort of flow of traffic we want, and then I also just make sure that people get paid and that the customers know that they can use their card and how they can use it. And I do a lot of coordination with local nonprofits that want to set up and do customer outreach and education at the market. So we just had WIC distributing checks and the veteran's office doing some other checks distributions for purchasing at the farmer's market. But sometimes we also have the health initiative doing sunscreen and health insurance education. And the headstart programs want to reach out to families at the market. So it's been really great getting to see that post-COVID because during COVID a lot of restrictions on who could be at the market and there was a lot of like, oh, no, only vendors, nobody else. So seeing the market be a real community space and a chance for people to get connected with resources again in person has been really, really magical to watch.

Beth:  You mentioned that this is a real community effort and clearly it really is. And one of the things that I've always noticed when I would go to the market is that I would see so many different people who are connected to the St Lawrence community, whether they're faculty and staff members, students, alums, parents, this has turned into such a wonderful community effort. Do you think this is a wonderful way that St Lawrence has potentially... Not that St Lawrence University itself has engaged and given back to the community, but its members are engaging with the community.

Sonja:  Oh yeah, definitely. I see professors all the time. I see students shopping all the time and one of the best things for me is that we're fortunate enough that KDS, Kappa Delta Sigma, which is a local sorority, gets that freedom of choosing a local organization for their philanthropy, and they chose GardenShare. I often have KDS girls, the sisters, come down and help run the table, so I can go around and talk to the vendors. And they also give back to GardenShare all the time. That has been a really cool connection with St. Lawrence. I always love telling people I feel like sororities often have their national chapter that tells them which organization they're affiliated with. And we've got this local one that's such a cool story to begin with. And then they also are like directly having an impact in the community and giving back and they're actively connected with us. There are St. Lawrence folks that come to the market all the time. And I actually have this SLU Fanny pack that I use. And everyone's always like, "Did you go to St. Lawrence? Oh, I teach there," "Oh, my daughter goes there." Or, "Oh, I work there," and it's so fun to have that connection as well. Although I also get, "Do you go there?" Not anymore.

Amelia:  You're going to get that easily for another 10 years. You might have a few years underneath your belt of getting that. Just be thankful it's college that they're asking. And it'll hold you well in your thirties. This is what my mom always tells me. So Sonya, did you go to the farmer's market when you were a student?

Sonja:  Yes, I did. That was one of the perks of being here for the summers on campus was that I got to experience the farmer's market. They usually try to start mid May, but that's finals week. So I never went when I was actively in school, but once the summer was there, it was like such a nice thing to do on my lunch break. I would just go down and get a plant for my dorm room or get some fruit and sometimes they sell wine, so get a little treat for the weekend. So I was definitely a shopper and it was nice when I started working at GardenShare for SLU PIC. I got toured around the market and got training on the token programs. And that's one of the big things that we do.

Sonja:  And people there recognized me and they're like, oh, you've shopped here before. And I was like, yeah, I have. Which was really nice. The vendors definitely remember who is a frequent flyer at the market. And most of them will try to learn your name and remember what you were looking for last week or if they sold you something, they'll be like, oh, I set some aside for you this week.

Amelia:  Do you have a favorite vendor, or are you allowed to say that?

Sonja:  Oh no, they're all my favorites. Well, I won't say they are my favorites, but a favorite addition has been we've got two food trucks now. Nice to have a lunch option at the market. Especially for the vendors, they can get lunch and not have to leave the park, which has been very nice. Everyone brings a little something different and it wouldn't be the market without everybody that comes. So I'm happy to have them all there.

Beth:  I can't wait to see how it grows. And even though I've just moved to New York City for my role, it's something that I look forward to coming back and it runs well into the fall, doesn't it?

Sonja:  Oh, yeah, we go until the end of October, the last Friday of October.

Beth:  Well, I will make make sure I get up there before the end of October and stop by the market, try to find your smiling face and explore everything that all the vendors have to offer.

Sonja:  Yeah, for sure.

Beth:  I'm really curious, you've talked a little bit about how much you've loved being in the North Country in the summer and getting out in nature and really appreciating that sort of unique North Country flavor that life has here, but I'm curious. Is there anything that you'd wish you'd known before deciding to live in the North Country as a graduate? Or you knew what you were getting into?

Sonja:  I think I knew what I was getting into thanks to the summers that I spent on campus. But yeah, the first year I moved up here was definitely a little bit lonely. It is interesting being a very young adult in the North Country and trying to make friends. Everyone's either actively a student or much older. There's not a ton of young people, although I think that's changing. And it might've been just like COVID and the abundance of students sort of overtaking the other young adults that were at the bar or out and about. But I have noticed a lot more young people staying in the North Country and even SLU students that got apartments in Potsdam and stayed during the COVID. And it's been really great to see that and to see more young people stay either after college or come up here, either returning because they grew up here and then wanting to come back or staying because they went to school here. It's been nice seeing people stay.

Beth:  Do you think you would have been, so like if your freshman self had been told that you were going to be working for GardenShare after graduation, how do you think she would have reacted?

Sonja:  My freshman self? I'm not sure. My sophomore self probably would not have been surprised. Sarah Coburn who works in the Center for Career Excellence, I was talking with her because I lived with her and I was like, I really am the perfect poster child because I did a link mentorship my sophomore year with Gloria McAdam, the former director of GardenShare my sophomore year. And then junior year was involved, like going to the farmer's market, I used to stop by the table and a good friend of mine was their SLU PIC intern that year. So I stayed involved and connected a little bit. And then senior year I did the SLU PIC with them and then stayed. So I've had a connection with GardenShare for a long time.

Sonja:  And actually in my FIP, Paul Graham's Secret Life of Food class, one of my favorite classes I've taken on campus, he's also very involved with GardenShare and made us do for extra credit points, made us do their 5k that they do. So I've been involved with GardenShare for a long time, like basically since I came up to St. Lawrence. So I think she wouldn't have been surprised, but yeah, it's definitely been an interesting chain of events. It's all led culminated in my full-time job here.

Beth:  You just mentioned that you were part of the link mentorship program and I would love for you to explain a little bit about what that experience is and what it meant to you as a sophomore.

Sonja:  Yeah. I am so thankful to Sarah. I had heard about the link mentor program, the link program, and I didn't really know if it was for me. It seemed to be for people that knew what career field they wanted to go into and needed a connection in that field to start their networking. And I had no idea what I wanted to do and no idea even what career path I wanted. I at that time was still a chemistry major and had no idea what I was doing. I quickly switched to sociology. But I had no idea what I wanted to do. And it seemed to be a program for people that did know, but I remember it was probably 11:00, like the night that it was due, like at midnight.

Sonja:  And I was like, you know what? Worst thing that could happen is they just turned me down and then I'm in the same position as I was if I didn't submit it. So I filled out the application and it was just sort of like, I really don't know if this is the program for me. I don't know what I want to do with my life. I just know that these are some of my interests and that's that. Thanks in advance for consideration. I really had no idea what was going to come of it, but I submitted it. I probably submitted it at like 11:59 the night it was due. But Sarah had got back to me and she was like, I actually think I have the perfect person for you. It's this alum. She runs a local nonprofit that works a lot with farmers and food, like justice work.

Sonja:  And I was like, oh, that sounds amazing. I'd love to know her. And so I got connected with Gloria and it was a very chill experience. I was sort of like, yeah, I just want to know more about what it's like to work at a nonprofit and what it's like to work here in St. Lawrence county. I think it's a really great place and I'd love to know more about what it's like to live and work here. And we chatted a lot. At that time in my life, I was very disenchanted with the volunteer work that I had been able to do at SLU. It just sort of felt like I wasn't... I had just grown as a person and realized that the volunteer work that I had done in high school and that I continued doing a bit at SLU, it was sort of like, oh, this volunteer work is always available and what does that say about the help that I'm actually giving? I want to be working towards more sustainable solutions, more long-term solutions. I want to be playing the long game. I want to be doing things that are going to have an actual impact and not just sort of feel good activities that are fun and that help in the short term, but-

Beth:  You want to treat the wound, not put a bandaid on it.

Sonja:  Yeah. And she had a very similar philosophy and it was just a really great experience getting to hear from someone who also, I think, went through similar sort of shift in mentality and shift in values of like, okay, yeah, I'm done. I'm done putting the bandaid on and I want to start treating the wound. And so she was just a phenomenal person, just really sees the problem and get stuff done. And we talked a lot about the North Country and her experience moving back here. She's from the North Country. And we read a book together. Winnie's Closing The Food Gap, I believe. And we just treated it as like a book club and a chat. We would meet at the bookstore once a month. And talk about the chapter that we read and how it related to the North Country, which I think is very different from how a lot of link mentorships go.

Beth:  Absolutely because you were actually in the town where Gloria was living. I mean, that's such a unique experience even within the link mentorship program where many of people's mentors are in New York City or in Texas or in Boston or all over the country. So it sounds like you had a very different but unique experience for your mentorship program that helped benefit you in a variety of different ways.

Sonja:  Yeah, it was excellent. For a lot of people, it was like a really great stepping stone into finance or the stock market. And it helped to have that connection. But I think I really got a lot of education out of it and a lot of exposure to ideas that I was just sort of thinking about as a sophomore in college and thinking about not necessarily what I wanted to do, but what impact I wanted to have. And yeah, it was a phenomenal experience. Unfortunately, Gloria passed away. So our relationship sort of ended abruptly, but I'm so lucky to have known her when she was here. And yeah, I still think a lot about everything that I learned through my time with her. And now time to continue the legacy at GardenShare and just in the community doing what I can to have a positive impact and make lives better.

Beth:  Well, I think that in itself is something that you just said, just really struck a chord with me. I think that something that a lot of people at St. Lawrence have is not learning what do I want to do, it's what impact do I want to make on the world? What impact do I want? That's the question that I'm hearing more and more young alum say that I was challenged with that question, whether it was through a mentor, through a professor, the career excellence office, any of these different places. And I think that sometimes having those mentors that you want to emulate or take their legacy and continue it helps provide a framing for what you want to do. And it's so encouraging to hear that we have people like you who are making these wonderful impacts, whether it's in the local North Country community, the world community.

Beth:  We're so thankful that we have someone like you, who's continuing Gloria's legacy. Thank you so much for joining us today. I'm so thankful that we have you in the North Country continuing to make great strides and food inequality, well I should say food equality. We don't want you to make strides in food inequality. [cross talk] I meant to say food security as well. I went way off on that, but thank you so much Sonja for your great work. And we're so thankful to have you in the North Country. And so thankful that you joined us again for our conversation today.

Sonja:  Yeah. Thanks for having me.

Amelia: This has been so great. Since you live around the corner, we'll have to catch up some time. I'll have to come find you at the farmer's market.

Sonja:  I'm easy to find. I've got long red hair and I'm always at the farmer's market.

Amelia:  Well then, I got to say this was an amazing interview. I have to say though, what did you notice that was different this time?

Beth:  Well immediately, I have to think of the mic quality, I think was a little bit better this time around. Was that what you were getting at Amelia?

Amelia:  We've finally got a mic. The audio problems have been sorted.

Beth:  Yes, we're growing, we're growing. But no, it was really wonderful to hear Sonja's experiences with GardenShare, SLU PIC, and everything that she's doing here in the North Country to help with food security. And after chatting with her as somebody who decided to stay in the North Country after she graduated, I know that there are a lot of alums that are itching to come back to campus and we have a wonderful opportunity for them to do so. Amelia, take it away about the Laurentian weekend.

Amelia:  If you haven't heard of Laurentian weekend yet, we are so excited to welcome you back to campus in September next month. We are combining elements of homecoming and parents' weekend into a big, wonderful celebration of all things St. Lawrence. And that will be September 24th and 25th. And registration should be opening the week of August 9th. So be sure to be on the lookout and make sure that you register your spot as soon as you can, because I know you're all just jumping to get back to the gorgeous fall leaves campus. It'll be a special weekend for sure.

Beth:  And we're so excited to have more of Laurentians back on campus. We really have missed our Laurentian community coming back and seeing everything that St. Lawrence has to offer and engaging with our students and engaging with the faculty and staff members. So we are very much looking forward to having our visitors come.

Amelia:  For sure, for sure. Until then, bye everybody.

Beth:  See you later.

Beth:  Scarlet & Brown Stories is edited and produced by Amanda Brewer, Megan Fry Dozier, Dennis Morreale, Beth Dixon, and Amelia Jantzi.

Amelia:  Our music was written by Christopher Watts inspired by Eugenie Wright, class of '49.

Beth:  Subscribe to Scarlet & Brown stories on Apple podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

Amelia:  If you have a story you'd like to submit to us, you can email us at

Amelia:  Don't forget to subscribe, like, and leave your five star review wherever you listen to podcasts.