The Peace Garden is Bakersfield College’s latest project


Picture courtesy of Norma Rojas Mora

A photo includes BC President Sonya Christian, Director of Student of Student Life Nicky Damania and the rest of the planning committee for BC’s Peace Garden at the Gandhi celebration back in October 2019. Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Arun Gandhi was a guest speak at BC’s Delano Campus, thanks to the support of Naina Patel from the Patel Foundation.

Hugo Maldonado Garcia, Reporter

The Bakersfield College campus is closed, but many of the organizations like the Peace Garden are still working behind the scenes to build a place that will create good and welcoming energy for students, and the community when they return to campus.
Many projects have been placed on hold since the COVID-19 outbreak, but in a few years’ constructions will begin on the main garden in the heart of the campus near the PAC building. This garden will be called the ‘Peace Garden that honors the great peacemakers of the world like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Dalai Lama.
Krista Moreland, an anthropology professor at Bakersfield College, mentioned that back in December 2019, BC President Sonya Christian decided the campus should have a Peace Garden to serve as a space for inspiration, reflection, discussions, and learning.
The inspiration behind the Peace Garden was the BC Gandhi celebration, a series of events that took place in October 2019. The highlight of the events, according to Moreland was a presentation by Arun Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, who was a guest speaker at BC’s Delano campus.
In addition to President Christian and Moreland, the main Peace Garden project team is made up of assistant to the President Jennifer Serratt, Executive Director of Facilities and Operations William Potter, Director of Student Life Nicky Damania, and Dean Jessica Wojtysiak.
Moreland’s responsibilities include drafting the Peace Garden project’s vision statement, helping to guide the designs of the gardens, and working with campus faculty for future gardens. Moreland creates ideas with help from BC supporters, students, inspiration from other gardens and libraries.
“Peace Gardens are more than landscaped areas or back-drops,” Moreland said. “They are places where people can re-energize, learn, and be inspired by the world’s great peacemakers.”
Emma McNellis, the Bakersfield College Student Government Association’s vice president said, “The Peace Garden was established to bring a place of mindfulness and tranquility along with a 5k walking path around our campus.”
BCSGA is involved with the BC Peace Garden committee, as well as many other student organizations on campus too to help create a peaceful space for students and the community to enjoy.
Similar to every committee on campus, the Peace Garden has representation from faculty, staff, and students. Danny Escobar, the Director of Student Organizations, and McNellis are the student representatives for this committee.
One of the first Peace Garden projects will be the “Learning Garden” in front of the BC library which will have a grand opening on Oct. 2nd. More announcements about this event are forthcoming.
“This Peace Garden project is a way for Bakersfield College to show we are prioritizing wellness and still working to improve our campus,” McNellis said.
The main Peace Garden committee discusses these up-and-coming projects on their weekly scheduled zoom meetings.
“If any student is interested or has further questions about the Peace Garden project, make sure to email the student representatives so they can bring all questions and concerns to the committee,” McNellis said.