Administration and Finance Focus


Employee Spotlight - Leah Wolfhal

Leah Wolfthal, the Campus Community Garden Coordinator and head of C.L.A.S.P. on campus, is working hard to promote sustainability and green initiatives at the University of Houston.

Leah Wolfthal began working for the University of Houston in September of 2009, and the Community Learning Agricultural Sustainability Program (CLASP) began in January of 2010.

Some of Leah Wolfthal�s job responsibilities include the following: designing thought-provoking and enjoyable programs to engage students and other University audiences in C.L.A.S.P. endeavors and mission; managing the logistics of CLASP volunteer recruitment and participation; educating CLASP about Third Ward community and Houston �green� organizations, resources, and needs, and assessing how CLASP may or may not be able to fill some of those needs or enhance the functioning of those community organizations .

Most recently, Wolfthal has been heavily involved in the plans and current construction of the newest Campus Community Garden. When asked how the progress is coming on the garden, Leah said, �We, guided by U of H�s Plant Operations Department and our partner Urban Harvest, are constructing the third Campus Community Garden as we speak. The building blocks for twelve beds have been put down, and the next step is to install irrigation and soil. We have cultivated a number of summer crop seedlings in the U of H greenhouse, and are hoping to be able to plant those in the coming weeks in the Garden.�

As far as the advantages of having this garden on campus, Wolfthal explained that the garden will provide, �the opportunity to explore questions about urban and agricultural sustainability, horticulture, nutrition, food access, and other student and faculty research interests.� In addition, the garden will serve as a �site for reflection and enjoying nature,� said Wolfthal.

Another sustainability-focused project which Wolfthal has led is the development of a composting program on campus. This project involves taking compostable waste from the campus dining halls each day to a pile which is turned and maintained. The soil that results makes a convenient fertilizer for the community garden.

Recently, changes have been made to this process. In the spring of 2010, only fresh fruit and vegetable waste were collected from the two on-campus cafeterias, as well as coffee grounds from Java City.

This summer, the team has begun collecting all organics, including all food waste and even paper napkins. �We know that everything organic can decompose,� said Wolfthal, �so we are eager to see how these additions change the nature of the piles and what we might need to do to compensate.�

�We are also looking long-term, however, and undertaking an examination of the costs associated with the current organic waste management process and what would happen if the compost collection expanded to more on-campus locations or permanently to more materials,� explained Wolfthal.

The CLASP program is a growing success on campus, as the University of Houston enhances its sustainability initiatives, and help is always needed in these efforts.

The following is a message from Leah Wolfthal on how to get involved:

For students or other U of H readers � if you would like to volunteer with CLASP or have an idea for a program you�d like CLASP to run or design, please email, find us on Facebook, or fill out the contact form on our website. For community entities looking to explore potential partnerships or learn reciprocally about our organizations, email