Civic Engagement Column: Greeks and Thistle Farms


Photo courtesy of Thistle Farms

By Hadley Montgomery

Executive Staff

In early October, the South Cumberland Community Fund and the Office of Civic Engagement brought Becca Stevens (C’85), founder and President of Thistle Farms, to campus. During this visit, Vice-Chancellor John McCardell and Stevens spoke about Thistle Farms’ future plans.


Thistle Farms plans to release a new type of bug spray that is effective but not DEET-based. To do this, Stevens needs to import an ingredient that will cost $25,000 to import the have on the market.


“Thinking about the issues that are going on currently in Greek Life and wanting to position our approach to Greek life as really community enhancing and one that shows how students can work together as good citizens within the context of the Greek community, Dr. McCardell realized that a real area of opportunity would be for our Greek community to work together to raise that money,” said Forbes Mann (C’10), Coordinator for Fraternity and Sorority Life.


“He did not by any stretch commit our community to doing that, but he did bring that option to Mary Allison Pritchard (C’18) and Addison Jones (C’18), who are currently the ISC and IFC Vice President of Service, respectively,” said Mann.


Once Jones and Pritchard heard about the opportunity, they “leapt on it with great enthusiasm,” according to Mann. They plan for the entire Greek community to work together to accomplish this goal of $25,000 for Thistle Farms. Greek organizations will host events over the Easter semester to work towards this goal. Organizations will not be expected to raise a certain amount of money over the semester, but each organization is encouraged to raise money towards the goal.


Fundraising began in December with a table in McClurg that offered students the chance to donate to the the cause in honor of someone and send a Christmas card to that person. Although the fundraising just started, Mann is confident in the ability of Greek organizations to work towards this goal.


“Really throughout the entire Easter Semester, you will see a variety of different things like fun runs and fundraisers of different sorts,” Mann commented on the possibilities for next semester.