2015 BSLA - Jerome Hinds: Improving Communities Before Leaving The Classroom

2015 BSLA - Jerome Hinds: Improving Communities Before Leaving The Classroom

Before ever setting foot outside of a classroom. Jerome Hinds knows he has the practical experience necessary to make a positive impact on communities large and small.

“With Temple’s programs in general, you gain a ton of practical knowledge. You’re rarely involved in projects that are strictly design — for most of them, you are working with a real world ‘client’ to achieve, or at least suggest, outcomes,” said Hinds, who will graduate with a degree in Landscape Architecture. “My Temple experience has been challenging in the best way possible. There is so much to know in landscape architecture and I’ve learned so much from people who are practitioners in the field.”

Hinds said he originally came to Temple to pursue a career in architecture but soon discovered “I had a particular interest in plants and research.”

“I came across landscape architecture and it seemed to truly combine many of my interests — engineering, urban design, sustainable design. I’m hoping to get involved with stormwater management because I enjoy the engineering and design aspects of the field,” he said. “Stormwater management is becoming increasingly important in the region as flooding continues to be a serious issue. I think what makes Temple’s landscape architecture program unique is that a lot of what you’re learning is almost immediately applicable; it’s practical and hands-on.”

The Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture’s entries into the Philadelphia Flower Show each year are a perfect example “of taking classroom knowledge and using it to practical effect,” Hinds said. Hinds was a student member of the team that created Temple’s multiple award-winning 2014 Philadelphia Flower Show exhibit — Tamanend’s Track: The Path to a Portrayal of the Past — during his junior year.

“The Flower Show process is both fun and very challenging. There are so many different elements that you have to ensure will work cohesively,” he said. “What seems to initially work for one part of the exhibit, might not work at all when it is part of the whole and when that happens, you have to work as a team to problem solve. This was one of the first projects where I gained hands-on building experience. I learned a great deal from faculty and fellow students during the process.”

The Flower Show exhibit is just one of several studio projects that not only teach students landscape architecture techniques but also provide valuable community service.

“During the fall semester, the studio was involved in developing plans to ‘green up’ the schoolyard of the Clara Barton School in Bordentown, New Jersey. The goal was to fundamentally change the environment of the school from predominantly asphalt to green spaces that support hands-on education,” he said. “All of our work on the project was used to produce a hardbound book, which was provided to the school.”

The project — Asphalt to Green Space: Clara Barton Eco Schoolyard — was recently honored with a Merit Award by the Pennsylvania-Delaware Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects in the “Communications” category.  

For the ASLA student awards, the Communication Category “recognizes achievements in communicating landscape architecture history, art, technology, theory and practice to those within or outside the profession.” During the spring semester, Hinds’ studio class is taking a similar comprehensive approach to improving a section of the waterfront in historically industrial Troy, New York.

During the 2014-2015 school year, Hinds decided to enhance his skills outside of the classroom as well. He stepped “way outside” of his comfort zone and became president of the Landscape Architecture and Horticulture Student Association (LAHA).

“This was the first time I decided to take on a major leadership role during my college career — I wanted to really push myself. I took part in the Emerging Leaders Seminar offered by the Office of Student Life,” he said. “The seminar series talks about ‘challenging the process,’ ‘inspiring shared vision,’ enabling others to act,’ ‘modeling the way’ and ‘encouraging the heart.’ Since that program, I’ve used these five ideas to enhance my leadership skills and for personal development in my daily life.”

With LAHA, Hinds has put his practical knowledge to good use working on landscape architecture projects with organizations such as PhilaNOMA (Philadelphia Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects) and Variety Club.

Hinds helped to coordinate a planting, building and weeding project at Lighthouse Field in Philadelphia to support the Love & Light! — NOMA 2014 Community Legacy Project, sponsored by PhilaNOMA.

“The project drew volunteers from multiple Temple majors. Working with the Temple Architecture Department and the Temple Architectural Student Association, we led the design of an adolescent garden. LAHA was a major contributor thanks to our skill set in plant selection and landscape layout,” said Hinds, who was honored this year with a School of Environmental Design Alumni Association Award, recognizing “dedication, unselfishness and contribution to the School of Environmental Design.” “Our plant identification skills were particularly critical. On the day we implemented our schematic design, many unwanted and invasive plants had to be identified and removed.”

For spring 2015, LAHA is working with Variety Club, a non-profit organization that provides after school and summer services for children with disabilities, to revitalize a pond and its surrounding area located at a Variety Club Camp in Worcester.

“One of our primary goals is to create an outdoor space that provides educational experiences for all five senses. Our main ‘clients’ here are the children; developing a space that will be of greatest benefit to them,” he said. “This is a project that will continue well past the end of the semester. We are currently working with Variety Club to develop a comprehensive fundraising strategy to ensure project success.”

Article Written by Jim Duffy, MSEd Public Relations and Website Coordinator.  Temple University Ambler Administration Building 

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