In April 2023, Drexel University began a pilot program for organic land management at Drexel Park. The site will be the first turf space on Drexel’s campus managed without synthetic herbicides, and is part of an effort to transition the entire Drexel campus away from synthetic herbicides and fertilizers that has been the focus of advocacy by students from EcoReps and Re:wild Your Campus groups.
The student advocates are also working with [Center member] Anneclaire De Roos, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Dornsife School of Public Health, to begin a comparative study on the organic transition. “In public health, we advocate for following the ‘precautionary principle’ – which says when there is evidence for health risks but also uncertainty, we should err on the side of public health protection in our decisions,” said De Roos. “So, I think this is a great example of applying the precautionary principle. By switching to organic turf management in Drexel Park, visitors will have less exposure to these possibly harmful herbicides. This could have a big impact because of the number of University students, families with children, and dogs that spend time in the park. Data collection at the site will give insight on the success of the program and hopefully influence similar organic turf management at other Drexel sites and other universities.”