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Sociology/Anthropology Spotlight

Kayla Kidwell-Snider: A Caped Crusader for Sustainability

Kayla Kidwell-Snider“My internship and work-study position in the sustainability office really enriched my academic studies during my time at Transylvania.”

“Why are they setting up that camera?” wondered Kayla Kidwell-Snider ’12, as she was unveiling the interpretive signage she had created for the Haupt Plaza rain garden and the Transylvania butterfly garden. She quickly discovered that it was a local television news team wanting to interview her about the project. “It was both shocking and gratifying,” she recalled later. 

The signage was her final project for Transylvania’s sustainability office, where she had completed both an internship and a work-study program. She had hand-painted and assembled block-shaped signs that incorporated ethno-botanical facts about the plants in the gardens—highlighting the connection between humans and the environment. The information on each side of the blocks include a picture of the plant and its name, a picture of an animal that uses the plant, a fun fact about the plant, and information on when the plant blooms or where it grows successfully. 

The garden signage was funded by a Stormwater Quality Grant the university received to support education initiatives related to how people’s actions affect water quality.

“Working in the sustainability office helped me understand exactly what sustainability means and how it ties together social, economic, and environmental topics. This opportunity also helped me connect with others involved in sustainability-related programs in Kentucky.”

Kidwell-Snider applied her artistic talents to other projects around campus, including three storm drain paintings, an installation of bottle cap curtains, and a gazebo made of plastic bottles. For these projects, she was “challenged to think outside of the two-dimensional square of paper” that had been the medium for most of her artwork. 

When Kidwell-Snider arrived at Transylvania as a transfer student, some of the first students she met were involved in Quidditch, the rough-and-tumble sport played by wizards and witches in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books.

After her introduction to the game, Kidwell-Snider was hooked. “I decided I had to join the team. Within a couple of months I found myself in New York City at the Quidditch World Cup, warming up for a game aired on MTV. In addition to the inherent silliness of running around with a cape and broom, I really appreciate Quidditch for its commitment to gender equality in athletics, getting kids active, and promoting literacy.”

Photo courtesy of Annie Wright ‘14

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