campaign update



Re:wild Drexel poses with sign at Drexel Park, home to the organic pilot program.
Re:wild Drexel poses with sign at Drexel Park, home to the organic pilot program.

Drexel University Pilots Organic Turf Management

Drexel Park becomes pilot site for effort to transition campus away from synthetic weed-killers and towards organic land management 

In response to requests from student advocacy group Re:wild Drexel, a Re:wild Your Campus campaign, Drexel University has committed to making Drexel Park – a popular public green space – a safer and more biodiverse recreation area for students and the community. Drexel Park will be the first turf space on Drexel’s campus managed organically, without synthetic herbicides and fertilizers. This is the first project in the student-led effort to transition the entire Drexel campus away from synthetic inputs. 

“As our movement grows and more students and community members learn about the harms of synthetic pesticides and viable alternatives, we’re excited to have Drexel Park serve as an example of what is possible when you work with nature, not against it,” said Mackenzie Feldman, the founder and project director of Re:wild Your Campus. 

This project will be implemented in partnership with PJC Organics and the Drexel Grounds Department, led by Scott Dunham, Drexel Facilities’ Director of Grounds. 

“Drexel’s Grounds Department is excited to be working with Re:wild Your Campus and students to pilot a three-year program in Drexel Park,” reported Dunham. “While we have always been very careful of the types and timing of the products we choose to use on campus, we are hopeful the pilot will show that turf quality can improve, or at the very least remain the same, without the use of synthetic fertilizers and herbicides.”

The students leading the charge on campus, Kacy Gao, Julie Jeon, and Sean Vanson are all sophomores who began advocating for organic land care on campus in the fall of 2021. The students then connected with Re:wild Your Campus and joined the program’s 2022-2023 fellowship cohort, which consisted of 20+ students at 11 universities across 10 states.  

“We’re really excited that this is finally happening,” said Kacy Gao, a sophomore at Drexel and a Re:wild Your Campus Fellow who is co-leading the Re:wild Drexel student group. “We are looking forward to supporting Drexel Grounds Department in this transition, and hope that one day soon the entire campus will be managed organically.”

The three student leaders are all studying subjects related to human health, and were drawn to this issue as it lies at the intersection of human and environmental health. 

 “After learning about public health and the impact of pesticides in the classroom, I’m really proud that Drexel is taking steps to protect human and environmental health,” shared Jeon, who is majoring in Nursing. “More schools should follow Drexel’s lead in implementing organic land care to help the climate and biodiversity crisis and protect campus communities, especially in Philadelphia, where environmental justice concerns are pervasive.”

In implementing the pilot project, Drexel is following in the footsteps of schools like the University of California Berkeley, Harvard University, and Seattle University, all of which have completely transitioned to organic land management, a holistic form of land care that focuses on cultivating soil health as a means to increase resilience to weed pressures. 

“In public health, we advocate for following the ‘precautionary principle’ – which says when there’s evidence for health risks but also uncertainty, we should err on the side of public health protection in our decisions,” Dr. Anneclaire De Roos, associate professor in environmental and occupational health at Drexel University remarked. “So, I think this is a great example of applying the precautionary principle.”

Research from Re:wild Your Campus shows that organic land care on campuses can reduce overall costs by 25%, decrease water needs by 37%, and improve soil health in the long run. This is achieved by eliminating the use of synthetic inputs frequently used on college campuses, and instead focusing on optimizing soil chemistry and microbial density. 

Students are hoping this will also hold true at Drexel, and will be conducting research to assess changes to cost, water inputs, and soil biology with Dr. De Roos from the Dornsife School of Public Health.



Re:wild Your Campus 

Re:wild Your Campus is harnessing the power of student action to create safer, more sustainable living and learning environments for all by starting locally and advocating for organic land care on college campuses. This movement empowers the next generation of environmental leaders to redesign their campuses as a solution to the climate, biodiversity, and human-wellbeing crises through eliminating herbicides and promoting pollinator health, native plants, and edible landscapes. Re:wild Your Campus is a fiscally sponsored project of Re:wild. Learn more at:


Re:wild Your Campus

Sheina Crystal


Re:wild Drexel 

Kacy Gao