MSU's Bailey Tea Project emphasizes student environmental efforts

  • Apr 22, 2016
  • Faculty & Staff, Students, Plant Biology, RISE

Using herbs grown in the MSU Bailey Hall GREENhouse

Using herbs grown in the MSU Bailey Hall GREENhouse, students create and package their own tea and then sell it to the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center and others on campus.

The Bailey GREENhouse, located outside of Michigan State University’s Bailey Hall, demonstrates student commitment to sustainability, and serves as a constant reminder of MSU’s agricultural history.

Operating as the hub of the Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment (RISE) program, the GREENhouse supports this living and learning community, while allowing students to expand their sustainability efforts in both impact and scope.

A branch of RISE, called the “Tea Team,” is actively involved in such growth through the Bailey Tea Project.

Using herbs grown in the greenhouse, students dry, process, blend and package their own tea, which is then sold to the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center and other students around campus.

“Our mission is to take what we’re growing and show that it has added value,” said junior Bethany Kogut.

The team landed its first sale in the spring of 2015, which included its “zingy blend” of lemon and spearmint, and its “exhale blend,” made up of lavender, chamomile and peppermint.

Working on the leadership team for this project, Kogut says the entire production of tea relies on student volunteers. While most volunteers are from the RISE program, students from a variety of disciplines have the opportunity to become involved in the program’s mission.

“We have students in packaging, animal science, education, communication, journalism – all sorts of different majors,” she said. “But in the long run, they all come back to the environmental sustainability side of things.”

Moving forward, the team hopes to create a larger business model for the Bailey Tea Project, with the intention of selling products to local grocery stores, farmers markets and coffee shops in the future.

The RISE program is a living-learning program focused on sustainability and environmental stewardship. Established and supported by a consortium of six MSU colleges including the College of Natural Science, RISE provides students with the resources to successfully transition from high school to university academic life and a community of peers with shared values and interests.

For more information on both the Bailey Tea Project and the RISE program, visit rise.natsci.msu.edu.