Ashley Duffie '14
• Senior health and wellness major from Freeburg, Illinois
• President, Wonders of Wellness
• Chair, Community Helpings Food Co-op’s
Lebanon, Illinois site
• Health Services student intern
• Dean’s List every semester
• First-generation college student
Ashley Duffie '14 is on a mission to cultivate healthier eating habits on campus and beyond. She manages the Lebanon, Ill., delivery site of the Community Helpings Food Co-op, which delivers fresh produce and locally sourced foods to campus every other week.
“The co-op brings homegrown produce into the local community at an affordable price,” Ashley says. “It’s a great option for college students and members of the community who do not get access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Bringing the co-op to Lebanon promotes healthy living by providing nutritious foods at a low cost."
During the growing season, Ashley and other health and wellness students plant and tend tomatoes, peppers, greens, vegetables and herbs behind the University Communications and Marketing office. The raised bed gardens thrive under her care throughout the summer, when Garden Club volunteers and the Lebanon Kids program use the garden as a teaching tool. Off campus, she tends a more unconventional raised bed garden - a recycled jon boat filled with tomatoes, cucumbers and green peppers.
“Gardening is therapeutic,” says Ashley, who believes in its ability to nurture the mind, body and spirit. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling and eventually become a licensed therapist or a health and wellness coach.
“Health and wellness encompass every aspect of an individual’s life. Social, physical, emotional, occupational, spiritual, environmental, intellectual and recreational are all dimensions of our wellbeing. Every dimension affects one another. It’s holistic.”
Her next project is to establish new plantings of berries and grapevines behind the Health and Counseling Services building, where she has been a student intern. For her internship, Ashley created a Health Services brochure and domestic violence awareness web pages with warning signs, safety strategies and resources for those who need help.
Learn more about McKendree University, the Health & Wellness program, the Health Services office, or the Wonders of Wellness group.