CSU’s campus is looking a little greener – but it has nothing to
do with school colors.
A new garden has arrived on campus and it is not just any
garden. It’s a garden built specifically for the Department of
“We are a profession concerned with everyday occupations that
people do in their daily lives,” said Karen Spencer, an associate
occupational therapy professor. “Specifically, with people with
limitations on occupations and how to engage these people to
participate in everyday activities that are meaningful and
This year, the U.S. News and World Report ranked CSU’s
Department of Occupational Therapy at seventh in the nation.
“The Occupational Therapy Garden is a beautiful space that is
open to all faculty, students and members of the community,” wrote
Marissa Webb, a second year graduate student, in an e-mail
interview. “The garden is designed to be accessible to people of
all ages and abilities.”
The garden was built with the idea of universal design in
“Universal design is the idea that when we create objects, we
think of creating them in a way that many people can use it, not
just people with one ability,” Spencer said. “On the garden level,
it allows people to garden even if they cannot garden in a
The garden was built in March and April of last year with the
help of students.
“I worked with Karen Spencer and the occupational therapy
department on the concept, and then with a group of students, built
it last spring,” said Fred Haberecht, campus landscape
There are several unique features in the garden, including a
“sensory garden” that allows people to touch and smell plants,
garden beds set at different heights for people in wheelchairs or
standing and paths made of different materials to help users tell
the difference between different areas.
“A lot of times designing is on a visual basis,” Haberecht said.
“On the garden, both I and the students had to think ‘what if I
couldn’t see?’ How would it function for a person with a
The garden, located south of the Occupational Therapy Building,
is open to all students, faculty and staff at CSU.
“There are other gardens like this, but it’s on campus, which is
a unique attribute,” Haberecht said.
The garden’s main purpose is to educate people and give them an
opportunity to expand horizons.
“The Garden is an opening for people to discover or strengthen
their awareness of the importance and value of accessibility for
all people,” Webb wrote. “The garden is filled with opportunities
and experiences for individuals to explore, learn and enjoy.”