Last Wednesday, hundreds of new and returning George Mason University students walked through the Student Organization Connection Carnival held at North Plaza to see all the different student organizations with which they could get involved.

Just a few feet outside of Southside Dining Hall, the return of the Smart Markets, Inc. farmers’ market was a living testimony to the result of student activism at Mason.

In fall 2009, Auxiliary Enterprises at Mason decided to bring a farmers’ market to campus. According to Mark Kraner, Assistant Vice President of University Services, “The campus market was always scheduled to be a spring-to-fall market.”

Following the low attendance last spring, University Services discussed whether the Mason farmers’ market would return to campus.

While attendance was used as one indicator of Mason’s support for the market, the members of the Rescue the Mason Farmers’ Market Facebook group, which numbers over 900, and numerous student e-mails demanding the return of the campus market showed overwhelming support.

When asked about the impact student e-mails had on whether the market would return, Kraner responded, “Hearing from the campus was positive and reinforced the decision that Auxiliary Enterprises made to locate a market for the campus.”

The Rescue the Mason Farmers’ Market Facebook group was created by sophomore Kyleigh Purks who created the group as, “a way to get the word out. Mason students tend to be outspoken and active, so I figured that if they knew what was going on, they would try to do something about it.” She was right.

One of the many students who took action after joining the Facebook group was junior physics major Jason Von Kundra who was a frequent shopper at the market last year. When asked how he felt now that the market was back on campus, Von Kundra responded, “I felt accomplished when I saw the market back on campus. Being able to buy fresh, local food right on campus made all the e-mails, phone calls, and meetings with Mason Dining worth it.”

Smart Markets, Inc. founder Jean Janssen was excited to hear that students were also working to bring the market back to campus. “Students have great power on any campus, and it can be very easy to wield if they are organized around an objective,” said Janssen.

It seems one thing everyone can agree on is that for the campus farmers’ market to be successful, the Mason community will have to use its buying power to show support and its activism to bring the market back.

Janseen encourages everyone to “Come shop with us—even if you only spend $5 each week.”