Chelsea Seaver, a third-year Public Health major and Sustainable Food Systems minor at Stetson University, is a committed campus and community leader in the issues of public health and nutrition. As a first-year student, Chelsea began volunteering at the Spring Hill Community Garden, through which she learned about the interdependent nature of public health, environmental science, sociology, and economic development while ensuring that local low-income families increased their access to fresh, healthy food and nutrition programs. During her second and third years at Stetson, Chelsea deepened the connection between her studies and community needs through a research assistantship in which she documented oral histories of the historic J. W. Wright Building, once the economic and cultural center of the Spring Hill community in DeLand - work that will secure the building's designation on the National Register of Historic Places and secure hundreds of thousands of dollars in local and state grant funding to restore the building while adding a business incubator, exhibition space for Spring Hill history, a fresh produce market, and additional community garden space. After graduation, Chelsea plans to seek a master's in public health with a focus on epidemiology, then obtain a doctorate in public health.
During my first year, learned about a building that was once the center of the African American community in DeLand - the historic J. W. Wright Building. With much interest, I wanted to become a part of the building's preservation process. Throughout the summer, I started working on the community project as part of an undergraduate research grant. I began documenting the oral history of the building through semi-structured interviews of local residents within the community, with the goal of securing funding to preserve the Wright Building. Stetson and the Greater Union Church are also now working together to add the building to the National Register of Historic Places, where my findings will be used towards the writing of its application. By attending Greater Union Church services, visiting the homes of multiple community members, and attending many community events, I have learned the importance of a place and how the interdisciplinary nature of public health, history, sociology, urban theory and local politics come together to impact the overall health and well-being of a community.