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College turns football field into working profitable farm

Posted by on Nov. 2, 2013 at 12:44 PM
  • 17 Replies
3 moms liked this
UPDATED OCT 31, 2013 7:14 PM ET

At Paul Quinn College in Dallas, it's hard to tell the school once had a football program. Yes, the goalposts still stand where the field once was — but the hashmarks and logos have been replaced by sweet potatoes, kale, cilantro, even a chicken coup.


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According to Yahoo!, Michael Sorrell embraced a hard reality when he took over as Paul Quinn College's president in 2007: His school simply could not afford to field a football team.

Paul Quinn is a private, historically black college in the middle of Dallas. It enrolls just 250 students. The football team was popular with co-eds, but the program was hardly a moneymaker. Facing gobs of institutional debt, Sorrell offered a deal to the students and other football supporters: If they could raise $2 million to save football, he would match it.

"To date," Sorrell told Yahoo!, "no one has raised a dollar."

The program folded soon after — but it still had a 6,300-square-yard patch of land, which equates to about 1.3 acres, to its name. Paul Quinn’s campus doesn’t have any nearby grocery stores or restaurants — and with 80 percent of its students eligible for Pell Grants, this isn’t a student body with much disposable income in the first place.

So, the administration decided to farm the football field. With assistance from PepsiCo, Paul Quinn launched the WE Over Me Farm in 2010. Students make $10 per hour for their work on the college's farm.


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It took a couple years to turn a profit, but soon the football field was producing enough produce that Paul Quinn struck a deal with the Dallas Cowboys. George Wasai, the director of food and beverage at Legends Hospitality at Cowboys Stadium, is an alumnus of Paul Quinn and even played football for the school. With his assistance, the Paul Quinn farm will sell 17,500 pounds of food to be used for concessions at Cowboys games this year alone.

The $600,000 per year Paul Quinn once dedicated to football is now applied to academic scholarships, and a school that once had a month’s worth of cash on hand now has run a budget surplus of six or seven figures in four of the last five years.

"We turned our football field into an organic farm," Sorrell said. "It's made us a national leader on this issue. There are no regrets. We didn't have the resources necessary to change and really build a football program in the way we wanted to do it. This is what was right for us."
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by on Nov. 2, 2013 at 12:44 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Ms.KitKat
by Platinum Member on Nov. 2, 2013 at 1:05 PM

 That college has an excellent Presdient.

(Sweet-is that you and dh in your avator picture?!)

krysstizzle
by on Nov. 2, 2013 at 1:07 PM
Awesome :)
smalltowngal
by Platinum Member on Nov. 2, 2013 at 1:22 PM

That is wonderful 

sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Nov. 2, 2013 at 1:43 PM
Yes :)

Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 That college has an excellent Presdient.


(Sweet-is that you and dh in your avator picture?!)

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shannonnigans
by Platinum Member on Nov. 2, 2013 at 2:08 PM
Of course, have a big-time winning college football team and you'll be able to buy whole farms left and right!

And yes, I'm kidding....I am a big college football fan, so I had to joke. In all seriousness, this is wonderful :)
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Ms.KitKat
by Platinum Member on Nov. 2, 2013 at 2:35 PM
2 moms liked this

 What a cute couple you are!!!!

Quoting sweet-a-kins:

Yes :)

Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 That college has an excellent Presdient.


(Sweet-is that you and dh in your avator picture?!)

 

yourspecialkid
by Platinum Member on Nov. 2, 2013 at 4:11 PM
1 mom liked this

 Love it!  I admire folks with gumption and get up and go.

An edit would have been helpful though...it is chicken COOP, not coup.  Did make for a little humor though..imagining a chicken coup.

 

krysstizzle
by on Nov. 2, 2013 at 4:12 PM
2 moms liked this

Ha, that's what I was thinking... a herd of charging chickens, tiny wooden swords..

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 Love it!  I admire folks with gumption and get up and go.

An edit would have been helpful though...it is chicken COOP, not coup.  Did make for a little humor though..imagining a chicken coup.

 


sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Nov. 2, 2013 at 4:14 PM
Thank you , that was last Saturday at my daughters sleepover

We were playing catch phrase with 12 squealing 12 year old girls and about 6 other adults....we had a blast


Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 What a cute couple you are!!!!


Quoting sweet-a-kins:

Yes :)


Quoting Ms.KitKat:


 That college has an excellent Presdient.



(Sweet-is that you and dh in your avator picture?!)


 

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turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Nov. 2, 2013 at 5:35 PM

Good to see that College's still have smart people running them :-)

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