Alliance Gardens: Tyler Laubach

By: Emily Lehner

Tyler Laubach graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University last Spring with a Bachelor’s Degree in Pre-med Biology. Although he had plans to attend graduate school this fall, he decided differently and began working for the IWU Alliance Gardens.

Laubach is originally from Pennsylvania and said, “coming to Indiana for college was a leap of faith. It was a great learning experience, and I had to take it one step at a time.” He knew that he was at IWU to run cross country and track and that he wanted to become a doctor. Everything else was unknown to him. Eventually, Laubach said that he fell in love with the team, the professors, the people here and the campus.

Tyler Laubach and members of the IWU track team.
Tyler Laubach, far right, and other members of the IWU track team.

During his time at IWU, Laubach was heavily involved in extracurricular activities. He participated in athletics and was a tutor at Upward Bound. He questioned his call to become a doctor and decided to switch his major to BioChemistry. However, he returned to Pre-med Biology soon after, and realized that this was God’s plan for him. He learned during his time at IWU that the professors care deeply about integrating their faith with their teaching. Laubach remembered Grace Miller, a professor of Biology, doing devotionals before every class.

Laubach now teaches as an adjunct professor for the science department at Indiana Wesleyan. He aims to incorporate his faith into his teaching, just like he witnessed professors do when he was a student. Laubach said, “The professors and members of the cross country and track teams showed me examples of godly leadership. I apply these examples to my everyday life.” IWU gave Laubach the exposure to live out his faith.

One day, Miller mentioned the Alliance Garden job opportunity to Laubach, and he decided to apply. Even with his little knowledge of agriculture, he got them job. Laubach spoke much about the things he learned during his time working for the Alliance Garden. “Seeing the transformation of the garden come to life was such a testimony of God’s Creation,” he said.

The garden is used as an avenue for missions. “I learned that planning and intentionality is necessary for future growth. Initial investment brings success.” he stated. “We learned to be creative with the limited resources we had at the garden.” Similar to faith, when uncertainty arises, it is important to have strong roots.

Laubach plans to attend medical school and eventually, practice as a doctor. He is open to the possibility of mission work in the future as well. Laubach remembered a concept from one of his professors that encouraged him to acknowledge the fact that God made the body and cells intricately, which is why Laubach believes we should have reverence towards the creator and His work.


Written by Emily Lehner, a writer for the Alumni Center and a sophomore Writing major at IWU. She is active on the cross country and track teams. She is passionate about using her writing skills to share the good news of Christ with others and writes often on her personal blog at

The Genesis of the Alliance Garden

By: Dezaray Barr

In 2011, students Brittany and Collin Rhoades were very interested in creation care. With support from staff, faculty, and vice president Todd Voss, Brittany and Colin began the Creation Care Alliance (CCA) as an SGA sponsored club on campus. The faculty and staff at this time also began a sustainability initiative. Although Voss left the year later to pursue other career opportunities, the CCA continued on the Marion campus.

Dr. Grace Ju Miller

Grace Ju Miller, a current professor in the biology department at IWU, encouraged the CCA to attend a sustainability conference at Houghton College. Miller recounts meeting Brittany and Colin at McConn Coffee Shop years ago after they attended the conference, “They were like, ‘They have this student garden, they have these great initiatives, they have a sustainability coordinator – we need to do something like that! Where can we get the money?’”

Miller began to help the CCA make this dream a reality. She began to search for land and encouraged Brittany and Colin to write community and foundation grants. This all occurred at the end of the week, and by Monday, Miller received a call from the Arington Foundation – the charitable arm of Prasco Pharmaceuticals in Cincinnati. Immediately, a representative drove to IWU from Cincinnati to meet with Miller to discuss the possibility of awarding some money for the garden. Miller still has trouble grasping how the situation worked out, “Usually you beg to find foundation money, but he’s dropping it right in front of me.”

Colin, being a business entrepreneurship major, was able to create a proposal, SWOT analysis, etc. and had it ready to go by the end of spring break, in order to submit the proposal to the Arington Foundation board on time to be considered. Miller submitted it to Prasco, and that summer (2012) the Alliance Garden began on the corner of 46th and Race street in Marion, Indiana. They had a garden manager and a couple of interns at the time.

Sunflower in the Alliance Garden

Miller eventually asked for a living/learning house for her summer interns. The first house was on 38th street. The next year, Dr. Miller asked for more gardening land, and obtained a second, larger plot on 38th street by the townhouses. The Alliance House is currently home to the manager, as well as four interns.

For the last five years, the Prasco grant has been maintained and continues to be received by the Alliance Garden and the Alliance House. Now, there is a full time, year round manager, Kaley Necessary, who also serves as the sustainability coordinator during the winter months.

Miller has seen improvement and is excited for what the future holds, “It’s inch by inch… but every year we have a harvest party. Our first year we had maybe 70 people. We hit a 100, then 130, but this year we hit 300 people. We feel like we’re gaining momentum.”


Written by Dezaray Barr, Writer for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a Sophomore Strategic Communication and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. At IWU Dezaray is involved in PRSSA leadership and runs both the JWHC Blog and her own blog. Visit Dez’s website at