Not many first-year students come to College of Charleston with a People magazine interview and a shout-out from the Oprah Winfrey Network on their résumé. But there aren’t many incoming students like Katie Stagliano.

Stagliano has put in work to feed thousands since she was 8 years old. A cabbage that fed almost 300 people turned into one of South Carolina’s most prolific food nonprofits in Katie’s Krops. Stagliano has cared for her community above and beyond, and now she’s coming to the College of Charleston.

In 2008, Stagliano planted a cabbage in her family’s yard, in Summerville, that unexpectedly grew to 40 pounds. Stagliano and her mother Stacy decided to donate the massive vegetable to Tricounty Family Ministries, a local organization feeding and sheltering those in need. That cabbage fed almost 300 people, and the then third grader was inspired to keep going. She asked her school to donate a parcel of land for a garden, and she got fellow students involved in growing the crops. Nine years later, there are 100 Katie’s Krops gardens growing in 33 states across the U.S. Kids, ages nine to 16, keep the vegetables growing.

As Stagliano entered her final years of high school, she had to think of where she wanted to go next.

“I wasn’t really sure where I wanted to go to college,” she said. “I listed several places. I knew a few friends and neighbors that attended the College of Charleston, so I thought it might be a fun place to tour. When I did visit, I fell in love with the campus. It’s so beautiful and the more I thought about, it made sense because in addition to be a gorgeous campus, I could still help with Katie’s Krops and come home for the dinners.”

She plans to study communication at CofC. Stagliano already has experience in public relations and journalism from her work with Katie’s Krops. When asked if she would start a garden at CofC, the incoming first-year student said she thought it was a great idea and has already chatted with the staff at Dixie Plantation, an 881-acre CoC property about 17 miles southwest of the College’s downtown campus. While Stagliano is in class, her mother Stacy and long-involved volunteers will keep the nonprofit moving.

Stagliano has spent her summer hanging with friends, working in her gardens, visiting with other Katie’s Krops groups and coordinating Katie’s Krops dinners.

This new Cougar is really excited to meet new people, have new experiences, and see what the college has in store for her.

A Katie’s Krops garden in Summerville. (Photo by Reese Moore)

Feature photo by Reese Moore.