Horticulture Club Welcomes Students Back to Campus

In my first semester as Lecturer of Horticulture, I am grateful to have been appointed as co-advisor to the undergraduate Horticulture Club alongside Dr. Andrea Faber Taylor (a staple of our teaching faculty I might add). As an undergraduate at the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville, I was heavily involved in the Horticulture Club and would attribute this experience in large part to the career path that has brought me to UIUC. On the Sunday before the first day of class, I stopped by Quad Day, the campus-wide student involvement fair, to check-in on the Club. To my surprise, a sea of students and club tables lined every path on the Quad. Despite this crowd, the Horticulture Club was not hard to spot, as a large line of students, or perhaps an organized crowd, formed around their table, eager to receive a free houseplant. Within the first hour, over 400 succulents were given away and the table was empty. Just a few days later, the club offered another event, the “Succulent Symphony”, where students again turned out in droves to collect supplies and plant their very own array of succulents. Over 140 students attended this event, generating interest and impact. In the first week of the semester, there were nearly 400 new email sign ups for the Club. Of course, we do not expect hundreds of students to show up for every event this semester, but I was still impressed with the broad reach of the Club and the level of interest for a few cuttings. 

I believe it is a good reminder of the relevance and value of horticulture in our daily lives, perceived or not. A student entering their first year of university, finally independent and free to do as they please, craves that bit of life and comfort provided by a plant in their newly acquired dorm room. They do not need to declare a major in horticulture to appreciate the value it brings to our shared spaces and dinner plates. In fact, much of the leadership in Horticulture Club have not declared a concentration in Horticultural Food Systems, though many do pursue the Horticulture minor. Thus, horticulture provides a nice complement to our education, and to our lives, which I believe is why we are here.

Students crowding the Horticulture Club booth at Quad Day to receive a free houseplant.

            So, for our new and returning students, tend to your minds as you tend to your houseplants. Do not be discouraged if you do not see your intended results on the first try. We are here to help you learn, grow, and try again. There are many seasons to come. Have a great semester!

Keep growing,

Jack McCoy, Ph.D.

Department of Crop Sciences

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