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Friday, December 1, 2023

Life + Arts

Horticulture society keeps students grounded


The Horiticulture Society plays an important role in keeping campus beautiful. Back: President Christopher Huynh and Bria Patterson. Front from left to right: Farah Aziz, Guadalupe Orozco, Franklin Pho and Kate Cross. | Daniel Perez/The Cougar

The Horticulture Society at UH planted its roots six years ago and has been growing firmly ever since. The members are as eclectic as the seeds they sow, and they’re as enthusiastic about plants as ever.

“It’s rewarding being in this society,” said education junior Kate Cross. “It’s truly magical; it’s like being in Hogwarts.”

Its members have many different interests and areas of study.

“You do not have to be a biology major or any science major to join; you could be business, history or anthropology. We’ve had engineers, so you can be anything you want to be and still join,” said biology junior Guadalupe Orozco.

The focus does not revolve solely around growing plants; the organization also gives back to the community and is regularly involved in outreach and beautification projects. On Nov. 15, they will head to the Harris County Juvenile and Probation Department to spend time with troubled youth and teach them about plant care.

“They had an empty green house in one of their facilities where they help juveniles who have gotten in trouble for various reasons,” said president and biochemistry senior Christopher Huynh. “They came to us and told us about their need for a garden. We came out fairly often at first to help them establish it. After that, we’ve gone back one weekend a month, and we help them do maintenance and plant new plants.”

Aside from the regular task of picking up trash on the sides of highways, the juveniles get probation hours for spending time with the UH Horticulture Society. This program helps them learn valuable lessons that contribute to their personal growth.

“They can learn from this every single time. We teach them lessons about different planting zones, how to take cuttings, about pesticides or fertilizers. We’ve seen them really enjoy this stuff. They get excited about growing something,” said Huynh.

Working with the Juvenile Center has been the organization’s longest ongoing outreach project.

Some joined for personal growth and self-fulfillment.

“I’ve always had a fondness for plants.  If you look around, (you’ll see them everywhere),” said biology sophomore Farah Aziz. “It makes me realize how important (it is) to take care of your environment, and that we’re all part of one cycle.”

Business and pre-veterinarian sophomore Franklin Pho said the society emphasizes happiness and enjoying life.

“The people, energy and atmosphere really do it for me,” Pho said. “It has really made me a happy individual.”

At the last club meeting of the semester on Nov. 21, the members will enjoy a visit from Jay Neal, an associate professor at Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. He will teach the students about hydroponics — growing plants completely in water.

“If you’re lost in the sky, come back down to Earth,” Pho said. “Being in Horticulture Society is about being happy and helping others.”

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