By Nika Petrosian
Student plant-lovers gave their green thumbs up to organizing a new club at Ryerson. This past week, Ryerson University students formed RyePlants, a student-run club that allows members to share their love of plants.
First-year biomedical engineering student Zoe Ladner Perez said she initially approached the r/Ryerson subreddit to try and find a club for students who enjoy gardening and taking care of houseplants recreationally.
“I realized there wasn’t anything other than R.U. Veg, which focuses more on sustainability rather than gardening and keeping plants just for fun. I figured I was not alone in this situation,” said Perez.
After her post on the Reddit page began gaining traction, Perez began setting up the official club. She said they’ve already started planning virtual events for this online semester, including a plant show-and-tell, which will take place over Zoom.
“I personally love learning about new plants and I thought members would love to share about their own plants,” said Perez.
She also plans on creating a website where members can share photos of their plants and connect with each other online.
According to Perez, the club has planned a variety of events that will take place when in-person classes resume, such as making plant pots, a plant exchange and making potpourri, as well as creating an on-campus plant wall.
Caring for plants to cope with pandemic stress
For some members of RyePlants, caring for houseplants has helped relieve stress, both from school work and the stress from being isolated during the COVID-19 lockdown.
First-year business management student Lucas Wong said caring for his plants has been helping him deal with the pressure that comes with being a student during the pandemic.
“It helps me destress and helps me forget for a while how much work I have. One of my favourite times of the week is when I water my plants,” said Wong.
Perez said she feels that caring for her plants gives her a sense of purpose and something to look forward to.
“In the past, I’ve struggled a lot with depression,” said Perez. “With most activities I do…doing it on a regular basis is optional. Whereas with my plants, if I stop caring for them they die. That forces me to take care of them whether I feel like it or not.”
She also mentioned that she feels a sense of accomplishment when she sees that her plants are healthy and well.
Perez said she hopes RyePlants will allow like-minded students to learn about plants and how to care for them, regardless of experience or interest, especially given “a lot of the info online can be contradictory and confusing.”
Other members said they hope to make some new friends and share their love of plants with other people.
“Even if you are busy, I think it is important to do the things you like doing, even if it is just twenty minutes,” said Wong.
Anyone interested in becoming a member of RyePlants can sign up here.