Plants Through the Eyes of Students

Photo Courtesy Collegiate Plant Initiative

Photo Courtesy Collegiate Plant Initiative

When talking about how to create a love for plants, you can’t help but smile at what is happening on campuses across the county.  The National Horticulture Foundation (NHF) is proud to provide funding for the University of Florida’s Collegiate Plant Initiative (CPI). CPI is a University of Florida student-run nonprofit organization inspired by an introductory horticulture class called Plants, Gardening, and You (PG&Y).  

PG&Y, taught by Dr. Dave Clark, introduces almost 600 students a year to various topics designed to cure “plant blindness” and increase interest in plants as a hobby and career.

Virginia Frazier, of the University of Florida’s student-run CPI, says the non-profit organization’s goal is to turn people on to plants and gain insights into which plants are most popular. Starting with the students on campus first.

CPI has completed its 12th and final experiment of the semester, asking the 352 students enrolled in PG&Y to choose their favorite plant from a display. CPI has also introduced new surveys, which has allowed their team to collect demographic information as well as purchase patterns, family backgrounds, and opinions of the horticulture industry.

Plants this semester have been photographed individually and added into a database of plant pictures that will be used for future experiments. The CPI team have also partnered with Dr. Charlie Hall, Texas A&M University, who is showing his class replications of experiments conducted at the University of Florida. Results from both classes will be compared to see if there are differences between the two regions and to see if this model can be expanded to other universities.

Breaking new records this semester at UF’s Plant Drop, the CPI team gave away 1,000 plants in 2.5 minutes. The planning for next semester’s events is already underway and will include Plant Drops at the University of Florida and several universities across the country. The CPI team hopes to make a significant impact on the future of the horticultural industry.