In the UK Horticulture Club, members from all majors join forces to not only learn about but also nurture a variety of ecosystems.
Throughout the year, the club grows plants and organic vegetables to sell every week at market, said club president Grace Ragain. The money is used to support the club’s expenses, and the excess is given to the club members toward a variety of extracurriculars. They use some of it to attend multiple conferences and seminars throughout the year, Ragain said.
While also offering hands-on experience through workshop opportunities, these conferences fulfill one of the main goals the club focuses on: networking. The club is really interested in introducing its members to persons in the industry and creating a strong support system for the future careers of the members, Ragain said.
The club partners with UK’s South Farm so students can get real, hands-on farm work experience. By working at the farm, students learn how to nurture organic plants and become educated about sustainability.
The club does more than agriculture, Ragain said. Its members also grow native annual and perennial wildflowers, striving through community partnership to promote natural products in Lexington. Last week, they made fall flower baskets to sell to various departments on campus.
The club also travels abroad with the proceeds from their produce sales. Ragain said this helps teach the members about various ecosystems.
Club members went to Cuba in the summer of 2017 through a joint effort with UK’s Study Abroad program.
Ragain said that while they focus a lot on learning about Kentucky plants, they also love learning about global plants.
Ragain said the club helped push her out of her box and opened doors for her.
“We work through a mentoring system,” said the three-year club member. “If you don’t know something, it’s OK to ask a question.”
She said the club also helped her to improve her communication skills and network. She said it helped her land her internship and prepare for her career.
She said the club also focuses on being open with each other and being diverse.
“The diversity we have frees a lot of different conversations,” she said.
She said these conversations are always full of laughter, and they bring the team together, even acting as stress relievers.
The club is open to all majors throughout UK and currently has around 50 members. There is a $5 fee, and meetings are every Wednesday night at 5 p.m. in the Greenhouse 12 classroom.
For more information on the Horticulture Club, email [email protected] or visit the club’s Facebook page.