Buff & Bloom is a plant giving program to support student mental health and overall wellness co-sponsored by the peer counselors, the Counseling Center, and the Dean of Students Office. Student organizer Lucas Wright ’21 talks about the popular program in which 800 students picked up free plants outside the Annex last week.
How and why did you come up with this idea?
My interest in plants started at the beginning of the pandemic when I was searching for new hobbies to fill some time. I quickly realized that it was almost impossible to be sad while watering plants. As a peer counselor, I was also very aware of the need for different kinds of mental health support in our community. I thought a plant giving program would be a great way to introduce students to gardening and connect them to our community. Ideally, their plant would be with them throughout their time at Hamilton and after. We hope to continue the program next year by incorporating it into new student orientation.
Are you aware of other colleges doing this?
At the moment, no. I was interviewed by a student at Penn State who was interested in what we are doing and if it would work at a larger university. I think plant giving programs have incredible potential to decrease stress and strengthen the community at every school.
Where did the plants come from?
We worked with Metropolitan Wholesale, a plant company based out of New Jersey.
How many plants did you give away? What kind were they?
We gave 800 people plants. They chose among five different types — Snake Plant, Warnekki, Spider Plant, Pothos Ivy, and Peperomia.
Are there plans to continue this initiative?
I’m graduating this year but am very interested in making Buff & Bloom a permanent part of Hamilton. I hope to pass the project to some younger students for next year and advise the program as much as possible. It could also become a permanent part of the peer counseling program.