Plants take over Shepherd Union

Monday through Wednesday of this week, the atrium of the Shepherd Union Building at Weber State University exuded a bit of a jungle feel as members of the botany club camped at three long tables with hundreds of plants to sell.

“People told us all sorts of different stories,” said Sonya Welsh, the botany lab manager. “Some lady was — I couldn’t hear the entire story, but she was taking care of plants, or it was her house that burned down, and that was her biggest concern . . . her plants that were in the home and they were exposed to elements because the roof was missing and the firefighters had to spray down the house.”

According to Welsh, the primary goal of the plant sale was to generate money for botany scholarships.

“The first day we made $800, which was our best day,” Welsh said. “I think that we probably made about $1,700.”

One plant, the ponytail palm, drew in $72 through a raffle, becoming the top revenue-generator for the club. According to Tim Remkes, WSU senior and president of the botany club, if sold in a nursery, the 10-year-old palm would have sold for around $50.

Shelley Hart, ad manager for The Signpost and the winner of the palm, said she likes the sale due to the good health of the plants that she can purchase at an affordable price while supporting WSU.

“(I entered the raffle) because I really wanted the plant they were giving away and they weren’t selling it,” Hart said. “It’s really cool-looking.”

Remkes and Welsh named the aloe vera plant as the most popular due its medicinal properties.

“You can break off a leaf and rub it on your cheek,” Welsh said.

Remkes said the sale mostly attracted WSU faculty and staff.

“But we had quite a few students come and buy plants, and a few people kept saying the whole time that they were going to switch their major over to botany just because they love it so much, the plants and all that,” Remkes said.

Wes Wells, a microbiology sophomore at WSU, bought four plants at $11 with the intent of growing his own food and reducing his carbon footprint.

“So if these things are growing at my school, there’s less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with these plants because there’s less shipping involved,” Wells said. “And at the same time, growing my own food is basically carbon-neutral, because I don’t have to pay for somebody to ship in my broccoli or my Concord grapes that I’ll be growing.”

According to Remkes, apart from the plants he grew at home, all the plants were transported down the hill from the greenhouse on the roof of the six-story science lab to the Atrium via a cadaver cart.

“They’re walked down there,” Remkes said. “There’s no gas involved in growing these plants.”

This was the first time the club has held the sale in the well-populated Shepherd Union Building.

Remkes attributed the sale’s success and increase in revenue from previous years to the Atrium having “more walks of life and more people in general” than the walkway between the Lind Lecture Hall and the science lab, where it was held in years past.