Students hold potting party to add plants, improve air on campus

Feb. 26, 2010

More than 60 Luther College students participated in the Feb. 20 Luther Sustainability Potting Party, potting live clippings from campus plants in recycled containers for other students to grow in their residence hall rooms. The plants will improve air quality in campus living spaces and add a touch of beauty to student rooms.  

Hosted by the Sustainability subcommittee of the Brandt Hall Council, the Potting Party sprouted from the seed of an idea from Luther freshman Adam Voss.

“I had the idea floating around in my head, and once I pitched it to the Sustainability Committee, they were enthusiastic to plan the party,” said Voss. “We wanted to provide a fun activity for hall residents to enjoy while raising awareness of the committee’s goals of green and sustainable practices.”

After the proposal was approved, the first step in planning the party was to find plants to be potted.

Voss contacted Perry Halse, Luther grounds specialist who cultivates and maintains most of the plants on campus. 

“Perry was really helpful and supportive,” said Voss. “He provided advice and directed us where we could take the cuttings.”

The clippings gathered consisted of two types of common household plants, pothos and spider plant, taken from the concourse of Valders Hall of Science on the Luther campus. 

Pothos and spider plant, both considered easy-to-grow houseplants, provide numerous health benefits as indoor plants.   

According to NASA studies, both species have been shown to be effective at absorbing airborne formaldehyde, a common indoor air pollutant. The plants have also been shown to reduce the concentrations of airborne microbes, such as mold spores, resulting in cleaner and healthier air in the living space.    

“By hosting this event, we hoped to connect residents with the planting experience and raise their interest in sustainable choices,” said Voss. “We provided facts about the health benefits of indoor plants, encouraged reuse of containers and advocated the environmental benefits of plant life, all through one simple event.”

Students attending the party were asked to bring their own pot for their clipping by looking through the recycling for a plastic bottle or container for their plant.   

“All other supplies were provided by the Luther Wellness Program,” said Voss.    

Tended by the more than 60 students who attended the party, nearly 80 additional plants can now be found growing in the Brandt Residence Hall.     

“This is yet another example of a successful sustainability-related student driven initiative,” said Maren Stumme-Diers, Luther assistant sustainability coordinator. “The collaboration between Perry Halse and Adam Voss was wonderful, and I feel incredibly inspired by the leadership of the Brandt Sustainability Council and the passion of this year’s incoming class.”