Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

Digging deeper into "Plant Your Roots"

Online classes to online activities to online events. 

With this being the life of a college student for the past six months, many were excited to branch out and do something outside of a computer screen.

On Sept. 24, Miami Activities & Programming (MAP) hosted its first face-to-face event of the semester, “Plant Your Roots,” where free succulent plants were available for students to pick up near the Armstrong Student Center.

The name “Plant Your Roots” actually has a double meaning. Of course, it refers to planting the succulent plant itself, but it also represents planting one's roots at Miami, which was perfect timing for the first- and second-year students who recently moved to campus.

The event that was originally planned to last two hours lasted only about 15 minutes before all the plants were gone. People were waiting in line prior to the initial starting time. 

Members of MAP were not expecting this outcome, and it really surprised them to see lots of people take interest. 

“We were not expecting this at all,” said Morgan Moritz, MAP’s series director and a public health major. “Everyone on the event team was amazed.” 

Prior to the event, MAP ordered 200 succulent plants from The Succulent Source, a company in California, and within a short amount of time, all of them were gone. 

Olivia Casey, a middle childhood education major and a member of MAP, classified “Plant Your Roots” as a successful event.

“It was our first in-person event that was on campus, and not virtual,” Casey said. “We had a great turnout. We gave away over 200 different succulents to 200 different students.”

Typically, people love succulent plants for their ability to purify the air and because they’re easy to maintain. So it makes sense that so many people would want to come to this event, but Moritz explains that those were not the only reasons students wanted to come.

“I think it showed everyone on MAP how desperate students are to get out of their dorms and see people face to face,” Moritz said. “I definitely learned that we need more in-person events on campus.”

Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter

Still, a lot of regulations had to be followed and permission had to be granted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Casey explains that MAP had to get this event authorized by both the Armstrong Student Center and President Crawford.

MAP laid arrows on the ground from start to finish in order to maintain social distancing, as well as keeping both tables (one with the plants and the other with the pots) six feet apart. 

Masks also had to be worn at all times, just like any other part of campus. They were handed out at the event in order to promote this practice.

The students were respectful of these regulations and understood it was necessary in order to make this in-person event successful. 

“They [the students] did respect the event being in person,” Casey said.“Everyone was cooperative and waited for their turn.” 

Moritz stressed the importance of continuing in-person events as much as possible during these times. 

“I think, in these hard times, having something for students to look forward to is very important,” Moritz said.

Jessica von Zastrow, the student body vice president of Miami and business economics and political science double major, had the chance to go and receive a succulent plant herself. 

She explained how she has loved coming to the “Plant Your Roots” event since her freshman year because it’s an opportunity to get to know the people who attend. 

“I think MAP did a good job adapting to the fact that we had to do things in a socially distant manner,” von Zastrow said. “It was really easy to just come up and pick up a succulent.”

People were encouraged to leave as soon as they got what they needed in order to promote social distancing. This might have made an impact on how quickly the event ended. 

“In previous years, it definitely took a little bit longer to go through the event because people would stick around to decorate pots,” von Zastrow said.

Even though decorating pots at the event wasn’t allowed, students around campus still took the time to decorate their pots with friends.

While most of Miami’s events remain digital, the success of this initial in-person activity could shape how other events unfold as the semester continues.