The National Honor Society for Horticulture, Pi Alpha Xi, began a new service project yesterday to reclaim land that had previously been uncared for.
The project, coined Guerilla Gardening, kicked off last night in the agricultural quad between Hutcheson Hall and Sandy Hall where several members of the organization came together to revamp one of the garden beds.
Sarah Hall, president of Pi Alpha Xi and senior Horticulture major, explained that the project was modeled off of a popular political movement in Europe, focused on nonviolent direct action toward cultivating land.
"They just kind of take what they think has been misused, or what they perceive to be misused or abandoned, and they assign a new purpose to it," said Hall. "We figured we're horticulture majors, we like plants; why not make (campus) beautiful, but do it secretly."
Hall explained that the idea had come from a participant in on of the organization's ice cream socials who mentioned guerilla gardening after recognizing that Pi Alpha Xi was looking for ways to be a more active group.
Hall also said that their advisor had to speak with the grounds manager before they could legally touch the land, though she suspects no one will get upset if the land looks better.
Beginning at 9 p.m. last night, members were planting pansies, violas, and many bulbs (which they said would blossom in the spring), and also worked to save the hostas already present.
Kevin Harris, senior horticulture major, said he was eager to participate in last night's gardening.
"It was a new thing that I had never heard about," Harris said. "It was brought up in one of our meetings and I just thought it sounded interesting, and wanted to give it a shot."
Harris explained that their organization is not necessarily looking for credit, but just hopes people realize that they are simply interested in beautifying land.
Senior horticulture major Regina Sharp, vice president of Pi Alpha Xi, added that the group wants to raise awareness about their organization's activities involving land cultivation.
Pi Alpha Xi hopes to continue with the project throughout the year, so long as it can find the money to keep it going.
"Right now, we're using the money that's in the account; some of it is dues from the new initiates last spring," Hall said. "Most of our income is from our bulb sale that we have on homecoming weekend. We're trying now to get some money by doing some landscaping for professors."