Join horticulture club, see the U.S.
By Maria Hetzer
School field trips usually don't take students to the Anheuser-Busch brewery, to the Smokey Mountains or to America's largest home. However, Purdue University's Horticulture Club takes students on trips like these each year.
Photo provided by Mark Watson
Purdue University Horticulture Club members visited the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C., in the fall of 2004.
During Purdue's 2004 fall break, 28 Horticulture Club members went on a three-day trip to Tennessee and North Carolina. Mark Gross, a senior in landscape horticulture and design from Greenwood, Ind., was amazed by the club's visit to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C. The club took a tour of the more than 100-year-old house. There were around 30 bathrooms and "food pantries the size of a modern kitchen," said Gross.
The Biltmore is the world's largest home with 250 rooms and 250 acres of landscaped gardens, according to the Biltmore Web site. Movies like Forrest Gump and Hannibal include scenes shot at this immense estate. "It looks like a French castle," said Whitney Crosslin, a sophomore in communication from Danville, Ind. "I felt like it wasn't in the United States, and that was cool."
Members also visited the horticulture gardens at the University of Tennessee, the World's Fair Park and the Great Smoky Mountains. "I definitely liked hiking in the mountains," said Jaci Drury, a sophomore in landscape horticulture and design from Danville, Ind. "I'd never really been to any mountains. It was very relaxing."
Traveling to so many sites, members spent a lot of time on the tour bus. "They expected us to sleep,but I'm a fairly tall guy and buses aren't very friendly for guys like us," said Gross.
The trip was also a good way for new members to get to know each other and to keep their minds off campus, said Trisha Slater, club president and a senior in horticulture production and marketing from Warsaw, Ind. Drury initially joined Horticulture Club her freshman year to meet people and get involved. Eventually she got to know some of the senior members really well; she now asks them for advice about classes and internships.
To continue these trips and keep them affordable, the club must do some fund-raising. The annual Horticulture Show is the club's most profitable event, raising about $10,000 each year, said Slater. The Horticulture Show, rose sales and other activities throughout the year keep traveling costs for students under $100.
Slater believes that success at Purdue can only be complete by joining organizations like Horticulture Club and getting involved.