The purpose of the Plant and Soil Science Club (PSSC) is stated in the club’s constitution as “It shall be the purpose of this organization to: educate, teach, and explore horticulture and horticulturally related fields.”
Jennifer Chan, a third-year student and PSSC vice president, said the club began with a group of University of Idaho students who wanted to promote plant education and appreciation.
“Since in some cases, plants help bring a change of mood to people, whether it be the flowers make you happy and it reminds you of spring,” Chan said. “I think someone just wanted to bring awareness to that and just start a club on it.”
The PSSC has maintained a presence on campus for a couple of decades, although Chan said few students are aware of its extensive presence at the university.
“It’s a subtle club that’s been going on for a long time, but not a lot of people know about it,” Chan said.
Trevor Owens, president of the PSSC, said when his adviser recommended that he join the club, he thought it was a good opportunity to not only further his love for plants but also to become more involved.
“It’s kind of cool just to see the club morph and change over the years, and meet new people, new plants and new techniques progress over the years,” Owens said.
PSSC has members majoring under the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, but Chan and Owens said students of all majors are welcome. Currently, some of the club’s members are majoring in psychology, sociology and history. Not all members are students, either.
“Anybody within our university, faculty, staff, we’ve got a couple of people who have graduated and who are still on staff with the university, who still want to be part of our club,” Owens said.
The club meets at 6 p.m. every Thursday inside the greenhouses off of 6th Street. To be a member, students must attend two meetings and sales events.
Chan, a plant biology technology major with a minor in microbiology, said students should join if they like being around plants, taking care of them or if they simply want to try something new.
“I love plants,” Chan said. “They are just adorable and succulents are my favorite, so I wanted to join this club that could teach me how to get a green thumb and not necessarily kill my plants.”
The PSSC participates in yearly community service projects as a means to show that they care about the community outside of campus. Some of these projects include collecting donations for the Christmas for Kids in the winter, creating Mothers’ Day hanging baskets and taking care of weed and bug infestations for the Etymology Department in the spring.
The PSSC also works on projects beyond the Moscow community. Owen said the club takes a yearly trip to a historical nature preserve in Hills Canyon, where members help prune apple trees.
“We get to camp out for a couple of days. Kind of being somewhat off the grid per say. It’s really nice,” Owen said.
During the spring, the PSSC takes an annual trip to a garden. Last year, the club went up to Butchart Garden in Brentwood Bay, British Colombia. Chan said the experience was memorable because it helped club members bond in a new way.
“The garden was extravagant. I loved it and it was memorable because the whole club was together, so we all drove there together in a big bus and we stayed together in a hotel,” Chan said. “It felt as though we were a team, like how sports teams usually travel for away games, but we were there looking at plants and just enjoying ourselves.”