Students planted 500 daffodil bulbs throughout the Commonwealth Honors College Residential Community on Saturday, Oct. 15. For the participants, the weekend gardening project provided an opportunity to meet neighbors, build community, and honor the late CHC Dean Priscilla Clarkson.
In 2010, Clarkson organized a daffodil planting near the campus’s Old Chapel to celebrate the growth of the Honors College. Clarkson chose a flower symbolic for blossoming and multiplying year after year, much like honors education continues to grow and thrive over time. This year, students and staff honored Clarkson and her daffodil tradition by planting hundreds of new bulbs within the honors residential area, a community that Clarkson had envisioned for the college before she passed away.
Associate Dean Alexandrina Deschamps explained this history to the students at the start of the event.
“I didn’t know the significance until just now, which makes it even nicer to be here,” said sophomore Ally Rosati after the brief presentation.
In the spirit of building community, the students gathered for lunch in the Events Hall and participated in an “icebreaker” activity outdoors to get to know each other better. They shared their majors, interests, and hobbies before beginning to garden.
“It’s a great way to meet everyone and get to know new people,” said freshman Carl McDonald.
Five hundred daffodil bulbs waited for the students on the lawn between Sycamore and Elm, in addition to shovels and bulb planters. The gardeners split up into groups of three and four, finding spots around the residential area to dig and plant.
“It’s cool to think that as a freshman I can plant these flowers, and maybe they’ll be here when I graduate,” said Sophia Nguyen.
Freshman Doris Chan agreed. “Since I’m new, it’s like making my mark here,” she added.
Though many students said they didn’t have much gardening experience, all 500 bulbs were planted within less than two hours. The flowers that the students planted will bloom each year to coincide with the spring Daffodil Lecture, an annual event that brings a distinguished speaker to campus to discuss sustainability and the environment.
Freshman Jack Bobe said he decided to take part in the gardening to help make his community a little nicer, and many students echoed the same idea.
“I can tell that the community sentiment is really here for the dean,” said freshman Ciya Bresilla, who attended the planting. “There’s something remarkable about that.”