Add a Little Green to Your Dorm

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For students living on a college campus, dorm rooms often become like a home away from home. Students often eat, sleep, play, socialize, cook, study, complete assignments, and so much more all within the confines of the multipurpose area we call a dorm.

Some students, choose to embellish this space with extravagant décor; personal photos, colorful posters, curtains, throw pillows, the works! Others prefer a more minimalist approach, because whatever you bring you have to pack up at the end of the semester, right? Everyone chooses to do something a little different with their dorm, and there are no wrong answers (as long as they adhere to school guidelines that is); you learn to make the space work for you.

If you live on campus, chances are you’re a full-time student, taking at least 12-15 credit hours’ worth of classes. According to the American Association of Colleges & Universities (AACU), students should, and often do, spend approximately 2-4 hours studying and completing assignments per contact hour for each of their classes (McCormick, 2011).

Let’s take a minute to add that up shall we; 12-15 credit hours equates to approximately the same amount of time in contact hours per week. 12-15 hours spent in class, and let’s just say you spend a mere 2 hours of studying for each hour of class, that’s 30 hours allocated to just studying. Now, take into account the time spent sleeping, showering, eating, and leisure activities that take place in your dorm, that’s a lot of time spent inside.

In 2019, the American Addiction Centers conducted a research study on stress and the impacts it has on college students. Out of the 980 former and current college students, surveyed across the country and representative of a wide variety of majors at various universities, 87.9% of students in the survey reported experiencing high stress levels due to their heavy and rigorous course loads, and 93% of which reported that the stress they experienced had significant negative impacts on their mental health (2019).

Feeling and knowing that you’re stressed, versus knowing what to do and how to relieve that stress are very different things. There are plenty of blogs, podcasts, support groups, and articles that talk about the benefits of meditation, exercise, journaling, etc. Sure, all of those are great things but what about something a little more… full of life, a little more fun, something a little more… green?

Yes, green, let’s talk about growing plants in your dorm. Studies show that adding plant life in living spaces where you spend a lot of time can offer a multitude of various mental, physical, and emotional benefits for everyone, especially those who live a more sedentary lifestyle (remember the number of hours spent in your dorm we talked about earlier?).  Some of these benefits include: boosts in mood and immune system response, improved air quality, focus, and productivity, increase in serotonin and dopamine levels which in turn help to relieve stress, anxiety, and tension.

Perhaps you’re not a fan of the idea, don’t have a “green thumb”, or know absolutely anything about plants. No worries, here is a quick run-down of different plant types that others have already discovered do well indoors, with very little to no attention or skill required. The Spruce.com and Costafarms are prepped and ready for college students, here’s what they recommend:

The Green Stuff: Lucky Bamboo (bright to low light, dry soil)  Succulents/ Cacti (Lots of sun, dry soil)  Snake plant (low light, dry soil)  Ponytail Palm (Bright light, dry soil)

Pops of Color: Bromeliads (Bright/ indirect light, damp soil) African Violets (Indirect light, damp soil) Orchids (Medium to bright light, dry soil)  Coleus (low to medium light, damp soil)

Many of the plants listed above can be found at your local Lowes, Home Depot, or Walmart gardening center, but don’t be afraid to check out local plant nurseries, farmer’s markets, or plant sales happening on campus and around town too.

ABAC’s own Horticulture club will be hosting a plant sale April 8-9 from 9 am-5 pm.

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