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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

DIY Herb Garden brings greenery to students during Spread Goodness Week

Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Meyer MERRY MARIGOLDS—Marigolds planted in old yogurt containers. One goal of the DIY Herb garden event is to promote sustainability by planting the seeds in reusable containers like old mugs and soup bowls.

The week after midterms, a time normally spent surrounded by lush scenery and friends on spring break, is bound to be a somewhat stressful time for students as they dive back into the eighth straight week of classes. It just so happens that this week also lines up perfectly with Spread Goodness Week which will hopefully add some greenery and enjoyment to students’ otherwise hectic lives. 

March 12 is recognized as Spread Goodness Day, but in recent years NMU’s Center for Student Enrichment has expanded that idea into Spread Goodness Week. This semester, amidst COVID-19 safety protocols, the planning has had to include fewer hands on activities but they still managed to create ideas like the Do It Yourself Herb Garden.

One of the leaders behind this event was senior Mackenzie Meyer, Spanish and English secondary education double major and Superior Edge Volunteer Center Coordinator. Meyer not only came up with the idea for providing plants to students but was an integral part in organizing the logistics and getting others excited about it.

“I’m a plant mom, I love plants,” Meyer said. “I think it is just a really good way to get people out of their dorms and just to take care of something. I think adding a bit of green to your life is always a good idea.”

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Students can add a bit of green to their lives on Monday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the first floor of Jamrich. The DIY Herb Garden event will provide small bags of seeds, prepackaged bags of dirt and optional planting containers. 

“Students can pot their plant [at the table] if they want or they can just take it home. Basically, we had little packets of seeds and a Ziploc bag full of dirt, and then it is their choice if they want to grab something to put everything in, like a soup bowl or a mug or a jar,” Meyer said. “We did it all separately so they could use their own stuff at home as well.”

The event description on the Hub makes it clear that one of the key points of this event is sustainability and recycling as well. A brand new pot is not necessarily needed to bring new plants into this world.

“We are taking a sustainable approach to this event and have bought a select amount of reused containers for potting purposes. If you take some dirt/seeds home, we recommend that you do the same and plant your little seeds in an old jar, yogurt cup or frankly anything that would otherwise be thrown out. Let’s be sustainable and spread some goodness this week,” according to the Hub event page. 

The containers offered at the table in Jamrich include old mugs from Goodwill, donated glass jars and unused soup bowls from the Food Pantry. Students do not have to take a container to put their new plant in, but they are more than welcome to, said junior Dallas St. Onge, speech, language and hearing science major and Superior Edge Volunteer Center Coordinator. 

“They are just available if students maybe do not have a pot to plant in, which we were kind of suspecting with the on-campus students. We also have pre-packaged bags of dirt. There is actually a pretty good amount of dirt in it so you could maybe get two plants out of it, and then we have really tiny manilla envelopes with a couple seeds,” St. Onge said. “Marigolds are ones that we have the most of but we have a couple herbs like oregano, sage, fennel. I think we have nine [types of] herbs in total and we have them labeled … if they only need the seeds, they can take only the seeds but they need everything, then by all means they can take everything.”

Meyer specifically chose to include marigolds in the plants for this event, mainly because they are super easy to grow, she said. She has quite a bit of experience with plants and hopes students can find a similar joy in growing some themselves.

“I go to Lowe’s and I get a clearance plant and I nurse it back to health. They have plants there for like $2 and sometimes just nursing something back to health and holding yourself accountable for something else like a plant can really bring you out of a slump,” Meyer said. “To me that is kind of what the herb garden is about and what the whole week is about. Spreading goodness and being kind to others and just the small things in life.”

Spread Goodness Week will also include postcards for students to send to people they care about as well as a book giveaway, canned food donations for the NMU Food Pantry and a campus-wide collaborative Spotify playlist of songs that make people happy. To read more about these events and Spread Goodness Week, check out our recent features article.

All of these events, including the DIY Herb Garden, are available to students in an effort to bring them some joy during a time when human connection feels more difficult than usual. Superior Edge hopes that Spread Goodness Week will not only provide some activities during the week but that students will provide for their plants and continue to spread goodness throughout the rest of the semester.

“I’m really hoping that students will feel more connected to campus and one another by doing this. I mean, COVID-19 has been so hard on everyone and it has made us all so isolated and it still continues to keep you isolated, even if you are in classes on campus or doing them online. There is a disconnect all across campus and we are really hoping that by doing this, students will feel more connected to Northern as a whole,” St. Onge said. “By having a plant you have to care for, that is a new addition to your college family in a way. I really hope that it will help some people feel connected and look forward to spring.”

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About the Contributor
Katarina Rothhorn
Katarina Rothhorn, Features Writer
The first message I ever sent from my Northern Michigan University sanctioned email was to the editor-in-chief of the North Wind asking if there was any way I could join the staff. Classes hadn't even started yet but I knew if there was one place I was going to be in college, it was going to be in the news room helping create an archive of campus life. Being a part of the North Wind has shown me a sides of NMU that I would not have known existed otherwise and has given me a platform to raise up the stories of those who are often overlooked. After being a copy editor, features editor and now the editor-in-chief, I feel so grateful to be a part of an excellent staff and have the opportunity to learn, grow, and make mistakes along side a great support system.