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Clemson students working to revive campus greenhouse

The rooftop of Jordan Hall has long been a dead space on campus, but soon it will be bursting with lush green plants and flowers, thanks to Clemson University’s Gardening Club. The club not only plans to revive Jordan’s rooftop garden but also to turn it into a communal space for Clemson students.
The greenhouse was built years ago, but was abandoned soon after and hadn’t been given much attention until recently. Current Co-Presidents of the Gardening Club, Konnor McDowell and Savanah Dale, have been driving forces in the effort to restore and maintain the greenhouse.
“The greenhouse’s purpose is to provide a location for students [specifically members of the club] to store their plants and to garden,” McDowell said.  
A greenhouse allows gardeners to grow a variety of plants year-round and sustainably due to its controlled environment. The ability to control temperature, humidity and other factors allow scientists to achieve desired results. The plants are still able to grow in a natural environment, but also in the most ideal conditions.
Dale said the renovations were initially put into motion “to house specimens that belong to the Biological Sciences Department.” But their plans are more ambitious because the Gardening Club has been granted permission to “use it as a space for recreational and educational activities related to plants” as well, she said.
The Clemson Gardening Club saw “the need for a communal garden,” and jumped on the opportunity to make that vision a reality, McDowell said.
Most plants hosted in the greenhouse will be under the ownership of Gardening Club members, which will create a space for them to do what they wish with their individual plants. All other club grown plants will either be used for various “club functions,” such as “fundraisers [and] educational seminars, or donated,” McDowell said.
Although the Gardening Club wasn’t a part of the decision to have the greenhouse at Jordan Hall, it looks like it will prove to be beneficial to its members. Its central location on campus will give them the opportunity “to stop by and check on their plants in-between classes or engagements,” McDowell said.
It isn’t confirmed, but it is likely Jordan Hall was chosen “because Jordan and Long were the main buildings used for biological sciences classes at the time the greenhouse was built,” Dale said.
The Gardening Club hopes to open up the greenhouse to its members by the end of the semester, but they are facing some challenges. They must first get their plans for the garden approved through Clemson and CUSG, which may take longer than they are hoping. Other obstacles include “monetary considerations [which] take time to process,” as well as being patient with maintenance help in regards to getting the renovations done, Dale said.
Due to these issues there have been limited resources allocated to this project, further prolonging the process. But, in light of these complications, McDowell said, “there are many things we’ve had to get done, and luckily we have made great progress.”
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the Jordan Rooftop Greenhouse won’t be either. But, leaps and bounds are being made to cultivate a community garden, in hopes of promoting a greater sense of togetherness through it. An aim in the Gardening Club constitution is “to expand the communal nature of gardening at Clemson University” is clearly expressed, and now has been given the chance to be implemented through this project. McDowell said, “the Gardening Club is extremely supportive over any of these endeavors and is very excited to see Clemson become a greener campus.”

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