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Speaking to Non-Horticulture Students
One year ago, I had one of the most humbling experiences in my professional life. I was asked by an old friend, Dr. Dave Clark, a Professor of Ornamental Horticulture at the University of Florida, to give a talk to one of his classes.
He warned me beforehand that this was not your typical Horticulture class where students were majoring in the subject. Instead, it was a class he created specifically for non-Horticulture students. His goal was to create awareness for the horticulture industry and to demonstrate how cool it was to students who were clueless about plants.
I thought it was a great idea to start this class. After a few years, it became a very popular class on campus that is extremely well attended and loved by the participants. It doesn’t hurt that Dr. Clark is a great communicator, very well connected in the horticulture industry and therefore able to bring great speakers to his class. Students also seem to like the free plants and flowers that are donated by the friends in the industry. While the class may not be mandatory for the students that take, Dr. Clark is making sure that the students attending take the class very seriously.
These classes have shown to be a very engaged group, mostly there to have fun but also to learn. As Dr. Clark would say, these folks are a great demographic since they are highly educated and will have a better than average income after graduation. Talking to this group is a great opportunity to make them future consumers of our products.
As a speaker, I found that it was a lot of fun but also quite a challenge to talk to the class. The questions they asked were probably the most interesting part of my time with them.
I think that we can all use Dr. Clark as an example of how to reach the next generation of consumers. He was recently recognized by the horticulture industry for having given more than 40,000 plants to the students of this class over the years. Way to go Dr. Clark!