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Student organization spotlight: RIC’s Environmental Club

Angelina Coppola

Art Director

Photo taken by Angelina Coppola

Halloween at Rhode Island College saw a few themed events to bring some festive spookiness to campus. For the Environmental Club, a dive into some of the haunted meanings of flowers brought together both the Halloween energy and botanical dark academia. Led in the Donovan Dining Center, the club displayed some meanings of plants taken from “Floriography” by Jessica Roux, a book that explores the Victorian meanings of certain flowers.

The Victorian era discouraged open emotion, and this created the use of flowers to become a coded language used to express oneself. Some of the flowers the club chose to fit the Halloween vibe were the Marigold that represents grief and is commonly used as decoration during Día de Muertos and the Poppy that was used to represent eternal sleep or Persephone, the goddess of the Underworld. The club also included the Weeping Willow, a tree whose name stemmed from its association with mourning that was commonly depicted on gravestones or on Victorian mourning jewelry. The table display may have given the mood of eeriness and gloom, but the event itself was a symbol of new life for the Environmental Club.

The botanical dark academia display is one of the many events that the club has planned for this academic year. Student organizations at RIC have gone through some struggles following the effects of COVID, but like many others, the Environmental Club is building itself back up as an organization focusing on both the environment and sustainability.

Matty Peña, President of the Environmental Club, says the heart of the club’s mission is “To focus on the sustainability of life, including not only the environment but also the people that live in it.”

This event also focused on bringing more awareness to the RIC greenhouse on campus. A trivia night in the greenhouse is in the works.

Many students have, at most, walked by the greenhouse, but a majority are unaware of this space. Along with the campus garden, this greenhouse grows a variety of plants including vegetables and herbs used in the dining life at RIC.

Recently, the club hosted a honey harvest event to showcase one of RIC’s four beehives on campus. The beehive showcased was the one located at RIC’s campus garden, behind Fogarty Life Science.

Jim Murphy, RIC’s sustainability coordinator, demonstrated the honey extraction process and spoke about honey production. As the weather becomes warmer, the club hopes to host more events utilizing the greenhouse, garden and beehives to encourage more student involvement.

Those interested in becoming a member of the Environmental Club are welcome to attend any of their meetings. They hold bi-weekly meetings in Adam's Library Reinhart Room 301 from

1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Students who can’t attend the meetings, but want to learn more about the club’s work can email


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