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Cultivating mental wellness at Plant Night

On Friday, April 26, the University of New Mexico Student Union Building hosted Plant Night – an event where students received free plants and decorated their pots. 

The art supplies to paint the pots were provided by the SUB. Harsh Kumar, an attendee of the event, and his family painted their pot with bright colors and nature.

Kumar’s family doesn’t keep ornamental plants – grown for their appearance rather than functionality – too often, he said. Instead, they spend their time taking care of their edible plants.

“We usually plant Indian plants. We have okra and different vegetables like chiles. This is the first time we have these non-vegetable ones,” Kumar said.

Kumar was one of the random winners of a $25 gift card to the Range Café. A prize number was written on top of various plant saucers, which were covered by the pots. When a SUB employee uncovered the prize number by lifting the pot, Kumar was given the gift card.

200 small succulents were purchased for the event from home improvement store Home Depot, according to Mark Sanchez, programming manager at the SUB.

Those who were not winners could still win a $25 Buffalo Wild Wings gift card through the pot decoration challenge.

“We have painting stuff for people to decorate and they're gonna post on their social media and tag us,” Sanchez said. “We'll post them all to our story, pick our favorite and they'll win a gift card.”

The winner of the pot decorating challenge will be announced next week, according to the SUB’s X page (formerly known as Twitter). The best pot will be decided by Sanchez and others who work at the SUB.

Long lines were present at the start of the event, as many people gathered in hopes of obtaining a plant. Those waiting in line could buy a sweet drink from the mobile dessert cafes Bing Tea and Pop Pop’s.

Student Health and Counseling made an appearance at the event. Nature can have many health benefits, according to Traye Holland, the Mental Health and Development Specialist at SHAC.

“Plants make an apartment or dorm room more beautiful. Just having something there for you to care for, something other than yourself that you can nourish and watch grow –  it's very calming,” Holland said.

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Students that received the special sunglasses given at Plant Night can enter an exclusive raffle at the SUB’s next event, Late Night Breakfast, if they also have the two “special items” from other events. Late Night Breakfast will be hosted Sunday, May 5.

Nate Bernard is a beat reporter with the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at or on Twitter @DailyLobo

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