Growing collection of plants at Kramer Hall
Stockton University’s Kramer Hall on Front Street has developed quite the plant collection over the years. The growing collection has provided a breath of fresh air to the building and everyone that comes through it and something the staff at the building have come to care deeply about.
The idea was one that started as something as simple as “general campus beautification,” according to Nick Zebrowski, Marketing, Events and Student Services Specialist at Kramer Hall.
“We have some beautiful plants on the main campus as well, so when this building opened we obviously had some corners that we wanted some beautiful foliage in. Also, our windows don’t open in this building so we were hoping that spreading some plants around would help with some air filtration, purification and all of that good stuff,” Christina Birchler, Director, Hammonton instructional sites, said.
Plants can require a lot of effort to properly maintain and care for, so doing so has become a group effort.
“We all volunteer our time in certain ways to take care of the plants. Like last summer, we had a clipping party where we had to trim them all down and we got to take the clippings home,” Zebrowski said.
The staff also does their best to do their research and make sure all the plants are getting the best care possible.
As far as favorites go, Zebrowski and Birchler both love the two that greet all guests when they first walk into the building. Zebrowski prefers Fernie, a Dieffenbachia (commonly known as a Dumb Cane or Leopard Lily), which stands over 6 feet tall. When the building got Fernie, it was a tiny plant back around 2014 and now it needs to be trimmed every so often to avoid touching the ceiling.
While Birchler appreciates Fernie as well, she prefers Petunia, a gorgeous croton that is gleaming with color and life. Petunia is one of two crotons in the building, but shares the same space as Fernie.
The plants have become part of the Kramer Hall family and some have even got their names from memories or people that have come through Kramer Hall. One plant, Sara, a Ficus Alii, got its nickname after making a recovery from a close call with death.
“This plant was named after Sara. Sara was with us for a while as an intern and then she left us for a wonderful full-time job but we named a plant after her because she almost killed her by putting Christmas lights on her. So, when we were able to get her back we decided to call it Sara,” Birchler said.
Zebrowski also began a social media campaign on Twitter and Instagram, creating posts about all of the building’s plants and their histories.
“I’m always looking to reach different audiences and reach different forms of our students and community and so we had come up with, as we were walking around the building the other day looking at all of our different plants, someone said that we should spotlight them on social media and I was like ‘that’s great.’ And then we have an unnamed plant so the finale of our little social media campaign is going to be for a student or community member to name our plant,” Zebrowski said.