The sweet and fresh scent of flowers filled the Student Union thanks to the 2018 Special Plant Sale, organized by Ewha Consumer’s Cooperative (Coop). From April 2 to 4, the Coop held a special plant sale at the Student Union to celebrate Arbor Day and to raise awareness of the importance of plants in our daily lives. Numerous students formed a long line to purchase the greens provided by the Coop, with the sales counter occupied at all times.
The Coop is a non-profit organization that was established in 1989 to improve consumer rights and purchasing conditions. Its main purpose is to raise the living standards of its members. On Ewha campus and elsewhere, the Coop sells products at a lower price than they are available online and holds various events for the benefit of all, such as soy candlemaking and flea markets, as well as April’s Special Plant Sale. The Coop runs the Ewha Campus Complex souvenir shop, Ewha Welcome Center and 15 other markets on campus. “We get questions on how we are able to present goods at such a cheap price,” said a member of the student committee of Ewha Coop, which is also known as “Ewha Thank You.”
“For this event, we looked around the numerous flower wholesale markets in Gupabal district to choose the best ones considering the price points. As we had already conducted a flower demand survey with students, we were able to set the price with the process being less complicated.” Coop members conducted a survey to find out which plants students wanted to buy including the level of demand for each type of plant and calculated the anticipated sales. The survey, conducted this year, turned out to be a success, enabling the Coop to meet the demands of Ewha students while increasing its profits.
At the Special Plant Sale, Ewha Coop provided about 60 different types of plants and flowers, offering them at a 10% discount to members of Coop. One member said that about 1,374 students visited the event, a slight increase on last year’s Special Plant Sale in which 1,219 students participated. In order to allow more students to participate, Coop changed the opening time of the event to 10:30 a.m., whereas till last year it was 11 a.m. Last year, many students came to the event after finishing the 10 a.m. chapel, but they had to wait for 30 minutes for the event to start. So there were some students who walked away for having to wait quite a while. To avoid such students, Coop decided to open early for more students to come and participate. A m o n g t h e d i v e r s e a n d numerous plants, the most popular were those that were easy to keep, such as the Stuckyi and mints, and those that function as air cleaners. This feature is attractive to students and consumers in general given that yellow dust from China is a huge issue nowadays. Plants were sold out before the event closed, showing the popularity of the sale.
“ I f o l l o w E w h a C o o p ’s Facebook page, so I got a notification one day that a special plant sale was going to be held,” said Ewha Psychology major Yoon Go-eun. “As I had attended the sale last year, I already knew it was going to be such a good opportunity to buy new plants, so I didn’t hesitate to go again. The prices are much cheaper than those sold on the internet and I liked the fact that I was able to carry the plant home myself safely.” Yoon mentioned that when plants are ordered online, the plants are often handled carelessly, resulting the plants arriving broken or in a bad condition. However, the on-campus event enabled students to carry their plants home safely. “However, I wish there was some notice or announcement of the types of plants that are available each day,” Yoon said. “Through the school online communities such as Everytime or Ewhaian, students post their recommendations or review of the plants, but when I come to buy the same one, it was already sold out. It would be much better if the event staff could update the available plants each day.”
Although there are some improvements to be made, members of Ewha Coop saw the 2018 Special Plant Sale as more successful than last year’s event. Starting with the marketing carried out both on the school online communities and the Ewha Coop Facebook account, students were more interested in plants and their functions due to the severe air pollution this year. According to Air Korea, from March 26 to April 1, the average fine dust (measured by weight) was bad, which can lead to irritations of the respiratory tract in the case of long exposure.
“Arbor Day was originally aimed at planting trees to prevent further air pollution,” stressed one of the organizers. “Although the Special Plant Sale held on campus did not completely match the goal of Arbor Day, we hope this event has increased the overall interest in plants among Ewha students.”