Several University of Mount Olive ag students recently attended and participated in the annual Green & Growin’ Conference held in Greensboro, NC. The conference is the Southeast’s biggest event for green industry professionals and included eight educational tracks, 50 sessions, and 100 Continuing Education Units-CEU credits for certification renewals and continuation education. The marketplace trade show hosted over 375 vendors, on-floor demonstrations, and networking opportunities. Participants at the conference learned from industry leaders and specialists about the latest technology and trends. Keynote speakers such as Dr. Charles Hall and Bryce Lane shared their insight on the post-Covid green industry and leadership in times of uncertainty.
According to Dr. Jason Davis, Assistant Dean for the School of Agriculture and Biological Sciences at UMO, students from other universities and community colleges attended parts of the conference. “However,” he said, “the University of Mount Olive was the only institution to have students participate and volunteer throughout the five- day event.”
Nine UMO students participated in the North Carolina Certified Plant Professional (CPP) Exam, a valued credential used to recognize proficiency in NC’s green industry workforce. “The exam consisted of a 100-question multiple choice test on various horticultural practices and concepts, in addition to a 125 plant identification test selected from a potential 298 plants or pests found in landscapes in North Carolina,” Davis said. To prepare for the test, UMO’s participating students spent the fall semester learning all 300 plants on the list and horticultural concepts in the AGE 321 course. Davis noted that UMO’s students will learn their scores in the coming weeks.
In addition, seven UMO students volunteered with the North Carolina Nursery and Landscape-NCNLA. The volunteers assisted with registration, check-in, and speaker introductions. “Our students showcased their work ethic and communication skills while speaking and interacting with guests at the conference,” Davis said. “As a result of this intersection of relationship building, hard work, and knowledge demonstration, two of our students received job commitments upon their graduation from UMO this spring.”