Floral design program is blooming with success

Sowing seeds for a successful program, Lesleighan Cravens is working to make huge strides for the floral program at the University of Missouri.

“This program is all encompassing for the floral industry, you can really get a lot out of it,” said Cravens, plant sciences instructor. “We send students to growers and designers across the nation.”

The latest addition to the program is a study abroad experience to Holland, the number one flower producer in the world. According to Cravens, students will explore the Dutch culture while learning from the best in the floral industry. From auction houses to the plant breeding technology, this new experience has something for every student. In addition to design and flower dyeing classes, students will learn about the mechanics behind efficient harvesting of stems at some of the world’s largest greenhouses.

The experience is set to run over the university’s spring break offering students an opportunity to explore the world while not sacrificing any regularly scheduled class time.

In addition to leading the study abroad experience, Cravens also advises the MU Student Chapter of the American Institute of Floral Designers. This organization has seen success over the past several years as members compete at competitions and conferences across the country.

“Symposium is where we compete and network along industry professionals while we learn more about design over the course of seven days” Cravens said.

The students of the club even pass on their knowledge gained through symposium and competition to those in the Columbia area by putting on community classes periodically throughout the school year.

“I enjoy hosting the public classes for sorority mom’s weekends, where we have over 120 people in the class,” said Sabrina Morris, public relations vice president with the organization.

A minor in plant sciences could be achieved by students who want to focus on the floral design courses and participate in the study abroad trip. The classes are hands on and wildly popular. Students can be seen exiting Craven’s design studio with arrangements ranging from a classic rose bouquet to an intricate abstract display. By completing all parts of the minor through floral design classes, the student will be well equipped to take on a variety of jobs in the floral industry.

 The program sees between 300 and 315 students a semester. The majority of the students are enrolled in the introduction class. Floral design is open to every college on MU campus reaching far beyond just the students enrolled in a CAFNR related field.