Benji Welch, a senior marketing major from Las Vegas, is not only helping save the environment but also creating history at Utah Tech University.
As Welch grew up, his family shared many camping and hiking experiences together. Those experiences are where he learned his love for the outdoors.
Welch lived in Oklahoma for a period of time and was surrounded by a strong anti-lawn movement where some members of his community pushed to have grass replaced with native plants, like clover. There, he gained an interest in horticulture and protecting native plants.
After exploring horticulture more in-depth, he began to dig deep into how humans can remediate the environment.
“Learning about all those things created a feeling of urgency to start healing the damage that humans have done to the earth and make it hospitable for humans in the future,” Welch said.
His previous experiences helped give him the idea of creating a pollinator garden for Utah Tech.
While attending Utah Tech in his sophomore year, he decided to join the Utah Tech Student Association when he saw a Blazer Digest flyer that said they were looking for marketing staff.
Welch’s title in USTA is the president initiative coordinator. His role is to help the student body president’s event ideas come to life through marketing and planning.
The impact Welch has made while working on UTSA has not gone unnoticed. He has worked on marketing over 15 events and is planning upcoming functions for the future.
Nicole Parkin, UTSA vice president of the service branch, has worked with Welch, and she said she has always noticed that he will tackle any issue that affects any group or person on campus.
“Benji is always willing to help others in any way, and he looks out for students and genuinely cares about people,” Parkin said.
Welch recently spent 50 hours of his time folding paper cranes for the crane Wall of Hope installation that was featured during the Utah Tech Annual Suicide Prevention Week.
Student Body President Jose Toral-Martinez, a senior communication studies major from St. George, said Welch is caring and dedicated to everything he does.
“He always has a positive outlook that makes others feel welcomed and included,” Toral-Martinez said.
The connections Welch has made while working with UTSA have helped make his dream of making a pollinator garden come to life.
After surveying 100 students and realizing there was an interest from the student body in creating a pollinator garden, Welch went to Del Beatty, the vice president of student affairs.
Beatty supported the idea and then helped him write a proposal and submit it to the space committee.
The space committee is a group of people who make decisions about where buildings can be placed and the overall layout of the campus.
In April 2023, Welch went to the space committee with the design layout, budget and a selected list of plants that the garden would home.
“It was hours of research that included engaging with plants and filtering through native plant lists based on pollinators, the local flowering time of each plant throughout the year, and of course, the color of different flowers, because I want it to be gorgeous,” Welch said.
Welch gets all of the inspiration from what he does from knowing that his work will improve others’ lives.
“I love working with Benji because of how passionate he is about his position and how amazing of a person he is,” Toral-Martinez said. “Everyone loves having him around.”
Welch will be taking his diploma from Utah Tech this spring and leaving behind an addition to the campus that will create a lasting legacy of environmental protection and wellness.