Rain or shine, the Rinard Orchid Greenhouse is a covered, indoor area simulating a small tropical environment, serving as the perfect place for Wednesday’s Lunch at the Greenhouse program, despite the rainy weather.

This program takes place year-round at the greenhouse on University Avenue. On the first Wednesday of every month from noon to 1 p.m., the Ball State community is invited to eat lunch in a calming environment away from the desk.

Greenhouse curator Cheryl LeBlanc explained this program is a unique way to experience the scenery.

“We have a wonderful facility,” LeBlanc said. “We were trying all kinds of creative ways to get people to find us and utilize us. This is something a little different.”

The Rinard Orchid Greenhouse is the largest college collection of orchids in the nation, mentioned by Tom Schwartz, a volunteer and docent at the greenhouse.

Schwartz said it has been visited by people from nearly 40 states and more than 20 countries, including 335 people just last month.

Despite these high numbers, Schwartz explained it can be difficult at times to get students to attend events.

“A lot of people will come in and say, ‘I had no idea this was here’,” Schwartz said.

That’s why LeBlanc hopes this program will attract new visitors to the greenhouse, by providing a welcoming, relaxing environment for the community.

“Come change your perspective. Come change your scenery. Maybe reset your day if you’re having a good day or bad day,” LeBlanc said. “It’s relaxing in a way, so if you’re typically working at your desk, this is a nice change.”

Ball State junior Katelyn Cowden agreed, saying the greenhouse serves a personal place for peace.

“For me, it’s definitely relaxing,” Cowden said. “I leave work, come here and then I have classes. It’s just such a nice little wind-down.”

LeBlanc encourages people in the community to visit the greenhouse at their own convenience, even outside of normal programming hours.

“You can do it on your own,” LeBlanc said. “You can actually come any day in addition to the scheduled days, so if this is where you decide you want to have lunch on Friday, you can come. You can come in and go any place you’d like.”

The next Lunch at the Greenhouse is scheduled for Nov 1. For more information on the Rinard Orchid Greenhouse and its programming, visit the website here and the Facebook page here