Mulch Ado About Beautification

Staff members and students lend a hand with the grounds

Compiled by Staff

Compiled by Staff

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  • President David Johns, right, speaks with Jim King, Grounds Enhancement Manager, about the project at hand.

  • Tools for Lawn Enforcement.

  • Susan Johns digs in around the Beckham Hall sign.

  • Crystal Haley, Executive Assistant to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, takes a rake to the leaves and weeds.

  • David Johns takes an action hoe to the weeds.

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As the temps begin to turn with some of the leaves, the dormant yellows, oranges, and reds begin to appear on campus.

With that comes frosty mornings, warm afternoons, hoodies, and hot drinks from the Panther Grounds.

On Thursday, President David Johns sent out an all-call for volunteer help Friday morning in front of Britt Hall, weeding, raking, and helping beautify in general. The almost-frosty morning provided an opportunity to get a little dirty without the usual blanket of humidity that so often drapes the area.

“This campus is for all of us, and all of us are involved in its care,” Johns said. “We all benefit from its beauty, and so it’s good that we can respond to its care,” Johns said.

Johns said the plan was to have anyone interested just show up, and then they would focus their attention on the mulched area in front of Beckham Hall.

“It’s a big campus, and we have a handful of folks who try to take care of the whole place, and we thought we’d offer a little bit of help and see what we can do together. We have 700 acres, and that’s a lot,” he said.

Johns and wife, Susan, in a contemporary “American Gothic” scene, traded in the storied pitch fork for rakes, shovels, and action hoes as they set about with other staff members to help increase the campus aesthetic.

“I love gardening, and I love this place,” Susan Johns said. “To keep it weed-free is quite the challenge for everybody. Usually I’ll work around the house–the president’s house–to keep that up. But I love it; I love digging in the dirt.”

Grounds Enhancement Manager Jim King was grateful for the help.

“I really appreciate it,” he said. “It makes the job a little easier.”

Before long others were also digging the scene, and the Tom Sawyer mentality caught on.

Katie Goff, Associate Professor of Biology, brought her Human Anatomy and Physiology class out to lend their hands–and backs.

“I figure we’re learning about the human body and keeping it healthy–and what better way to keep it healthy and get a little activity while supporting the community? Forged As One,” Goff said, tagging with this year’s campus hashtag.

By 10:30 a.m., a little more than 30 people dotted the area, and the grounds were making a transformation.

Crystal Haley, Executive Assistant to the Vice president of Academic Affairs pitched in as well and summed up the event.

“Helping around (the campus) gets other people invested. To me it gets other people active in dong things on campus helps spruce things up,” Haley said.

The group wrapped up just prior to community hour at 11:30 a.m.