The pretty campus: UAF goes green (literally)

Jeremia Schrock / Sun Star Reporter
June 4, 2011

Cody Rogers (background) and Damian Snook, both Wood Center employees, arrange flowers to be planted during UAF's June 1 Campus Planting Day. This was Rogers sixth event and Snook's first. Jeremia Schrock/Sun Star

It’s summer at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), which means the usually snow-covered campus is bathed in sunshine. Soaking up the sun on the morning of June 1 was a group of students, staff and community members. They were all on campus and out-of-doors for one reason: it was Campus Planting Day.

This month saw the 17th annual Campus Planting Day. Managing the event was Cheri Renson, UAF’s Director of Public Events. According to Renson, community flower groups organized the first event to beautify the campus for summer visitors. Now, the event is now handled by Facility Services.

Renson stated that UAF grows most of it’s own flowers and estimated that 30,000 seeds were planted last fall in preparation for the summer. There are close to 130 different flower beds spread throughout the campus and each one has it’s own history and tradition. The Wood Center flowerbeds have been traditionally planted by the building’s staff, the Top of the World Garden Club has a bed nearby, and the Business Office always plants the flowers outside of Signers Hall. “There are so many beds that you kind of drive by and not even realize they’re there until their blooming in flowers,” Renson said.

One woman taking part in the planting is Sally Wien. Wien, a member of the Top of the World Garden Club, has been taking part in Campus Planting Day for a decade. “I just enjoy being outdoors,” she said. “I enjoy making the campus pretty for the tourists and for the students that come in the summer.”

Wien has a deep, personal connection to the university. Her father was former UA president William O’Neill and she herself graduated from UAF in 1962. Wien added that the program she graduated from is no longer offered, but that her B.S. in Science and Home Economic Education has served her well.

Another individual who has been involved with the planting day for sometime is Cody Rogers, Director of the Student Activities Office. Rogers began planting flowers at UAF six years ago, first as a student and later as a staff member. “I enjoy the flowers a lot in the summertime, so it’s a great way to spruce up the area around the wood center,” she said.

Carrie McGee takes part in the university's June 1 Campus Planting Day. Jeremia Schrock/Sun Star

“It’s very nice to get out,” Rogers added. “Especially when your office doesn’t have a window.” Rogers’ office is currently housed inside the Wood Center.

This was the first time Alex Roberts, a junior in psychology, had taken part in the event. Her boss, Damian Snook of New Student Orientation, asked her if she wanted to spend part of her workday outside planting flowers. “It was nice to have a chance to come out here for a few hours and make the campus pretty,” she said. “I like planting flowers. I like being outside.

“It’s a great way for me to give back to the campus…in a fun way,” Rogers said.

Sherry Modrow, the wife of Chancellor Rogers, was planting flowers with Wien. This was the first of many planting events she hopes to participate in.

What was most nice about it? “Being out in the sunshine and seeing friends,” Modrow said.

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