Sprouting Saints

Myki Dee Kim, Staff Writer


On Friday Sept. 6, 2019, the annual Campus Beautification Day took place, and the Saint Martin’s community congregated in a day of service. From our monastic community to students, many hands pitched in making the SMU campus ready for the fall semester. The event began at 8:30 a.m. and continued until 12:30 p.m., followed by a lunch in the Trautman Union Building (TUB). The lunch was a time for all participants to relax, connect with old friends, and get to know new faces. Community members helped in areas such as weeding, evening soil, and overall landscaping of the campus grounds. 

In the late 1990s into the early 2000s, Campus Beautification was a compilation of individual efforts from faculty and staff. Faculty and staff members had special places on campus which they took upon themselves to care for. This tradition of faculty and staff members caring for particular grounds sections came to a halt in the early 2000s. In 2017, the University had partaken on a yearlong charge as the Year of Service. Under the direction of the St. Martin’s University Grounds and Maintenance Department, and with the help of administration, the event has sprung back to life new and improved.

Philip Cheek, the Director of Facilities Management, described behind the scenes work that goes into making Campus Beautification a success. On the day of, the grounds crew consisted of four full-time staff and numerous student workers. The main point person for the event is Grounds Supervisor Ahern Johnson. During the check-in time at 8:30 a.m., community members come to the TUB and gather equipment such as gloves, hand rakes, and pruners to help make the working efforts possible. Under the direction of the St. Martin’s University Grounds Department, participants are spread out to several areas across campus. This year’s focus areas included the Ernsdorff Center, the TUB, Harned Hall, and Cebula Hall. Throughout the day, grounds employees went around collecting the green waste and eventually took it to be disposed at SMU’s own composting area. Cheek says that he enjoys Campus Beautification Day every year as it brings together the Saint Martin’s community. One of his favorite parts of the day is seeing students come out to work and take ownership of the work they put in to making campus beautiful. Cheek stated, 

“This is your home. When your home looks nice you take pride in your home.” 

Genevieve Chan, Vice President of Marketing and Communications is the leader behind the publication of this annual event. Since the restart in 2017, Chan has seen a growth in participation from varying offices on campus who utilize the day as a team building opportunity; as well as with athletic teams who cared for their specific sporting venues. Along with different groups coming out to build relationships within their offices, it fosters relationships across the entire community. Chan views the event as campus-wide and, 

“likes to do it every year because it gives me an opportunity to meet everyone. Despite being such a small school, we don’t always get to know everyone as much as we would like.” 

She also believes that with combined community effort, this act of service translates to a tangible action that helps instill a great sense of pride for the campus at large. Chan hopes that with the continual growth of the event, alumni will start to come out and experience the special sense of community that SMU has to offer, as well as meet new faces that make up the Saint Martin’s family.  

Volunteers are what make this annual event a success. Individuals and offices all came together to lend a helping hand around campus. Mariel Garcia, Development and Events Associate in the Office of Institutional Advancement, says that she enjoys giving back to the campus and contributing to make Saint Martin’s beautiful. Garcia, who is an alumna of the university, graduated in 2014 with her undergraduate degree in Business Administration and her MBA in 2019, and is very familiar with Campus Beautification, as she has participated in years prior. She enjoys the continual opportunity to work with her office and the larger campus community to do her share as an alumna and staff member.  Tony Porter, a senior studying Business Administration, with concentrations in marketing and management, is extremely familiar with the wonderful work our facilities and maintenance team does for the Saint Martin’s community. Porter has spent summers on the Paint Crew, and was a supervisor during the summer as well as a current student worker in the department. Porter believes that 

“Campus Beautification Day is important because it’s a day where you can connect the SMU community – and it’s something that you can look at and see the results and be proud of.” 

He also enjoys being able to meet faculty and staff that he is unable to see on a regular basis. Overall, he believes that Campus Beautification Day is beyond simply cleaning up the grounds, but contributing to a larger picture no matter how small the task may seem. 


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