Volunteers spread mulch during AU's 2023 Campus Beautification Day. (Jeffrey Watts/AU)
By Jonathan Heeter
Jordan Miles’s first Campus Beautification Day last year saw less-than-ideal conditions for gardening. The 2022 event was rainy and wet, but the weather didn’t keep Miles, SIS/BA ’09, from helping improve AU’s landscape. “I like getting dirty,” he said.
But braving the elements last year is worth it every time Miles, assistant director of international admissions in the Office of Enrollment, strolls past the trees that he helped plant next to Kerwin Hall. “It’s a nice visual reminder of the work,” he said.
Miles and 326 other volunteers enjoyed more favorable weather during this year’s Campus Beautification Day, working under sunny skies on April 11–12 on main campus, 4401 Connecticut Avenue, WCL, and Spring Valley.
“It’s wonderful to get the chance to come outside and make the campus nicer,” said Miles as he worked alongside staff and students planting shrubs around AU’s new art installation, Sudama, on the grassy ellipse behind Kay Spiritual Life Center. “I also like meeting my colleagues and making those connections. And it’s just a perfect day to be outside.”
Patrick Ryan, SPA/BA '22, was one of more than 100 student-athletes to volunteer.
"We really push our guys to be selfless and to do things for others beyond our program, and we want to do our part to keep these communities flourishing," Ryan said. "We take great pride and joy in our campus and are happy to help it look even better."
Jordan Miles, left holding shovel with blue shirt and shorts, works with other volunteers near Sudama during Campus Beautification Day. (Jeffrey Watts/AU)
During the event, which this year marks its 30th anniversary, volunteers planted 12 trees and more than 5,000 shrubs and perennials and spread 300 cubic yards of mulch. Robert Corletta, an urban forester with the District Department of Transportation, also presented AU with the Tree Campus USA designation for the 13th consecutive year.
This year’s Campus Beautification Day coincides with the 20th anniversary of the AU Arboretum and Gardens. AU marked the occasion by dedicating a willow oak tree on the quad nearby Kerwin Hall.
“As that oak tree grows, it’s going to be a witness to new generations of changemakers who are going to keep that vision [of an arboretum] alive and growing,” AU president Sylvia Burwell said. “It’s a vision that brings people together in community, fosters teaching, and reinforces our commitment to be sustainable leaders.”