Spring Spruce Up: Looking good, JU!

It’s difficult to establish what the students, faculty and staff relished most about the latest Spring Spruce Up: The camaraderie, the food or the fun.

One thing’s for sure: the Jacksonville University campus is looking dapper – thanks to 300-or-so Dolphins who rolled up their sleeves, donned color-coded bandanas based on their work assignment, and planted, raked, mulched, sodded and picked up trash from the campus entrance to the riverfront.

Some areas just off campus also were targeted during the annual event held Friday, Feb. 22.

“There’s so much to be learned and so much good to come out of this – the teamwork, the networking, the fun,” said Miami native Sonia Leggs, a senior business administration major. “I saw what was going on, asked about, and I’m glad I did.”

From students to professors to JU President Tim Cost, there were plenty of stakeholders on hand to share the toils – and the fun. Everyone received Spring Spruce Up T-shirts, bandanas, lunch and an opportunity to win door prizes.

“I like it that so many people came out – a lot of us came as groups. It’s a good way to bond,” said freshman international business major Sylvia Batista of Jacksonville.

While Leggs and Batista mulched, Davina Hamilton was among 40 or so workers who planted St. Augustine grass in the same spot where commencement ceremonies are held.

“This is something I actually look forward to. It’s good to get away from the desk and be a part of making the campus look better,” said Hamilton, JU’s Student Solutions Center assistant director. “Plus, it’s good to see students get a better appreciation of what Physical Plant employees do for us.”

The work assignments included laying 21 pallets of grass on and near the Science Green; spreading 700 bags of mulch in the same area, in the Council Building courtyard and behind Oak Hall; removing juniper near the Gooding Building; planting flowers at Davis Student Commons; and picking up trash along the JU perimeter and just off campus.

Before the work gloves were donned, the Spruce Up participants feasted on hot dogs, hamburgers and veggie patties as a DJ played booming country and R&B tunes. In addition to the JU Bookstore prizes that were awarded to lucky ticketholders, Vice President for University Relations Derek Hall and Navigator Editor-In-Chief Bryan Jones tossed JU T-shirts into the crowd. Another lunchtime highlight was an impromptu attempt at a massive Harlem Shake led by JU Art Director Donald dela Torre.

Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Lois Becker also took the microphone to tout the campus ECHO campaign, an upcoming new JU standard that will require students to undertake at least three credit hours of experiential learning before graduation.

Spring Spruce Up is among a handful of volunteer opportunities that Nicole Teplitz and her JU volleyball teammates participate in throughout the year.

“They make it nice with lunch and T-shirts – they make it so students want to give back to the school,” said Teplitz, a senior biology major from Stuart, Fla. “This is the one we look forward to every year.”

Here are photos from the 2013 Spring Spruce Up:





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