Annual Beautiful U Day features campus clean-up, fitness walk

by Courtney Lewis

The University might be more construction-zone orange and hard-hat yellow than maroon and gold lately, but that won’t stop the fifth annual Beautiful “U” Day from commencing today.

Representatives from the University, fraternities and sororities, and the Dinkytown Business Association will help hoist flags on new poles in a flag-raising ceremony at Donhowe Park.

What started out with University employees in 1997 has grown into a yearly event.

This event serves to “beautify” and “build a sense of community” on campus, said Tim Busse, departmental director of University Services.

The theme – Welcoming “U” – will focus on the clean-up of University Avenue between Interstate 35W and Oak Street.

“We’re trying to make the campus feel more welcoming,” said Busse. “It’s like the idea of curb appeal.”

Volunteers will plant flowers, pick up litter and paint.

Busse said these projects will add more color to the University.

Although Beautiful “U” Day is a one-day event, Busse said additional developments are on the way.

“I think we’ll see improvements beyond Beautiful ‘U’ Day,” said Busse.

Still, some students question the beauty of the campus on which they are so frequently serenaded by jackhammers.

“I’ve been here two and a half years,” said Kendra Knudsen, a journalism senior, “and I’ve yet to see the student union.”

Busse and other University officials said they believe Beautiful “U” Day will create a more welcoming University.

“We feel good about the community things we’re doing,” said Busse.

New this year, a fitness walk is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the West Bank Plaza.

Initially, a $10 registration fee was intended for all walkers. After further discussion, the Beautiful “U” Day Committee, Recreation Sports, and Facilities Management decided a donation would be more appropriate, in response to the recent terrorist attacks.

The donations will go to the American Red Cross relief efforts in New York City and Washington, D.C., but walkers already registered will be able to receive refunds.

In addition to the clean-up efforts and fitness walk, a new entrance marker located at East River Road and Oak Street will be dedicated in the name of Ryan Construction, which built and donated it.

Busse said the marker is a way to let visitors know they are on campus and welcome visitors to the University.

Following the fitness walk in the afternoon, an ice cream social will occur at Northrop Plaza at 4 p.m., with music from the University Marching Band.


Brad Ellingson covers contruction and facilities and welcomes comments at [email protected]