Beautiful U Day aims to improve campus pride

Robin Huiras

Beautification being the goal, University officials and employees are embarking for the second consecutive year on a campus-wide cleanup.
Today is Beautiful U Day, an annual initiative toward improving the aesthetic appearance of the University. In addition to improving the outside appearance of campus, this year a hazardous waste initiative aims to clean up internally.
The day is a joint effort between University relations and Facilities Management, brought about by an idea of President Mark Yudof last fall, said Tim Busse, communications specialist for Facilities Management.
“It is a great way to improve morale,” said Yudof. “Students and staff work cooperatively and it brings us closer together.”
Environmental Health and Safety administrators, donning costumes and masks, will be giving chemical labels to University employees at 1:30 p.m. at the Basic Sciences and Biomedical Engineering Building.
The University’s external cleanup effort includes repainting buildings near the Science Classroom Building, beginning the demolition of the East River Road Ramp and a River Road cleanup walk.
Dropping the demolition ball on the ramp is especially exciting, said Yudof. He will be taking the first swing at the ramp at 1 p.m.
Coinciding with Homecoming, the results of the day are an effort to make University students, staff and faculty comfortable in a beautiful environment, said Phil McDonald, executive assistant in project development administration.
“It is one of my favorite days of the year — and I hope to see it every year,” said Yudof. “People roll up their sleeves, pitch in and get the campus looking good.”
In addition to the cleanup effort this year, the University wants to promote the accomplishments already taken place — efforts such as extensive window washing and parking lot cleanups, installation of 40 new benches, replacing storm-damaged trees and the reparation and addition of 1,300 bicycle racks on campus, McDonald said.
Last year, Beautiful U Day involved painting the Washington Avenue Bridge and a general debris cleanup which generated more than 800 tons of waste.
A new feature of the day this year is the installation of Heritage Markers. The first will be dedicated by Yudof at 9 a.m. today on the Northrop Mall.
Five of an estimated 30 markers will be dedicated today. Containing anecdotes and information pertaining to University history, geography and academics, they denote the heritage of the University, said McDonald.
Yudof said part of the capital plan is to preserve the history of campus; the markers make campus more accessible 24 hours a day and make it more of a place with life and blood.
“The ultimate goal (of the markers) is to get the campus ready for the sesquicentennial,” said Busse.
By the 150th birthday of the University, campus will have a heritage trail created by the markers. Visitors, students and staff should get a real feel of history on campus, Busse said.
Other campus events include a free lunch on the Washington Avenue Bridge and at the St. Paul Student Center from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. An ice cream social takes place at 2 p.m. on Phillips-Wangensteen Plaza, and the Visitor Information Center officially opens today, as well.