After coming out of a long winter, Ithaca College’s campus has been brought back to life in the emerging warm weather with blooming flowers and neatly trimmed grass. These seasonal features are enjoyed by all students, faculty, staff and visitors who come to campus, and all can be seen spending time outdoors — whether that be through working on one of the quads, having class outside, taking a walking tour or another activity. The campus community has the college’s landscaping staff to thank for this yearly transition.
The landscaping staff typically begins its work in March, just when Ithaca’s temperatures start to gradually crawl to above freezing. The early stages of the work include strenuous tasks like laying out flower beds, spreading new mulch, mowing the grass, installing the fountains, cleaning the sidewalks and planting thousands of new flowers across the campus’ 300 acres of developed land. At the same time, the staff also needs to complete each task precisely and carefully in response to Ithaca’s unpredictable weather. While these factors of the college experience are often not at the forefront of students’ minds as they are faced with final exams and projects, these seasonal additions to the college still have a major impact on the campus environment and improve students’ experiences.
The college also has a campus that is frequently complimented on its appearances, a precedent that speaks volumes toward the landscaping staff’s capability and diligence. With prominent, bright flower beds, trees, grass and fountains, one of the first things outsiders of our campus community notice about the college is the beauty of its campus. Ithaca as a town is known for its appearances as a whole, and the landscaping staff at the college is doing its part to fulfill the college’s responsibility toward that reputation.
Oftentimes, attending college is viewed as a way to avoid “undesirable,” blue-collar jobs like landscaping. As a result, many harmful stereotypes and misconceptions regarding blue-collar workers are present in academia, a fallacy that students and faculty need to unlearn and forgo. The landscaping staff is clearly an indispensable part of the campus community — and one that deserves all the credit it receives and more.