Flowerbeds around OU’s residence halls lay empty
By Lindsay Citraro, CG Lifestyles & People
Whether you are taking a bike ride, a hike or a leisurely walk, it’s obvious that spring has arrived in Athens. Although the beautiful weather may make your green thumb appear, urging you to plant flowers and spruce up Ohio University’s grounds, students – including dorm residents – aren’t allowed to pot flowers or other plants on campus.
Harry Wyatt, associate vice president of Facilities Management and fellow Athens gardener, said that the main reason behind this act relates to the problem of maintaining these plants once they are potted.
“Each flower and plant is different from the other because some require little maintenance while others require a lot of care,” Wyatt said. “It becomes more responsibility for the people if [the flower beds] end up getting ruined because someone has to take care of [the damage].”
Not only would the plants need species-specific maintenance, they would also need time to grow, cultivate and get accustomed to their surroundings. Additionally, issues can arise if plants are perennial versus annual, meaning they would either require over two years worth of maintenance from OU staff or would need to be pulled at the end of the season.
Aside from the accrued maintenance costs, OU also prohibits flower planting because officials want to maintain a uniform look around campus.
“It is important at Ohio University to preserve the right balance of our trees so they are always healthy and there is always new growth,” Wyatt said. Overcrowding due to flower planting or invasive plant species could disrupt this balance.
However, the school and Facilities Management don’t disregard flower planting altogether. The recent reconstruction on West Green is an example of creating more open grass, both for students’ recreational use and to beautify the campus.
Wyatt also said that there are flowers around campus in areas such as the main gate, surrounding Peden Stadium and near classroom buildings like Porter Hall. This strategic placement of flowers and other plants around campus highlights specific areas and buildings, making certain places more noticeable.
While many RAs have tried – and failed – to make a program of planting flowers around campus, beautification efforts by students are not completely blocked by Facilities Management. Dorm residents are still able to grow their own plants outside of the campus flowerbeds.
Sean Gleason, the senior resident assistant in James Hall on West Green, recently began a community garden in place of hosting a flower-planting program. Although his garden is limited to a smaller area, than, for instance, flowerbeds surrounding the main dorms of the green, Gleason said that it has been a rewarding experience.
“If the area around us looks better, then we are less likely to cause it damage and [leave] trash,” Gleason said.
He also said that he and others involved in the community garden have attempted to grow a pineapple. This encourages on-campus efforts of homegrown fruits and vegetables as opposed to strictly planting flowers, leaving multiple possibilities for residents to be more self-sustaining.
“Creating this community garden is a way for residents to get together,” Gleason said. “[It] will make the dorm building feel more like home.” Also, since residents are unable to spruce up the campus wherever they feel it’s needed, it is nice to have a small section of vegetation that they can call their own.