Photo by Shobhan Becker
By Giovanni Ortiz
“This is a home for a lot of people, and this is a community and it’s just like you were planting a garden in your backyard,” said Freshman Geniey Ruzicka. Ruzicka is one of many students who participated in Stony Brook University’s Campus Beautification Day on April 17, a project that concluded a series of on-campus events for the Career Center’s SBU Week of Service.
“It should look nice. It should look welcoming and inviting,” Ruzicka said of the university’s campus.
The Career Center’s SBU Week of Service is the first of its kind happening from April 12-18, offering a variety of on-and off-campus community engagement projects. The beautification project, or “Brighten the Brook,” allowed students and staff to help school maintenance prepare the campus by cleaning up the circle on Circle Road and Roosevelt Park to make room for new ones.
The volunteers helped dig up old plants and rocks that were ingrained into the ground and plant new ones. Their goal was to make the campus look more inviting and uplifting to visitors and students who walked throughout the campus.
Jessica Kaplan, a junior environmental humanities major, said that the beautification of the campus would make students feel happy and “think about Spring.” To some making the campus look more beautiful, it could help aid the fight against campus depression and help with their perception of the campus.
“Being in a more beautiful surrounding will help aid people with resolving their problems with depression,” Nicole Davis, a junior technical services major, said. “It’s just better to have better looking surroundings, it could brighten someone’s day.”
Not only did a day of volunteering and community service help make the campus more aesthetically pleasing, but it helped students, staff and maintenance workers bond with each other. Ciara Tucker, a sorority sister of Theta Phi Alpha and a sophomore bio-medical engineering major, said she had a chance to use one of the maintenance truck’s features of dumping rocks from the trunk with the offer of one of the maintenance workers. Tucker added that it was an opportunity she might have never had before.
Among the volunteers was one of the event organizers, Megan Smedley, an internship consultant at the Career Center who wanted to get students involved on-campus in a beneficial way.
“It boosts the pride of the campus community and I think that it’s helpful to give students in the community a chance to help contribute to that,” she said. “It’s one thing to look and say, ‘wow, this is a beautiful campus.’ And another thing to look and say, ‘well, I helped contribute to that.”
There are over 9,000 student residents at Stony Brook University. To Ruzicka, “This is thousands of people’s backyards.”