Since legendary LSU landscape designer Steele Burden first began planting live oaks, crepe myrtles and azaleas in 1932, the iconic campus greenery has become as recognizable as the Quad’s arches.

The LSU campus is now one of the most beautiful in the nation, having been listed among the 20 best campuses in America in Thomas Gaines’ The Campus as a Work of Art, and thrice named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. The prestigious reputation is maintained by LSU Landscape Services, which annually partners with LSU Campus Life to give the grounds a fresh face.

Spring Greening Day is an annual half-day service project to beautify the campus in preparation for commencement, as well as an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to learn about sustainability and personal practices to support the environment. Materials are purchased through the LSU Foundation’s Campus Beautification Fund.

“LSU Spring Greening Day is a wonderful opportunity for students and other LSU family to work and see the immediate gratification of plants going in the ground,” said Fred Fellner, assistant director of landscape services with LSU Facility Services. “We are focused mostly on sustainable planting that frames and enhances the campus’s largest and most prevalent green plants, the storied live oaks. To this end, we plant ground cover, place sod or spread mulch under the trees to beautify the grounds, control erosion and improve the ecosystem.”

Photo by Eddy Perez
Photo by Eddy Perez

April 24 marked the sixth year Tigers have donned gardening gloves and picked up shovels to nurse the campus they love. Despite a rainy forecast, 103 volunteers planted more than 4,700 plants and flowers, including an LSU AgCenter “Super Plant” variety called Serena angelonia.

“I was very impressed with the turn-out we had, given how bad the weather was in the beginning,” said Taylor Delatte, one of the event’s student planners. “I have never helped organize and event like this before so I was excited to be a part of it.”

Consistently sponsored by Albemarle, the event supports the Green Tiger Project, which aims to integrate campus beautification with campus sustainability, and supports the Campus Beautification Fund. The fund offers alumni, friends and fans a way to contribute to the university’s campus enhancement efforts, like Spring Greening Day and the living LSU Christmas Tree, a Little Gem Magnolia planted in 2014.

“Spring Greening Day gives students a chance to participate in beautification by planting all throughout campus,” explained petroleum engineering student Yaser Suleiman, who also helped plan the beautification project. “It’s a really fun way of getting students out and involved. They have fund by getting their hands dirty and being a part of making their campus better. Spring Greening Day is important because it gets students to have fun while being involved making their surroundings more beautiful. It made me have a deeper appreciation for the campus and all the hard work it takes to keep LSU one of the most beautiful campuses in America.”

Published in Cornerstone Summer and Fall 2015.