Photo by Shaoshuai Gong

Last Saturday’s Tech Beautification Day (TBD), one of the most popular campus-wide volunteering events, brought students, faculty and staff together to make a visible difference. This year marked the 13th annual event of giving back to the school, with a variety of clean-up activities ranging from pine straw spreading to sod installation and flower planting. Students active in a number of organizations came out to work on the different projects. Here, Focus highlights some of these student groups, their participation in TBD and why they chose to get involved in the event.

Pine Straw Spreading

Where the geographic area of the projects was concerned, the students who spread pine straw around campus had one of the biggest jobs of the morning.

The ECE honor society Eta Kappa Nu worked near the IC. Volunteering for TBD was a part of their initiation process.

“I personally decided to do this because I liked the idea of helping out around Tech’s campus. If the chance presented itself I would love to do more activities like this,” said Jack Bush, a second-year EE major.

Members of the Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) fraternity were also spreading pine straw in the same area.

“We came out because we’re very involved as a whole, the work that we’re doing here is easy to see and you get that feeling of accomplishment when you’re done,” said Kyle Chrzanowski, a first-year EE major.

Women from the women’s fraternity Zeta Tau Alpha were excited to be involved in TBD and give back to the school.

“It’s a great way to get involved, since the school gives so much to us. We like to participate in service events through Tech as much as possible, and there were a lot of good projects to choose from,” Jamie McNorton, a first-year CHE major.

The sorority sisters of Alphi Phi were busy spreading pine straw as well.

“With TBD falling around Greek Week, we wanted to participate because it’s fun to spruce up the campus and I honestly just love community service,” said Abigail Smith, a first-year ARCH major.

Shrub Planting

A favorite activity available to students working during TBD was the flower and shrub planting project. The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) pictured above committed to planting the azalea formosa flower bushes near the Boggs chemistry building.

“When you’re doing community service on campus like this, one thing is that it’s really convenient; you can really see the impact that you’ve made. Last year, we planted dogwood trees and we see those grow when we pass by all the time, said Diya RadhaKrishna, a third-year IE major and Community Service vice-president with the NSCS honor society. “Some of the projects are pretty similar though, so a little more variety could be nice.”

The idea of doing something to give back to campus was very appealing to the students who chose to participate in TBD this year.
“Community service is one of the many great things that we have here. There are so many things to do and students are always willing to help out. I feel that it’s a really great thing to do when helping your community also means helping yourself,” said Avram Li, a third-year EE major also volunteering with NSCS.

Over a dozen azalea shrubs were planted on the hill sloping down towards the Laser Dynamics Laboratory of Boggs. Last year, the honor society planted three dogwood trees for TBD. The organization regularly plans service events in Atlanta.

Sod Installation

In terms of geographic area, the students who rolled out sod near the Instructional Center had another one of the biggest jobs to do of the morning.

Volunteering with the fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha, students enjoyed this opportunity to improve the look of campus, and were attracted to TBD in particular because it was all planned for them, allowing them to simply show up and do it.

“I liked how this was organized because it only takes 10 seconds to decide the [activity] you want to do, and it’s a cool way to keep campus looking nice, especially with all of the construction going on around her all the time,” said Amin Sijelmassi, a first-year ME major.

“I’d love to do other events like this during the year because the landscaping and facilities need to be kept looking fresh and up to date. We can’t always leave the clean-up to the people Tech hires to do that because as students we’re the ones who experience our campus every day, and it’s really nice to be able to come out here and improve the look of it,” said Eric McKissick, a first-year BME major.

McKissick made a note that they were not just helping the school for current students and faculty, but for visitors such as prospective students as well.

“I think the prep that we’re doing is really important, especially since people start coming here this time of year to see the campus and decide whether or not they want to enroll,” McKissick said.

Greek Houses

As a part of TBD, students in Greek organizations were also given the chance to work on projects closer to home. Providing the tools they needed, the Greek participants improved the landscaping around their own houses.

Asa Burke, a second-year ME major, emphasized that the event was a great outlet to get the fraternity brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon involved and get some work done in general.

“We really just wanted to improve the look of campus overall, and this [project] in particular gave us a chance to focus specifically on our house and enhance our outside appearance. TBD is great because obviously we’d like to make our house look better and it helps the campus as a whole. We have a passion for philanthropy so this is a great avenue for us,” Burke said.

Students in Theta Xi fraternity were also interested in getting the brotherhood more involved in service.

“It’s easier to get people involved in things like this when they’re working on something that they interact with every day. TBD provided pine straw and fertilizer, but all of the other materials like the rocks and paint were purchased by our fraternity” said Greg Jones, a fourth-year ME major.

“We think that it’s a good return investment because visitors to campus see these [Greek] houses, so if they’re in a state of disrepair or visually unappealing then there’s really no incentive for them to come.”