At any given time, students can always be seen outside on campus hanging out with friends, reading a textbook, listening to music, or just enjoying the scenery. Most students, however, don’t take the time to think and wonder about all the hard work people have to put in to make the campus look as beautiful as it does.
Tech employs a team of people that works to maintain the campus and does everything from trash pick-up to street sweeping to planting. This team is lead by Georgia Tech’s Facilities Landscape Manager, Hyacinth Ide.
Originally from Nigeria, Ide has been working for Tech for nearly nine years. He is in charge of overseeing the entirety of Tech’s landscaping; he assigns projects, makes sure projects are being completed, meets with students, and does numerous other things that have to do with the outdoors.
“I love my job simply because it’s very highly visible,” Ide said. “If I’m doing a good job everybody in the community will notice, will see it.”
In his opinion, the most beautiful part of campus is the Cherry Street area by Tech Tower because of aspects such as the old trees, the canopy, the flowers, and the garden area.
Being the Facilities Landscape Manager isn’t an easy job, however. There are many common misconceptions. Most people within the Tech community do not realize that Ide’s team fixes and maintains all of their own equipment. So not only do they maintain Tech’s campus environment, but they also have the knowledge and skill to fix the tools and equipment that they work with on a daily basis.
There are also many improvements needing to be made and several problems to be addressed.
Currently Ide, his team, and the Resident Hall Association are trying to come up with a plan for the Burger Bowl; Tech does not currently own the land. Tech maintains the land and prepares it for events, but as long as the city owns the Burger Bowl, Tech cannot take full advantage its land.
Ide noted that the stairs leading up to the MARC building are another problem site that need to be addressed.
He mentioned that one of the biggest problems he faces here on Tech’s campus is the amount of litter thrown on the ground by the community members.
“I calculated it, and we spend about over $300,000 a year picking up trash,” Ide said.
This excludes the trash pickup done for the Athletic Association after the football games. It is his aim to make the community aware of this in hopes that people will think twice before throwing their trash on the ground.
“We haven’t got the awareness of how expensive cleaning up trash is to the Institute,” Ide said.
Another issue is the budget cut for Ide’s team that occurs when other projects on campus are being carried out—such as the new buildings that are currently under construction.
This puts more financial strain on the landscapers trying to maintain the campus.
“[People] forget the fact that the campus nature of Georgia Tech is the first impression for anybody visiting the campus,” Ide said.
“Most people—before they even step out of their car—they have seen maybe a quarter of the campus. And what kind of impression are you giving those people who are on campus for the first time?”
Tech Beautification Day has immensely helped to increase student awareness of how difficult it is to maintain the environment here at Tech.
“Your frustration level can be reduced by a very nice environment, but most people don’t consider all of that,” Ide said.
Even though there are problems to be addressed, Ide’s job entails much more than that. He and his team are extremely important members of Tech’s community.
He is constantly on the move around campus assigning new projects and making sure others are being completed.
It is his job to make Tech look beautiful. This benefits each and every community member, including Ide.
“When I’m really, really stressed with dealing with personal issues, I just drive out [on campus] and see what we have done for that day, for that week—how beautiful certain areas look—and it soothes me and makes me calm down and helps me to come back the following day,” Ide said.
When he is not at work, Ide enjoys exercising and playing tennis—a sport he has been involved with since high school. Being the Facilities Landscape Manager at Tech, he also takes pride in helping to maintain his own yard at home.