An administrator spent her own time and money to improve the look of the campus.
Amy Cataldi, interim dean of Petree College of Arts and Sciences, said she thought the gardens around Walker Center for Arts and Sciences were ugly and hated to look at them.
“I felt like students and faculty coming into the building needed one moment of bliss before they come to work, which is a nice way to enter the day,” Cataldi said. “It’s a nice way to feel good about the place you are going to spend the next several hours at.”
The gardens are on the north and south sides of the building.
Cataldi said before she worked on the garden, she thought the area looked depressing and nasty since the walls were crumbling and it was seeping a white substance.
“No one had taken care of the gardens in a long time and it was a total eye sore. Cataldi said. “It was an embarrassment.”
Cataldi removed the walls and placed foliage that would last all year long in the bed.
Cataldi cared for the garden on the north side of the building for a year before the English department took it over and dedicated it to Elaine Smokewood, a former English professor who died in January 2011.
Cataldi still takes care of the garden on the south side of the building.
“I don’t mind doing the legwork for it,” Cataldi said. “I think it’s pretty and tolerate of the weather here.”
Cataldi said she chose some plants that she thought would last and moved plants that already existed around the building.
“The Crepe Myrtles I stole had already grown around the building so I just plopped those in there,” Cataldi said. “I tired to put in stuff that would come back year after year.”
Cataldi said she would like to continue to help revive the gardens across campus.
“I have purchased five Sycamores and when you walk to the Gold Star building there is five in a row,” Cataldi said. “With some of the biology faculty, we stuck them in the ground, and I am going to keep buying Sycamores.”
Cataldi said she wants to grow a canopy with the Sycamores.
“This campus is beautiful and I just want to make it even more beautiful,” Cataldi said.
Students notice the gardens when they walk into the building.
“I love all the colors and how it always looks well maintained,” said Maddie Stevens, elementary education freshman. “It makes me feel happy to be here.”
Cataldi said students can get involved or donate to the campus grounds committee by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“If everyone just donated, then we could have something really special here,” Cataldi said. “I think we all deserve to be in a place that makes us happy and has all the pretty colors. If I can help make that happen for this community, then my mission will be complete.”