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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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campus beautification Photo #1

American University’s Campus Beautification Day brings new blooms to campus

Community members gathered to participate in the annual event

Volunteers clad in blue T-shirts added over 5,000 plants to campus as part of American University’s annual Campus Beautification Day

Shrubs, perennials and 12 new trees took root around the school’s grounds with the help of students, faculty and alumni. Armed with gloves and shovels, students expanded the school’s greenery by planting potted greens into AU’s soil. 

Students dug and planted shrubs the mornings of April 9 and 10 across the grounds. Each received an event T-shirt and lunch on Wednesday. 

campus beautification Photo #2

“We started in January planning this event,” Mike Mastrota, the University’s arboretum manager, said. “I think we got everything done.”

After finishing work, students met in the amphitheater and heard from speakers, including arboretum staff members, University President Sylvia Burwell and Urban Forester Robert Corletta from the District Department of Transportation. 

“It is one of my absolute favorite days of the year,” Burwell said to students. “This is my last Campus Beautification Day as president, but it is not my last Campus Beautification Day. I will be volunteering next year as a member of our AU community.”

campus beautification pic

This year’s T-shirt design celebrated the diversity of plants on campus. 

AU has over 500 woody plants on its campus, many of which are native to the East Coast, including Pin oaks, Red oaks, Amelanchier and American Yellowwoods. There are also international, non-native species, including the Chinese Ginkgo tree, Korean Cherry Blossom, Dawn Redwood and Norway Maple. 

The school is an accredited arboretum by ArbNet, which requires that the trees are grown and cultivated for scientific purposes or public enjoyment. American University is the only university in the city to have this status. 

“It really contributes to the greater urban forest of the District of Columbia,” Corletta said. “This is a little oasis in the city, it is so refreshing to walk on to your campus.”

This article was edited by Sara Winick and Abigail Turner. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks, Leta Lattin and Charlie Mennuti. 

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