An Instagram photo shared by Drake University’s account features a daffodil and a caption that reads, “Spring is budding on campus.”
In another post, a grounds staff member snapped a photo of the white forsythia shrub outside the dining hall and shared it on Instagram. However, social media photos of the trees blooming and flower beds around campus only tell a small portion of the story.
Groundskeeping and facilities staff get to work even before the last pile of snow melts to make campus look its Sunday best for when alumni, national media and world-renowned athletes rendezvous here for Relays. Eleven groundskeepers work not only to prepare the landscaping but also all of the athletic facilities and fields for the various athletic events.
Sophomore international relations student Dustin Eubanks says he has taken note of the transformation the grounds have undergone, in reality and online.
“I’ve seen the landscaping crews out and about,” Eubanks said. “They have the sprinklers getting tested and up and running, flowers are going in, starting to bloom and the trees are budding. Instagram looks really pretty right now.”
As a resident assistant, Eubanks said he understands the preparations that need to be made before the festivities can begin.
“There’s a lot of things going on behind the scenes getting ready for April and Relays that we don’t know about,” Eubanks said.
Spring started earlier than usual this year — around the first week of March — allowing the groundskeeping staff and grounds manager Jeff Bosworth to get a jump start on the preparations. Bosworth is in charge of ensuring he and the groundskeeping staff maintain a consistent schedule of keeping the campus up.
“It seems like it’s a routine, as far as getting out and cleaning parking lots and freshening up the mulch and fixing areas along sidewalks that were damaged or driven across,” Bosworth said.
“It’s that time — spring — when a lot of sports start. There’s a lot of work, and that leads into Relays and getting the stadium set up and ready for those sports.”
In addition to establishing the functionality of the athletic facilities, there are also the added aesthetics of budding trees and flowers that accompany spring.
“In the spring, we have the help of flowering crab apples and pears and the daffodils coming up that we planted last year,” Bosworth said. “It adds a little flavor to campus.”
After the months of hard work, Bosworth said it was well worth the effort.
“Sharing it with the staff, it is neat that people appreciate what the grounds department does and recognize that there is a lot of work that goes into keeping the campus up,” Bosworth said.
Bosworth said that seeing the hard work he and his team do is an added bonus.
“I think people appreciate what we do and love the fact that my staff take pride in their jobs and try to do the best they can to make campus look the best that it does,” Bosworth said.
Eubanks echoed this sentiment.
“I do want to give a huge shout- out to the grounds crew, who I don’t think this campus ever goes out of its way to fully show appreciation to,” Eubanks said. “I know they try hard, so I thank them for what they do.”