- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 11 November 2015
- Written by KAITLIN KILIAN | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
The University was named the seventh most beautiful college campus in the world by online news source, BuzzFeed, on Oct. 27, because of its appealing landscapes, historic buildings like Wilson Hall and the Guggenheim Library, and its modern facilities.
Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President for Student Life, said, “It’s actually quite an honor for the University to be considered not just for something nationally, but internationally. I think this recognition is a wonderful way to recognize and acknowledge the work of our grounds and our custodial staff at this institution.”
This ranking placed Monmouth just below campuses such as the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa and Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. The campus at number one is Berry College in Mount Berry, Georgia. Members of the BuzzFeed community voted to compile the results.
The groundskeepers, custodial staff, fire and safety personnel, and mechanics at MU all work together to ensure the maintenance of the University’s campus. Patricia Swannack, Vice President of Administrative Services, said there are approximately 100 employees in facilities, most being custodians, who are responsible for 158 acres.
The groundskeepers are in charge of cutting the grass, mulching beds, keeping beds and turf weed free, pruning shrubs and trees, and edging. Kyle Harris, Supervisor of Grounds, said, “The campus wasn’t made beautiful overnight. It goes back hundreds of years. We have trees on campus that are 300 plus years old, that we work to maintain.”
Harris oversees his crew of 20 men, who maintain the beauty of the campus. “It’s a great feeling, that what we are doing here, our grounds practices, are known and being recognized,” said Harris.
“The landscapers are always out there trying their hardest to keep all the flowers nice and keep this campus looking gorgeous like it always does,” said Colin Webb, a junior communication student.
“The University is very fortunate to have two gorgeous, historic buildings, said Swannack. “We have Wilson Hall, which is on the same register (National Register of Historical Places) as the Statue of Liberty,” said Swannack. The Guggenheim Library is a registered historic building as well.
There are specific standards that need to be followed to maintain the integrity of these buildings. The New Jersey Historic Trust provides Monmouth with grants to renovate or repair them. Students, families, alum, and employees are proud and appreciate the history behind the buildings, said Swannack.
“Wilson Hall is so historic and beautiful and you just walk around and you’re captivated by the beauty and architecture,” said Ariel Guzman, a junior marketing and management student.
The University has solar panels on about 12 buildings. Swannack said, “The University in the last 10 to 12 years, has reduced its energy budget by over a million dollars, which is a lot of money.”
Monmouth participates in the Demand Response Plan, which means it sheds energy. Swannack said they earned over $300,000 back because they’ve been able to shed without people experiencing any discomfort. “It just saves money and we are all about trying to save as much money,” said Swannack.
“The utility budget is about a million dollars a year,” said Swannack. There is also money set aside for the salaries of facility management and grounds crew. In order to save money, the University has a greenhouse on campus, where they grow their own plants.
Nagy said, “I am incredibly proud of the fact that I do not believe we compromise in any way the academic or the student life enterprise...so that we can put in a new plant or flower.”
“The beauty of a college campus benefits the students as a whole. Swannack said a beautiful campus can make students feel comfortable. The University is a very clean campus and the students contribute a great deal to that cleanliness,” said Swannack.
“I think that any time you are on a campus that is neat and clean and looks well cared for, you as a student, have a sense of pride as well,” said Nagy.
Joey DeFilippis, a freshman business student, was drawn in by the University’s beautiful campus. “It gives you a sense of motivation and may inspire you,” said DeFilippis. “Going to a school that’s in a beat down neighborhood may not be as appealing.”
The BuzzFeed article gives the University exposure that could lead to more potential students enrolling from different states. This recognition gets Monmouth’s name out there, which helps students in terms of their graduate schools, internships, and jobs. Nagy said, “I think students and their parents have a vision in their mind of what college is supposed to be…and I think our campus reflects that.”
PHOTOS TAKEN by Danielle Schipani and Kaitlin Kilian