It's All For The Students
A look behind the scenes at Georgia Southern Landscaping
By Jennifer Ochsenknecht
October 20, 2017
When most seniors in high school come to look at a college they could possibly attend in the future, they have a list of things they look for. How big is the school? How big is the campus? How are the classes? What’s the reputation of the school? Is there a football team? Do they have my potential major? The last thing on their mind is what does the landscaping look like. But according to Ryan Macy, the landscaping superintendent, that is the reason he does his job.
“We’re here for the students. The reason we maintain it, and maintain a beautiful campus is because we care about your environment. We want to provide and environment that is aesthetically pleasing to our students, out staff, and our visitors to make you want to be here on campus.”
Georgia Southern is known for it’s beautiful campus. Macy, states that he enjoys that. He has always enjoyed creating something out of what most people couldn’t see as art. “Ever since I was a kid I’ve always sort of had a passion for landscape. You’re creating something. To me, it’s more of an art.”
Though Macy couldn’t give you an exact number, he says that the “thousands upon thousands” of plants at Georgia Southern take a team of people to care for them. Macy has several teams of several people that help him make the Georgia Southern campus as beautiful as it is.
One of those people is, Dennis Pope. Pope is the horticulturist specialist for Georgia Southern. A horticulturist is a person who works with plants, but the technical definition is a person who helps in the process of cultivating plants. Though Pope hasn’t always been interested in plants, he does have a background in forestry.
“I started out with the trees,” Pope laughs. “I’m a four-year graduate from Auburn with a background in forest management. I put myself through school landscaping.” But Popes job is not just focusing on the plants. As the head of horticulture, he works more with personal management than anything, but says he is often around to “put out fires.” He has a team of fifteen that help him with the day to day issues. “I’ve got two very strong teams of grounds keepers and their foreman, and they just call on me for technical assistance.”
Pope says the landscaping team is working sun up to sun down all of the time making sure the campus looks its best. This includes not just planting trees and flowers, but raking leaves, using the leaf blower to clear the breezeways, and cutting the grass early in the mornings.
The reason? The same reason Ryan Macy has, the students.
The landscaping team works tirelessly every day, even on small tasks like this. Here you
see a man blowing leaves off the sidewalks students walk on.
Photo: Jennifer Ochsenknecht
Fresh flowers planted during the month of October, these plants are planted by the flag at Sweetheart circle where they will last the winter.
Photo: Jennifer Ochsenknecht
This video shows the unique and different plants that make the Georgia Southern landscaping so special.
Video: Jennifer Ochsenknecht
A recent poll taken by Jennifer Ochsenknecht shows what level of understanding Georgia Southern students have of landscaping.
Jennifer Ochsenknecht is a senior journalism major at Georgia Southern. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or comments.