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Volunteers painting the Washington Avenue bridge panels.

On Beautiful U Day 2004, volunteers readily picked up a paint brush to give the Washington Avenue Bridge panels a brighter shade.

Pitching in for a beautiful U

by Pauline Oo

From eNews, April 7, 2005

One and a half hours and 100 gallons of donated paint later, the Washington Avenue Bridge was no longer pink but a brilliant maroon.

Last April, hundreds of volunteers repainted the large panels on the quarter-mile walkway as part of Beautiful U Day 2004. Paint jobs have been a popular activity during this annual event, and so have planting and picking up trash. Since 1987, more than 10,000 volunteers have planted more than 80,000 flowering bulbs and removed 800 tons of unwanted materials from buildings on the Twin Cities campus.

Beautiful U Day 2005 will take place on Thursday, April 21. A Wellness Walk from the Washington Avenue Bridge to the Scholars Walk kicks off the day at 9 a.m. Other activities or events include marking storm drains, the unveiling of the Bell Museum's new logo, an auction at the U's Reuse Center, free lunch on Northrop Plaza and near the St. Paul Student Center, and presentations on renewable hydrogen and the U's connection to the Mississippi River.

Lend them your hands

Beautiful U Day organizers are seeking volunteers for two major events. From 1:15 to 4 p.m, volunteers will place stickers on 435 storm drains across the University's East and West Banks. (The stickers will help to prevent pollution that drains to the Mississippi River.) From 2 to 4 p.m., "Curb Appeal" volunteers will clean kiosks, refill ash urns, wash doors, and perform other sprucing-up duties. To volunteer (for either event, one hour or more), you can sign up at

"It's going to be a day buzzing with activity," says Lori Anne Williams, Beautiful U Day coordinator in University Services. "And if the weather cooperates, we'll have a lot of happy people working hard. Year after year, volunteers return and new people sign on to help because Beautiful U Day revitalizes our physical campus and renews our sense of pride in our University."

Beautiful U Day began as a campus clean-up event involving only a small group of employees from the U's facilities management department. Today, it has evolved into the large-scale activity that draws other University staff, students, faculty, and alumni, and neighborhood residents. Beautiful U Day is usually held on or near Earth Day--which falls on April 22 this year.

For a complete list of Beautiful U Day 2005 events, see BUD2005.

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