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A man and some students painting the Washington Ave bridge

In 2004, hundreds of volunteers repainted the large panels on the quarter-mile Washington Avenue Bridge. They used up 100 gallons of donated paint in one and a half hours.

Beautiful U Day grows into statewide event

By Pauline Oo

April 18, 2006

On Thursday, April 20, more than a thousand volunteers in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and the Twin Cities are expected to participate in clean-up efforts, educational programs, public-art installations, and other projects to improve the University of Minnesota's physical and natural resources. Beautiful U Day has been a Twin Cities campus tradition since 1997, but this year, University administrators decided to expand the effort.

"This year marks the first time Beautiful U Day takes place across the state of Minnesota," says Kathleen O'Brien, vice president for University Services. "We expanded the program because of our success in the Twin Cities. Across the state, our students, faculty, and staff have a deep pride for their campus and have embraced the tradition of taking care of what the U has. We're thrilled to have Beautiful U Day activities taking place in Rochester, two of our Research and Outreach Centers, the Itasca Biological station, and of course Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and the Twin Cities. This year, when we say 'Beautiful U,' we mean Minnesota."

"Cyber Scrub"
Web Clean-up Contest

This week, University Webmasters are invited to participate in a contest to clean up the Web space. The contest, organized by University Relations on the Twin Cities campus thanks to a Beautiful U Day grant, offers prizes to participants for removing or archiving their old Web content. For contest rules, see Cyber Scrub.

Earlier this year, the U awarded 36 grants to University departments and student groups for projects taking place on or near Beautiful U Day. The projects run the gamut from labeling plants in a perennial study garden to commissioning a horse sculpture and landscaping the area in which it will reside (see sidebar below). Student groups could apply for a grant of up to $2,000; University departments could get up to $3,000 but were required to match the grant amount with their own funding or funding from another source. For a complete list of projects, see BUD 2006 grants.

New horse at UMC

A life-size, bay stock horse sculpture has claimed a spot outside the University and Teaching Outreach Center on the Crookston campus for Beautiful U Day. The sculpture, commissioned by the Crookston Horsemen's Association with a Beautiful U Day grant, is a nod to the equine industries management program--one of the largest student programs on the Crookston campus--and to the center, which houses a state-of-the-art equine facility. Landscaping around the sculpture will take place over the coming weeks.The new UMC horse sculpture.

University president Bob Bruininks will kickoff the day with "Coffee with the Bulls" at 9 a.m. near the three bull statues across from Haecker Hall on the Twin Cities campus in St. Paul. Following his speech about the U's sustainability efforts, volunteers will disperse to various locations across campus to participate in 12 grant projects. A free campuswide lunch will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in St. Paul and on the East Bank.

Beautiful U Day began as a campus clean-up event in 1987 involving only a small group of employees from the U's Facilities Management department. In recent years, it has evolved into the large-scale activity that draws other University staff, students, faculty, alumni, and neighborhood residents. Over the past nine years, more than 10,000 volunteers have planted more than 80,000 flowering bulbs and removed 800 tons of unwanted materials from the Twin Cities campus buildings. Beautiful U Day is usually held on or near Earth Day, April 22.

For the list of activities, locations, and volunteer opportunities, see Beautiful U Day 2006.