Ole Miss is currently in the running for USA Today’s top 10 most beautiful campuses across the nation.
The current rank of No. 8 is not the best rank the university has received. The number could change within the next few days, since there are still 14 days left of voting.
Nathan Lazinsky, assistant superintendent of landscaping, said the university has continuously gained recognition for its beauty throughout the years.
So far, Ole Miss has received five national awards for beauty. The Princeton Review, Newsweek and the Professional Grounds Management Society are a few who have recognized the university.
With the help of landscape services, Ole Miss has even managed to attain the No. 1 spot.
“We take a lot of pride in what we do, and it’s great because the whole campus takes pride in it and is proud of it as well,” Lazinsky said.
To keep the campus beautiful, Ole Miss landscaping workers undergo special training through Landscape University to keep their work consistent. The training helps each worker perform the job task in the exact way the worker beside him does to give the campus uniformity. It also gives workers the opportunity to advance in their level of landscaping and become certified.
“Landscaping is a constant, changing thing so we are always trying to look for better ways, more efficient ways to do stuff, and we use a lot of input from our workers,” Lazinsky said.
Efforts to keep the university competitively “beautiful” is the cheapest in the SEC per acre. Ole Miss only has 32 full-time employees, for a 1,000-acre campus.
Although workers are limited, they still manage to complete the job even with ongoing construction on campus. Landscapers use construction as an opportunity to revamp other areas such as The Grove.
The landscapers say they like to believe they are helping the university with recruitment.
“When a student comes on campus to visit, they are already interested in the curriculum, so they are going to make their decision in the first five minutes based on appearance and how safe they feel, and if the parents see that the campus is taken care of, they know that their child will be too,” Lazinsky said.
Junior political science major Gabrielle Beech said she was positive about her decision to become a Rebel when she first stepped on campus.
“The university was so beautiful and well-kept. My parents were so surprised because they did not imagine such a beautiful campus in Mississippi. They fell in love immediately,” Beech said.
Conserving the Ole Miss campus is what landscape workers take pride in. For every tree that is taken down, they plant at least five.
Groundskeeper Amanda Klenke said workers always receive compliments around campus for their hard work.
“Anybody who walks around campus always lets us know we are doing a great job, and that is a great feeling,” Klenke said.