URI Gives Back Day highlights planting of 5,000 bulbs, Oct. 10

Freshmen to become gardeners Oct. 10

KINGSTON, R.I. —October 1, 2009—With spades and enthusiasm, University of Rhode Island freshmen will literally establish their roots on Saturday, Oct. 10.

From 9 a.m. to noon, 250 University community member volunteers, including 175 URI 101 freshmen, will plant 5,000 tulips, narcissus, and other spring bulbs around the Quadrangle and other pre-selected locations. URI Master Gardeners volunteers will be on hand to assist in the mass planting.

While many volunteers will be digging and planting, others will also be weeding, raking, mulching, and sprucing up the area. It’s all part of the first “URI Gives Back Day.”

The planting is made possible through the generous support of Washington Trust. The Bank donated thousands of daffodil bulbs in 1991 to help URI celebrate its Centennial, and then partnered with the University and local communities for several years thereafter with a South County Beautification Program. The daffodils planted over those years still bloom today, making late spring a beautiful time to visit the URI campus and the South County region.

“We’re pleased to once again partner with URI to help beautify our local region,” stated Elizabeth B. Eckel, Washington Trust’s Senior Vice President of Marketing. “It’s exciting to have the freshman class involved with the planting, as they will enjoy the plethora of spring flowers for years to come.”

Generous support also came from Robert Weygand, vice president for Administration, the Feinstein Center for Service Learning and URI Lands and Grounds Department.

As noted, the largest group of volunteers participating in “URI Gives Back Day” will be first year students in URI 101. The required course, supported by the Feinstein Enriching America Program, introduces all first-year students to the traditions of higher education and academic culture, as well as significant societal and personal issues that influence their college experience. The course provides students with the opportunity to serve the community with their peers and reflect upon that experience.

“URI Gives Back Day” will serve as a kick-off to a Month of Service at the University. Through URI 101, 75 classes, composed of more than 1,350 first year students will engage in service during the month of October.

“Social responsibility and community engagement start at home and we hope that ‘URI Gives Back Day’ will be an annual opportunity for our community to come together and make a beautiful and lasting impact,” said Jayne Richmond, dean of University College.