A great benefit to EIU has always been its compact campus, but don't be fooled: Keeping the university's grounds looking as great as they do is no small feat. Luckily, a team of dedicated individuals is more up to the task.
Members of the Grounds Shop within Facilities, Planning, and Management, under the supervision of Scott Hall, are responsible for work like mowing, seeding, fertilizing, watering, and maintaining the university's trees, shrubbery and flowers. Additionally, snow and trash removal fall under their purview.
A particularly devoted part of this crew is Larry Shobe, who celebrated his 25th anniversary at EIU in November and can be seen in the video above. While Shobe is quick to deflect attention to the grounds shop as a whole, it doesn't take long to realize he's a fine example of the great work done by his area thanks in large part to a love of gardening dating back to his very early days.
"My great-grandmother taught me to propagate plants; when I was five, six, seven years old, she began that training," remembers Shobe. "I always had an eye for color and large estates and just keeping busy growing things."
Once Shobe began working at EIU, further influence was provided by longtime botany professor Wesley Whiteside.
"(Whiteside) has given me so much advice over the years and has taught me how to grow things that normally can't be grown in this area," said Shobe, whose reward for his work is found in the form of his fellow EIU community members.
"Our faculty and staff and administrators enjoy wandering through the campus and looking at the vast collections here, and they tell us about that."