BYU has been ranked as the 21st most beautiful campus on Great Value Colleges’ recent list of campuses across the country.
The judges were impressed by the Harrison Arboretum and Botany Pond, the art scattered throughout the grounds and BYU’s location at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains.
BYU was judged alongside hundreds of other U.S. colleges and universities based on information listed on the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator Database, Wikipedia and the individual schools’ websites.
Points were awarded to schools based on their affordability, awards and recognitions, inclusion on other “most beautiful college campus lists,” notable features like architecture and gardens, location and student enjoyment as measured by retention rates and student ratings on other sites.
BYU grounds director Glenl Wear said the seemingly effortless beauty of campus is not easy to maintain, and his grounds crew is kept very busy year-round making sure the grounds uphold BYU’s reputation.
“We try to instill a sense of order in the landscape so people aren’t distracted from the purpose of the university,” Wear said. “BYU is not an ultra-formal campus, but more semi-formal, with a sense of order in planting and irrigation.”
The Harrison Arboretum and Botany Pond was highlighted by Great Value Colleges as their favorite features of BYU campus. Wear said many students take the waterways, flowers, trees and ponds for granted, but the area was meticulously planned and designed to represent the continental United States.
He said the trees and plants in the area are planted in three groups, composed of eastern trees, southern trees and western trees. The pond was originally fed by a subterranean spring, but the water supply was disrupted when the canals were closed and the Life Science Building was built. Today some of the water is still spring-fed but supplemented with other water.
Wear said the upkeep of the pond is intensive. The grounds crew washes the boardwalk at least once a day, and more often if there’s a wedding party or other group scheduled to be near the pond.
All of the hard work is paying off for his crew, according to Wear. BYU’s landscaping and beautiful aesthetics have been noticed not only by the judges of the competition but by students as well.
Makenzie Ward, a senior majoring in landscape management, worked on maintenance, tree crew and grounds crew. She said she feels BYU has a well-run grounds operation in comparison to other universities.
“The arborist at BYU is really great and so is the architect who designs the layout of the landscaping, and even the gardening and maintenance people do a great job keeping campus looking beautiful,” Ward said. “They take pride in their areas.”
Sophomore Michael Carter said he also appreciates the beauty of BYU’s campus grounds.
“(What makes campus beautiful) is definitely the landscaping and flowers,” Carter said. “We have some of the most beautiful and well-kept grounds I’ve ever seen.”