BYU students combine work and studies to help create one of the most beautiful campuses in the world.
In 1860 Brigham Young said: "There is a great work for the Saints to do. Progress, and improve upon, and make beautiful everything around you... [A]dorn your habitations, make gardens, orchards, and vineyards, and render the earth so pleasant that... angels may delight to come and visit your beautiful locations" (Journal of Discourses, 8:83-84).
Kelli Godshall worked on the BYU tree crew, was a student leader in the PLANET Career Days, and is now happily employed with a landscape firm in California.
Many of the students who tend the award-winning grounds are majors in landscape management—like Kelli Godshall, a senior from Roseville, California, who worked on the tree crew. Godshall has already taken a job with Valley Crest Landscape Management in Sacramento. "I went to a week-long event at Valley Crest headquarters in February, spent a day visiting their Sacramento branch, and had a job offer by March," she said. "I manage one large landscape account full-time, which includes client interaction, problem solving, and running a 7-man crew daily; it's incredible."
A Great , Great Experience
This past spring, Godshall had the opportunity to put her BYU education to good use as she joined hundreds of other students in her field of study for the 30th annual Professional Landcare Network's (PLANET) Student Career Days. The three-day event, hosted by BYU, included opportunities for students from around the country to network with professionals in the industry, compete in 23 events related to their expertise, and learn more about the 70- billion-dollar industry that includes landscape contracting, greenhouse and nursery production, landscape architecture, and other rewarding and lucrative careers.
Time in the Trees
Student volunteers, led by Peterman, and BYU professors Phil Allen and Greg Jolley, spent months preparing for the event. "There were literally thousands of logistics," Peterman said.
"The highlight of the event," according to Jolley, "was that on top of volunteering, running the event, and exhibiting superb graciousness, our students won the overall competition."
Allen was named National Educator of the Year at the event, and many BYU students came away with scholarships, including Godshall.
Allen said the win can be attributed to several things. "Above all," he said, "our students get to spend time in the trees. Their hands-on experience is invaluable."
Jolley says a partnership with the Marriott School of Business also gives BYU students a competitive edge. "They not only graduate with solid horticultural skills, but have good business sense as well."
The Happiest Students on Campus:
The BYU landscape program is considered one of the top in the nation. Jolley says it's the students who make all the difference: "You are definitely working with a different level of student at BYU."
Anyone who has visited the BYU campus has seen the fruits of the handson leadership of Peterman and his crew. The students they direct express great satisfaction with their work.
Allen says, "I don't believe there are any happier students on our campus, collectively. Graduates do well professionally and love what they do."
Godshall agrees. She loves that the skills she has learned will not only further her career in the present but help her beautify her own home. She will always remember an experience she had during one of her two internships. "I was riding along with an account manager," she said. "He was not a member of the Church, but he could feel the importance of his work. He said to me, 'What makes me happy when I do this job is that it makes me think of the Creation.'"
Like his brother Brigham, Apostle Joseph Young also addressed land care—in a very special setting. In 1878 Joseph wrote that "[Enoch] had seen the heavens opened; had gazed upon cities that were celestial; had been familiar with the gorgeousness of the heavenly mansions, and the splendor of their architecture... which enabled him to instruct his brethren to build after the pattern of the heavenly... The gardens, orchards and vineyards, the lawns, shades and floral fields, partaking of the best selections of fruits, flowers and evergreens that could be collected, from far and near" ("A Brief Glance at Enoch and His City" in History of the Organization of the Seventies. Salt Lake City: 1878. Deseret News Press, pp 9-13).
Peterman reflects on his 30-plus years of working with BYU staff and students and says he is thrilled to have labored with thousands of students who have sought to mimic the pattern of the heavenly on the award-winning BYU campus.