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CSON Sponsors Project To Plant Daffodils For Boston Marathon

Heights Staff

Published: Monday, November 11, 2013

Updated: Monday, November 11, 2013 02:11

Marathon Daffodils Project

Jen Bishop / For The Heights

Joining the effort to honor the spirit of Boston Strong and celebrate the arrival of spring, Boston College community members volunteered Friday to plant 3,500 daffodil bulbs on Brighton Campus along Commonwealth Ave. from 1 to 5 p.m.

Sponsored by the Connell School of Nursing (CSON) and Facilities Services, the event is part of the Marathon Daffodils project led by its president, Diane Valle. The project is a collaboration of nonprofit organizations, gardeners, cities and towns, organizations, businesses, and citizens in the greater Boston area. The goal of the event is to plant 100,000 daffodil bulbs along the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon route from Hopkinton to Boston.

The idea of involving BC with the Marathon Daffodils project originated from Michele Hubley, staff assistant of CSON, during a staff meeting in September. Hubley and her family planted daffodil bulbs about three weeks ago in Hopkinton as a tribute to everyone in the community and her late mother.

“We [CSON] quickly realized that [the planting of daffodils along the marathon route] was a great idea for building community in the School of Nursing, and when I discussed it with the dean, we realized it was a good event for the whole University to participate in and also a community responsibility since we do occupy a large portion of the marathon route,” said Anne Severo, associate dean of finance and administration of CSON.

CSON received support in planning and organizing the event from Grounds Maintenance, the Office of the Executive Vice President, the Office of Marketing Communications, and the Office of Governmental and Community Affairs. Grounds Maintenance helped by purchasing the daffodil bulbs through its wholesalers and supervising the terms of the planting. 

“I think my favorite part of this project is looking around and seeing all of the multi-generations—neighbors who just are stopping by to ask us what’s going on and to tell us how much they appreciate BC doing this, the little children who are toddling around with their gardening kits trying to plant some daffodils, the faculty, the staff, and the students,” said Susan Gennaro, dean of CSON, who helped plant at the event. “This is a community, and it feels great to know that we’re going to, year after year after year, see these daffodils come up.”

Daffodils are a symbol of rebirth and new beginnings, because they begin to grow at the end of winter and the start of spring. Their symbolic meaning goes in sync with the Boston Strong message.

“One of the great things about daffodils and one of the reasons why daffodils are the choice [of flower for the Marathon Daffodils project]—I think—is because A, they’re beautiful and B, they don’t take any maintenance whatsoever,” Severo said. “You drop them in the ground, and hopefully they come up in the spring. Part of the message of a daffodil is that you put it in the ground, you don’t know what’s going to happen, you hope it grows to be something beautiful—and we’re really excited about just the idea of being here in the spring and looking and saying, ‘wow, we did that.’”

The Marathon Daffodils project serves as a way to commemorate those who participated in the Boston Marathon as well as to inspire 2014 Boston Marathon participants, and Severo said she believes they hold a deeper meaning.

“In my opinion, the daffodils are a simple way of representing the pain we all endure in life—the death of winter followed by the reawakening of spring—and the strength to come back stronger and more beautiful than before, transformed by life’s most difficult moments.”

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