Streich Helps Make SMSU Campus a Beautiful Place

Published Friday, August 26, 2016
Emily Streich
Emily Streich

SMSU junior Emily Streich has quietly gone above and beyond in her contributions to making the Southwest Minnesota State University campus a beautiful place.

Streich, a native of Wood Lake, Minn., recently completed her second summer as part of the Physical Plant crew. She is the daughter of Larry and Brenda Streich. Majoring in special education with a coaching minor keeps her occupied, but not too busy to join the other eight physical plant employees in their summer groundskeeping activities around campus.

Working with the physical plant crew meant early mornings for Streich. On a typical Monday, Wednesday and Friday, she left home by 6:20 a.m. to reach SMSU in time to begin the workday. “I’m not a morning person,” she admitted, laughing, “but I got into the groove.” A typical day lasted from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. “If it was downpouring, we would do maintenance work inside,” she said, but as a rule, the crew continued its outdoor work no matter the weather.

One of the first projects she worked on early in the summer was adding landscaping around the new SMSU welcome sign at the intersection of Highways 23 and 19. Streich said the process of putting down the fabric, adding the rock and painting the base of the “Our Horse” sculpture took some time. Once that was complete, she helped dig holes for the plants and lay them out correctly before planting. “We had to make sure the plants were symmetrical on both sides of the sign,” she said. Visitors to campus as well as students often stop by the entrance sign to take photos, and they can now enjoy a pleasantly landscaped backdrop as well.

 “The largest chunk of my position was spraying cracks in the sidewalks and pavement for weeds,” said Streich. She also worked closely with Julia Olson to weed the flowerbeds around each of the academic buildings. Other tasks included watering flowers, mowing, and fertilizing. Streich’s dedication to these necessary, but often unnoticed, tasks continues to pay off abundantly in the beauty the rest of the campus community enjoys each day.

Streich said the best part of her job was the people she worked with. “They are so easy going and fun to talk to,” she said. Streich was one of only two student workers on the physical plant staff for the majority of the summer. She finished the summer as the lone student after her counterpart began football practice in early August.

Not only did Streich spend hours caring for the SMSU landscape, she also maintained a vegetable garden at home for the fifth year. “I enjoy being outside and working in the garden,” she said.

She took an online class over the summer as well.

Streich is back inside working at the SMSU post office for the school year, and begins her junior year coursework. She will continue coaching Lakeview girls’ softball in the spring. After graduation, she hopes to stay in southwest Minnesota and teach special education at the elementary level.

Streich’s humble leadership and commitment as part of the grounds crew will continue to serve her well as she enters her future teaching career. She is a classic example of the family spirit, student involvement and dedication that make SMSU run smoothly. “I’m glad to be part of it,” she says.