“Almost every day that I’m out someone will say ‘Oh I really appreciate your flowers’ and that just makes me want to do a good job,” Brian Ringler said of his job planting flowers on the Slippery Rock University campus.
Have you ever wondered how Slippery Rock’s campus stays so beautiful and so well maintained? That would be the work of Brian Ringler, who works for maintenance at SRU. Ringler plants the flowers on campus and also runs the @sru_flowers Instagram page.
Brian Ringler went to elementary and high school in Slippery Rock and grew up right at the end of Kiester Road. Ringler has always lived in the Slippery Rock area, except for the six years when he lived in Virginia Beach and started Watertight Systems of Virginia, his own construction company. Before coming to work at the university, Ringler had a construction company in the area, called Brian Ringler Roofing, he had also previously sold real estate and flipped houses. Ringler started working at Slippery Rock University in 2011 just a few years after his son was born.
Ringler volunteered to plant the flowers for the university five years ago in 2012 after maintenance had lost the person who had previously been arranging them.
Ringler said that he never professionally arranged flowers before coming to Slippery Rock, other than some gardening for the front of the houses that he flipped.
“I have always known about plant care – when I flipped houses and landscaped the front, but I never really professionally arranged flowers before Slippery Rock,” Ringler said.
Ringler said he fertilizes once a week to give the plants the nutrients that they need. Ringler said that planting and maintaining the flowers is constant work that needs constant attention – but it is not overwhelming.
“Sometimes I’ll try to coordinate a design and then sometimes I’ll get a box truck full of flowers and I’m just told to use my artistic talents and put them in,” Ringler said.
Ringler mentioned how he’s not the only one who enjoys and critiques his flower arrangements; his 8-year-old son does as well. There was one arrangement Ringler did that was shaped like a sun, and when his son saw it, he had said it looked like a watermelon.
Ringler runs an Instagram which features the flowers he arranges on campus, @sru_flowers. The idea for starting the Instagram page came from student helper Challis Roberts.
“I post pictures on my Facebook account, but I thought this would be one that people in general from SRU or the area could enjoy, or use to get some ideas for their homes,” Ringler said of the Instagram page.
Ringler said that Dr. Norton was a big reason the campus was able to blossom with new improvements in recent years.
“Dr. Norton was botoxing the campus – that’s where you get the benches, and those new signs. It also gave me an increase in the budget for the flowers,” Ringler said. “And with the increase in enrollment, – I’d have to say it was worth it.”
Slippery Rock is one of the universities in the state system that has maintained and even increased its enrollment levels, and Ringler would say that these increases may have something to do with how the campus looks.
“I pay most attention to the entrances because I try to give the first impression of our campus high priority,” Ringler said.
“If you’re a student or a prospective student, I want you to go on campus and say, ‘I love it here, I want to go to school here’”, Ringler said. “I try to give the campus that home feeling, and give it some color.”
Ringler said that planting 10,000 tulip bulbs will be the last project he does before the winter sets in. Then when the ground reaches the right temperature in the spring they’ll come up in full bloom.
“That’s why I plant flowers with a smile on my face because it’s an enjoyable job and it’s like instant gratification,” Ringler said. “I am able to turn a bare plot of mulch into something beautiful.”
Ringler is looking to start a garden club on campus for students to get involved in. Any interested students should email Brian Ringler at email@example.com
Also, be sure to follow @sru_flowers on Instagram to keep updated with the hard work Brian is doing to keep campus beautiful.