The annual Tulips on Troost community service event was held the morning of Sept. 25.
Volunteers began to arrive at the University Playhouse at 7:45 a.m. for registration.
The line stretched back to the walkway and held steady until it came time to board the buses that would transport volunteers. The event covered a radius around UMKC and in the Rockhill Crest Neighborhood.
Volunteers planted various types of tulip bulbs along Troost Avenue, Rockhill Road and on the Volker campus.
This year’s event was attended by nearly 300 student, faculty, staff and community volunteers.
The event was co-sponsored by the Office of Student Involvement (OSI) the Institute for Leadership Services (ILS) and the Southtown Foundation.
The official Tulips on Troost website says “Tulips on Troost, a project of the Southtown Foundation, aims to change the face of Troost Avenue by planting one million tulips along the avenue by 2010. Through this mission, we hope to inspire and motivate the citizens of Kansas City to recognize the value of neighborhood revitalization and beautification in some of the city’s most historic districts.”
Each year UMKC dedicates its Homecoming community service day to this event, which allows the UMKC community to give back to Kansas City in a positive way.
The volunteers were provided with an event T-shirt, doughnuts, coffee and water to get ready for some good old fashioned gardening.
Tulips on Troost was founded by UMKC Alumnus Durwin Rice in 2006.
“Rice is a nationally known decoupage artist whose works have included special commissions from the New York Public Library, Pierpont Morgan Library and Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum,” the UMKC Alumni Association website. “He is the founder and executive director of the Tulips on Troost project, which has attracted regional and national attention for efforts to beautify Troost Avenue in Kansas City,” The Alumn Association’s website is http://www.umkcalumni.com/.
Durwin created the event to improve the image of Kansas City and to aid the improvement of the Troost neighborhood.
“After living in New York City, Rice returned to his hometown of Kansas City, moved in on Troost Avenue, and was struck by the blight and racial division that he saw. He was inspired to start a grassroots initiative to work for change on Troost Avenue, and founded Tulips on Troost.”
Rice chose Troost because of its history.
Troost Avenue was named after Dr. Benoist Troost, a Dutch immigrant who came to Kansas City in the 1940’s.
Troost was a Medical Doctor and is considered to be one of the founding fathers of Kansas City.
Since the event began, there have been over 275,000 bulbs planted by volunteers.
Shelby Coxon, Assistant Director for the Office of Student Involvement says that Tulips on Troost is beneficial to the UMKC community.
“One of the biggest [reasons] is working with community relations. Some [volunteers] are going to homes to make yards prettier,” Coxon said.
Many students attended the event even though it began at 8 a.m.
“It’s a great way to give back to the community,” Vanessa Salas said. “It also helps better the campus.”
Some of the UMKC student organizations came to volunteer also.
Vietnamese Student Association Treasurer John Phan said the little things are what matter.
“Little things like community image are important,” Phan said.
Representatives from the freshman class were also in attendance.
“I volunteered so I can meet new people and get to know the campus,” Thaotou Lor said.
“Tulips are just on the surface—our deep-rooted goal is to use a beautiful, accessible thing like a tulip to represent positive change on Troost and to let the city know that Troost is worth our time, efforts, and resources,” the Troost Avenue website says.
For more information on Tulips on Troost go to www.troostavenue.com/.