HOLD DO NOT PUBLISH Kent State is Recognized as a Tree Campus for Eight Years in a Row

Sierra Allen Student Life [email protected]

Kent State University has received recognition from Tree Campus USA, a national program that was created by the Arbor Day Foundation in 2008, for eight consecutive years and earned this year’s acknowledgement in late February.

Out of many of the accolades that Kent State has collected, the university has continuously been identified for its beautiful trees and nature, but not many students are aware of this. The Tree Campus USA program helps colleges and universities establish and sustain healthy community forests and celebrates the beautiful quality of nature that surrounds students and staff. It also encourages the promotion of healthy trees as well as student involvement.

Heather White has been working for the University Facilities Management for 13 years and serves as the Grounds Manager. “[Establishing and sustaining a healthy community and forest] is important because it is good for the environment and health because it filters pollutants…and it’s good for the soul because it’s just sort of the right thing to do and there’s a lot of benefits, yet, we still take them for granted.

“I’m really proud [that Kent State is recognized as a tree campus,]” said White. “It was a new program eight years ago when I first heard about it… we are one of the originals from the first year… so it’s been a good thing, it’s been a good run,” says White.

To be considered a tree campus, five standards must be met according to the official website of www.arborday.org. A college or university must be accredited, and have a tree advisory committee, a tree-care plan, a campus tree program with dedicated annualexpenditures, an Arbor Day and student learning projects

“I love campus being full of nature, says Anthony Hawkins, a senior interpersonal communication major. “Regardless of the season, even though I hate the cold, there is just so much beauty in every season whether it’s the colorful leaves in the fall, the snow covered trees in the winter or the flowers and fresh air in the spring.”

It’s no surprise that Kent State University has been recognized as a Tree Campus since Kent, Ohio itself is deemed the Tree City, and even influenced the name of the Tree City coffee and pastry shop in downtown Kent. Students should appreciate the nature around campus more often because for most of them, their dream is to move to a big city that will unfortunately lack fresh air and forested land that will be replaced with back to back buildings and concrete. “One of the things we always hear from students, faculty and staff and from parents and even people taking tours is that ‘it’s pretty’ and we spend a lot of time and effort to maintain that,” says White.

“I love the fact that our campus is surrounded by nature says Devin Bates, a junior communication studies major. “When finals become hectic or there’s a personal problem, it’s a blessing to be one with nature, the simplicity of the wind flowing through the trees, birds conversing. Those are the things money can’t buy.”

After learning about Tree Campus USA, students and staff can stroll across campus and take pride in knowing that the university has been continuously recognized for its beautiful trees. Now, all the university needs is its recognition for the most squirrels around campus, we would win for sure.