Through collaboration between students, faculty, and staff, the Georgia State University’s Southern University campus and the Armstrong campus in Savannah were first recognized in the Tree Campus higher education program through the National Gazebo Day Foundation.
Special guest Robert Simmons, a forester of the southeastern urban community from the Georgia State Forestry Commission, presented President Kyle Morer with plaques marking recognition during the university’s annual Arbor Day celebrations on Feb. 18.
“No matter where you are from, trees and greenery are an integral part of the college experience,” Simmons said. “They make the campus more livable, healthy and beautiful, benefiting students and the environment at large. Tree Campus Higher Education was founded in 2008 to promote this tradition of excellence. Earnings on this show students, faculty, staff and colleges that South Georgia University values its campuses. ”
Tommy Poodle, an assistant at the South Georgia Botanical Garden, adds that such events also bring value, reminding students that they can change the environment no matter where they are.
“It’s very important to take care of the land, but the easiest way is to start in the area where you are,” said Pudil. “You don’t need to do something very complicated. It can start right here in your own backyard. You are on campus every day. You see it every day. You can also take care of that. ”
Morera spoke briefly about the beauty of the campuses before signing the proclamation declaring the third Friday of February as South Arbor Day in Georgia.
“We knew how beautiful this campus and our Armstrong campus were,” Morera said. “This is a beautiful, beautiful place that my family and I fell in love with the moment we were able to step on these beautiful sites. I am so proud that we deserved this recognition. “
To be eligible for Tree Campus Higher Education, each campus must comply with guidelines, including establishing an on-campus tree advisory committee, providing evidence of an on-campus tree care plan, verifying special annual plan costs, celebrating gazebo Day and creating a service training project , aimed at attracting students. Many of these tasks were led by Sustain Southern.
The Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Shay Little, spoke at the celebration about the importance of Sustain Southern and the efforts of many departments at the university to realize their sustainability efforts.
“The Student Affairs Department is proud to be home to Sustain Southern, whose initiatives contribute to many opportunities for students to join sustainable development on campus,” Little said. “Sustain Southern’s full vision cannot be realized without important partnerships with our colleagues in Facilities Services, in education, marketing and communications, and many other departments that not only provide sustainability-related education on campus, but and provide opportunities for our students to take part in first-hand sustainability efforts. ”
Sarah Beth Waller is a freshman studying biology and environmental research. She brought several friends with her to celebrate Arbor Day on Armstrong’s campus and was thrilled to see them fall into the mud while planting 12 new trees.
“My friends aren’t used to that kind of thing, but they’ve met new people and dug in the ground, and that’s so good,” Waller said. “I think it is very important that we as a university take measures to be environmentally friendly. One of the things I love so much about this campus is the abundance of greenery. It is unbelievable to be around all this nature and to know what it is, who planted it and what work was invested in it. “
Sophomore and president of Southern Eco-Advocates Bryce Bermudez participated in a tree planting event on Armstrong’s campus and looks forward to future generations seeing trees on campus.
“It will be great to come back in a few years and see these trees we planted,” Bermudez said. “This is something that future members of Eco-Advocate can look at and think:“ Wow! The people who started it really worked to make this campus a beautiful place. ”