ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — The Arbor Day Foundation has again recognized St. Bonaventure University as a Tree Campus USA, the third consecutive year that the university has received the designation. It recognizes the university’s achievements in the 2012 calendar year.
Created in 2008, Tree Campus USA is a national program that honors colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. Schools must meet five core standards to earn and keep the distinction: establish a tree advisory committee; have a tree-care plan; dedicate annual expenditures for its campus tree program; hold an Arbor Day observance; and sponsor student service-learning projects.
“Students are eager to volunteer in their communities and become better stewards of the environment,” said John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Participating in Tree Campus USA sets a fine example for other colleges and universities, while helping to create a healthier planet.”
St. Bonaventure has no trouble meeting the “student involvement” requirement. In fact, it was a former student, 2010 graduate David Sine, who first generated campus interest in the program. Sine was vice president of the Student Government Association when he urged the administration to apply for the Tree Campus USA designation. Sine noted that the university, through its adherence to Franciscan traditions and its commitment to environmental sustainability, was already meeting the program’s core standards.
Two seats on the university’s Tree Advisory Committee are reserved for students, and students are directly involved in tree-plantings and other initiatives, such as a survey of forested campus land for the potential impact of an Emerald ash borer infestation, said Rob Hurlburt, associate director of facilities for maintenance at the university.
Hurlburt, who chairs the campus Tree Advisory Committee and submits the annual Tree Campus USA recertification application on behalf of the university’s Sustainability Commission
, said St. Bonaventure is determined to keep the Tree Campus USA designation. “We’ve long been committed to protecting the natural beauty of our home in the Allegheny River Valley, so this is incentive to keep those initiatives going,” he said. “And it’s gratifying to be recognized for our efforts.”
The Tree Advisory Committee’s work is part of a multi-faceted plan by the Sustainability Commission to build a more sustainable campus environment. Those efforts are coordinated by Sr. Suzanne Kush, C.S.S.F., chair of the commission’s Sustainability Coordinating Committee. The commission is presently engaged in efforts to increase participation in recycling on campus.
About the University: Inspired for more than 150 years by the Catholic Franciscan values of individual dignity, community inclusiveness, and service, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them.