Saturday, January 19, 2008

Tennessee Sig Eps Help with Tree Project

SGA tree initiative root of beautification plan
Fred Weber - Staff Writer

The University of Tennessee SGA broke ground this week on the planting of 90 new oak trees around the university’s campus in an effort to help beautify the campus.

These Wynstar Willow Oaks will line the middle of Volunteer Avenue, running down the street from the Pilot station all the way to Hodges Library. This species of oak was specifically selected for the orange color its leaves change into during the fall. They are also durable species with roots that will not affect the street. Because the trees were cloned from a single seed, the genetics of each tree are identical, said John Rader, president of SGA.

Rader said planting the trees was part of his initial campaign when he ran for president last year.
“Part of our campaign platform last spring was campus beautification and (we) wanted to do something that would be long lasting and have a tremendous impact on the campus. ... We felt that trees were the best option because they lasted the longest and made the most visible contribution.”

Rader said the location was difficult to decide because of the lack of green space on campus. Volunteer Avenue was ultimately chosen because it serves as the “main thoroughfare for prospective students,” Rader said.

He noted that Tennessee currently ranks 11th on the Princeton Review’s list of unsightly campuses and feels these trees will attempt to combat the campus’s problem of missing green.
SGA Senate Chair Brandon Morrow added that planting the willow oaks will “make a lasting mark on the campus.”

The SGA raised approximately $13,000 for the project, receiving donations from Strong Hall, The Honors Council, IFC, Pan-Hellenic and six fraternities: Sigma Chi, Phi Sigma Kappa, Pi Kappa Alpha, Phi Gamma Delta, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Kappa Alpha. The trees were purchased from a Tennessee alumni grower who now lives in Georgia.

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