Kent State Continues Commitment to the Campus Landscape
At the start of each semester, Kent State University sees an influx of new life coming to campus in the form of new students. Thanks to University Facilities Management, new life is always coming to campus in the form of new greenery, specifically new trees.
On April 21, students and staff gathered behind Korb Hall to help add new life to campus as the Kent State grounds crew planted a New World Red Maple to honor Kent State’s commitment to tree care and environmental sustainability.
“This is the ninth year we’ve participated in a tree planting and the ninth year we’ve partnered with the Office of Sustainability during Recyclemania,” says Heather White, Kent State grounds manager. “Korb is a new location for us, but this tree will complement the others planted here.”
The location for the new tree was selected based on the results of RecycleMania, an eight-week national initiative that encourages colleges to increase recycling efforts. The university has participated in RecycleMania for the past nine years, competing nationally and locally with a competition against the University of Akron and a competition among Kent State residence halls.
As a university, Kent State recycled more than half a million pounds of waste in eight weeks. Korb Hall ranked as the top residence hall for seven of the eight weeks in the competition, ending RecycleMania in second place.
Eric Abowd, a resident assistance in Leebrick Hall, accepted Korb Hall’s Recyclemania award and helped plant the new tree.
“As part of the award for finishing second place, Korb gets new trees planted outside of the residence hall, which is cool,” Abowd says. “Having so many trees on campus makes the campus setting even more beautiful. With so many trees around, when Ohio weather gets nicer, walking campus with the trees makes the experience just that much better.”
At the event, Kent State formally accepted its ninth consecutive Tree Campus USA award from the Arbor Day Foundation.
“It’s wonderful that Kent State University has been a Tree Campus USA for the past nine years,” says Alan Siewert, Northeast Ohio’s regional urban forester for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. “They were one of the originals. That kind of commitment to carry something on that long is tremendous.”
Siewert, who presented the award, is also a member of Kent State’s Tree Advisory Board, which meets once a month to discuss campus tree care.
“It’s wonderful to plant a tree, but it’s more important to maintain that tree and even more important to continuously protect that tree,” Siewert says.
As required by the Tree Campus USA standards, Kent State grounds crew undergoes continuous training and education to learn the proper techniques for planting, maintenance and continuous care of Kent State’s urban forest landscape.
The university grounds crew maintains and cares for more than 950 contiguous acres across campus.
“The Tree Campus USA award is truly an acknowledgment of all of the effort of our University Facilities Management team,” says Mark Polatajko, senior vice president for finance and administration, when accepting the award. “The trees really enhance the aesthetic experience of our campus, and for that we’re grateful. We’ll see you all here next year for year No. 10.”