Life is a bit greener at IU South Bend. The campus recently received the2019 Tree Campus USA recognition. Tree Campus USA, an Arbor Day Foundation program, honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.
The call regarding the honor came in the spring to Krista Bailey, director of the Center for a Sustainable Future at IU South Bend.
She was happy that all the hard work paid off for students, faculty, and staff who are concerned about the environment and sustainability.
Bailey knew that IUB was a Tree Campus and it is a system-wide initiative. IU South Bend joins IU Kokomo, IUPUI, and Bloomington with the designation.
Bailey said it is more than planting trees. The honor is given to campuses that have dedicated time and energy to five core standards. The standards are: an advisory committee, evidence of tree-care plan, dedicated expenditures for a campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance, and sponsorship of a student service learning project.
Bailey said the committee, which is comprised of students, faculty, facilities, also includes South Bend’s city forester, Brent Thompson. Since the campus is within the city and two parks are close to the campus, including Thompson was a natural move and meets the requirement of including a community member. The city of South Bend also holds a Tree City designation.
The committee has been in place for several years. It was a student-driven initiative that met a few times a year. It was a learning process for the students.
The committee worked with facilities on planting and management. Part of the management is working on a plan on what to plant, examining climate change and what will thrive. Planting a tree now means it needs to thrive 20 years from now, she said.
The student service learning project included a dedicated tree planting on campus and in the community, plus placement of bat and bird houses and the removal of invasive plant species.
We live in a Tree City, why not have a Tree Campus, Bailey said.