For the fifth consecutive year, Hobart and William Smith Colleges have been named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. The national award honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.
To earn the recognition, HWS upheld the five core standards for sustainable campus forestry by Tree Campus USA, including the establishment of a tree advisory committee, evidence of a tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its tree program, an Arbor Day observance and the sponsorship of student service-learning projects.
Throughout the 2015-2016 school year, the Colleges took several initiatives both on campus and across Geneva to advance the five core standards.
On campus, students and faculty expended extensive research focused on sustainability and the health of the environment. A student intern updated the campus tree inventory and map, while several students participated in service projects throughout Geneva related to invasive species management and urban forest care. Faculty and students also led multiple research projects pertaining to tree restoration, carbon sequestration and management.
The Finger Lakes Institute hosted a number events to engage both the HWS and Geneva communities in supporting sustainability initiatives that showcased and celebrated trees. For example, the Colleges celebrated Arbor Day in collaboration with the City of Geneva Shade Tree Committee. FLI Food Systems Program Manager Sarah Meyer is the HWS representative on the committee, and also helped to facilitate the event. And on the HWS Fribolin Farm, students, faculty, staff and Geneva community members tapped maple trees and used it to make homemade maple syrup on campus.
The Arbor Day Foundation, a million-member nonprofit conservation and education organization, has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees through the Tree Campus USA® initiative.
The Tree Campus USA recognition is one of many accolades received by the Colleges’ in recognition of their sustainability efforts throughout the 2015-2016 school year. HWS was recently named one of Princeton Review’s “Green Colleges,” for its dedication to sustainability efforts through academic, career preparation, campus initiatives, activities and policies. HWS was also named to Sierra magazine’s “Cool Schools” list of the greenest colleges and universities. A testament to the Colleges’ longstanding commitment to sustainability, HWS has advanced 55 spots since first appearing on the list in 2009, and earned the highest possible rating for the innovation in the sustainability category.