Kenyon’s commitment to effective urban forest management has brought Tree Campus USA recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation for the fourth consecutive year.
Kenyon’s environmental awareness goes back many years, said Grounds Manager Steve Vaden, who started working at the College in 1982. “Trees were then and have been a major concern for the campus,” he said. “It’s part of our unique look for the College.”
Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. Kenyon achieved the recognition by meeting Tree Campus USA’s standards, which include maintaining a tree-advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for a campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and a student service-learning project.
Since its first designation, the College has promoted responsible living on campus by providing interactive programs in sustainability and environmental awareness, such as the Earth Day festival that takes place every spring.
Director of Green Initiatives David Heithaus ’99 believes the Tree Campus USA designation reflects Kenyon’s dedication toward sustainability while fostering a sense of stewardship among students. “It’s giving the individual student a sense of ownership to the place and a sense of responsibility to the planet in the context of global climate change,” he said.
For Heithaus, Kenyon’s continued commitment to enhancing its environmental policies will be just as much a part of the College’s identity as the abundance of towering trees around campus. “I think students want to see the institutions that they are going to study at, the institutions they are giving money to, share their values as it pertains to being responsible global citizens,” he said.
— Bailey Blaker ’18