A group of 15 students, faculty and representatives of landscaping contractor Brightview participated in a tree-planting ceremony last week to celebrate Earth Week. The group planted trees, and flowers, and mulched and watered the grass next to Frederick Douglass Memorial Hall.
On April 20, Howard’s office of sustainability partnered with Brightview to host a tree-planting ceremony to celebrate Earth Week as part of a series of events organized by the office from April 14 to April 22 aimed at encouraging students and the community to make eco-friendly choices and learn about ways to protect the environment.
Earth Week, an extension of Earth Day, is a global celebration of environmental achievements and a time to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the environment, as it reads on its official website. The campus beautification allowed students to sow back into Howard and contribute to the landscape of their school by planting a tree.
Brightview has provided services to Howard for about eight years and supply porters workers who are responsible for maintaining cleanliness and safety standards to clean up during major events such as Homecoming and Convocation.
The tree planted by 15 Howard students can be found outside Douglass near Cramton Auditorium.
“I think a lot of students think like landscaping, ‘oh, it’s dirty, it’s just flowers’ but there’s really a lot more that goes into it,” Camille Tucker, the product manager at the office of sustainability responsible for overseeing projects that promote sustainability on Howard’s campus, said.
According to Tucker, Earth Week hasn’t been celebrated in a physical way at Howard since before the pandemic. The week included activities like a clothing swap to promote sustainable fashion and a “No waste day” with a shredding and e-waste company to ensure the Howard community recycled materials properly.
The campus beautification project is one of many conducted by the university, including the construction of a Green Roof and replacing damaged and misplaced roofing at the Miner Building.
Students who participated expressed a sense of accomplishment upon completing the project and emphasized the significance of why projects such as these should appear on Howard’s campus.
“I think that the nature on campus, along with its buildings, are a big part of its history. We have a lot of trees with the Divine Nine painted on them. We have flowers that are certain colors that represent organizations,” Njideka “Jiji” Manduakor, a junior biology major from Anchorage, Alaska said.
“I think that Howard trying really hard to put all this nature on campus not only helps the mental health of students but helps people enjoy their time on campus,” she said.
Senior biology major Kayla Bell’Davis also participated in the campus beautification project. Like Manduakor, she learned about the project through a biology elective she currently takes.
“At the end of the day, we live on Earth and so in order for us to live properly, Earth has to function properly,” Bell’Davis said. “That goes within pollution and everything when it comes to the environment and taking care of the environment.”
“This year [Brightview] wanted to interact more with the students and get them involved with certain projects,” Tucker said. “They’ll be doing this and then [on] May 8 and 9 they’ll be planting over 10,000 flowers to swap out the flowers that are already planted on campus.”
Copy edited by Alana Matthew