April 25, 2016
Every spring the Texas Tech University community lends a hand in planting trees and shrubs throughout campus to create a little oasis in West Texas. On Friday (April 29), the annual tradition will continue from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Memorial Circle, where students, faculty and staff will join to help beautify the campus and build a sense of community in Raiderland.
“Arbor Day is an annual event the Texas Tech community truly looks forward to participating in each spring,” said Claire Maginness, assistant director of Student Union and Activities. “Our grounds maintenance department, students, faculty and staff work so hard during this time to improve our campus, and we appreciate all of their help and hard work. We are so fortunate to have a grounds maintenance department that puts in a lot of time and effort throughout the year to make our campus look as beautiful as it does.”
The tradition was created in 1938 by Texas Tech President Bradford Knapp when he was saddened by the bareness of the campus. He proclaimed to the university that one day every spring Texas Tech faculty, students and anyone who could help would join in beautifying the campus.
Whenever the tradition began it was carried out in true West Texas fashion as Knapp, State Sen. G. H. Nelson, business manager W. T. Gaston, superintendent of buildings J. H. Grimsley and other administrators supervised the work on horseback while home economics students in long dresses and sunbonnets rode in covered wagons to hand out coffee and doughnuts to the volunteers.
The tradition became difficult to continue, ending in 1948, because taking care of the trees and shrubs was difficult for the other 364 days out of the year due to the inadequate water supply. Most of the plants died, leaving the campus as it was before the tradition began.
The tradition was resurrected in the late 1990s by former Texas Tech Chancellor John T. Montford and wife Debbie Montford, who founded two important initiatives for the Texas Tech University System: the Campus Beautification Program and the university’s Public Art Program. The Campus Beautification Program created a new push for the tradition and reinvigorated the Arbor Day event as it is known today.
The tradition has grown exponentially since its beginning in 1938 with more than 2,000 students, faculty and staff registered to volunteer for the special day.
The event will begin at Memorial Circle with activities, live music, free food and T-shirts (while supplies last) followed by a student organization awards ceremony. Planting around campus will begin at 1:20 p.m.
For more information about Arbor Day, visit the Student Union and Activities website.
The Center for Campus Life offers programs and services that enrich the Red Raider experience by focusing on student transitions, the university and campus traditions, establishing positive relationships with students and families, and maintaining collaborative partnerships.
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