April 28, 2017
Thousands of Texas Tech University students, faculty and staff helped beautify the campus Friday as part of the annual Arbor Day celebration. Red Raiders enjoyed free food, music and other treats at Memorial Circle before heading to designated areas around the campus to plant flowers, trees and perennials.
“I think it’s really great that everybody at Texas Tech gets together and does one thing all at the same time,” said junior mechanical engineering major Kenny Herbert. “I like to plant in my spare time, so I liked it.”
Herbert was one of 16 who volunteered with Pi Tau Sigma, the national honor society for mechanical engineers. Graduate student Kyle Hansard, vice president of the honor society, said this isn’t the first time members have gotten their hands dirty at the event.
“We’re a service organization, so we try to do stuff around the community and on campus,” Hansard said. “This is something we always do, and we always look forward to it.”
The annual spring tradition was created in 1938 by Texas Tech President Bradford Knapp as a way to improve the look of the university campus. By 1948, the tradition ended because of an inadequate water supply, which made maintaining the plants difficult the rest of the year.
In the late ’90s, former Texas Tech University System Chancellor John T. Montford and his wife, Debbie, founded the Campus Beautification Program and the Public Art Program. The two programs helped revive Arbor Day and the event has grown every year since.
Each year, the event begins at Memorial Circle with free food, T-shirts and water bottles and a musical performance. This year, John Rush: “The Human iPod” performed while students, faculty and staff enjoyed lunch, games and giveaways. Several student organizations also received annual awards at the event and attendees were given the opportunity to “pot a plant.”
Volunteers then placed thousands of plants into beds and plots all over the Texas Tech campus. More than 16,000 of those plants have been growing in the university’s greenhouse since September.
Hansard said he appreciates the work everyone puts in to make Texas more enjoyable. He said it’s great to walk through the campus and see all of the plants and flowers that continue to beautify the campus well after the event ends.
“It’s a beautiful campus but a lot of people don’t know that,” Hansard said. “Out here, when there’s a lot of foliage, it just makes the campus look much nicer.”
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