Virginia Tech received the highest number of votes and was among five universities to earn $1,000 in trees during the Arbor Day Foundation Tree Campus competition which ran from March 22 through April 4.
More than 50,000 online votes were cast and Virginia Tech finished first with over 15,700 votes, just 488 votes more than the University of Rochester. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln finished third, the University of Nevada–Las Vegas fourth, and American University fifth.
For more than 23 years, the university’s landscape architect Matt Gart has worked to improve the tree canopy on the Blacksburg campus with the support and participation of Facilities Services’ Buildings and Grounds and Eric Wiseman, associate professor of forestry in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, acting as the Arboretum Committee chair.
“This is the second time Hokies have stepped up and proven to the Arbor Day Foundation and the nation that we really want to make a difference,” said Gart. The university finished first in a similar contest held in 2010.
The funding received will be used to support a tree planting event that will take place during Sustainability Week in fall 2012. Details about that event will be announced as plans are developed.
"Students throughout the country are passionate about sustainability and community improvement," said John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “We’re delighted to recognize and reward these five campuses for their leadership and commitment to building the next generation of conservation leaders.”
Tree Campus USA, a national program launched in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation and supported by Toyota, honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of environmental stewardship. Virginia Tech was one of the first universities to be recognized as a Tree Campus in 2008 and has successfully maintained its certification each year.
Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.