What makes our campus beautiful? Trees.

Flying over Tallahassee is a treat. The way the city has managed to thrive in the midst of vast expanses of greenery is commendable, as many other cities in the nation take their trees for granted.

Absorbing the breathtaking views of the city, its topography and its flora from the observation deck on the 22nd floor of the state capitol is real treat; until you look south toward the campus of Florida A&M, that is.

Despite its architectural variety, its prime location on the highest of Tallahassee’s seven hills and its designation as a National Historic District, our campus is a barren wasteland.  And the lack of trees is to blame.

It’s not uncommon to see students sweating profusely, looking as if they are about to die of dehydration, while walking on campus. The heat alone is enough to turn any smile upside down. In fact, there is a bit of science behind the correlation of an individual’s mood and the presence of trees. According to a study conducted by the University of Georgia and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the presence of trees reduced negative emotions and evoked positive feelings in individuals who live or work in treeless urban environments. 

The study also found that stressed individuals tend to recuperate faster when in the presence of trees – something students at FAMU definitely need in the midst of undertaking academics, a job and a host of extracurricular activities.

Planting trees could also help boost enrollment, a goal university president James Ammons is avidly pursuing. The same University of Georgia-USDA study found that, “people feel more comfortable and at ease when in shaded, open areas of trees compared to areas of hard capes, and non-living things,” the study said. But these are not the only benefits of having a tree-laden FAMU.

Chief among the positives of planting a slew of trees on campus are the financial benefits. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, trees are said to reduce air-conditioning costs by shading buildings and reduce heating costs by providing a windbreak. Fiscally speaking, the university could save a lot of money in the long run by spending just thousands on trees today.

All The money for this environmentally friendly project does not have to come at FAMU’s expense. There are hordes of grants just waiting to be snagged by the public to put more trees in the ground. In the coming weeks, The Famuan will publish a three-part series of articles about the importance of having trees on campus. It is hoped that the voice of the student body will be heard.