Damielys Duarte/Staff Writer
FIU’s Modesto Maidique Campus is known for its towering palms and lush vegetation. The open campus gives the space a recreational feel and offers students an escape from the academic walls lying feet away.
In light of this concept, our Student Government Association, along with the backing of multiple members of faculty and staff, want to implement an arboretum, or a museum of tree life. This would be a great addition to the sprawling MMC, where it would not only raise awareness of our global ecology right here on campus, but also offer FIU students a natural work and living space.
It’s no wonder many students and faculty have already shown support for the plan. SGA cabinet member Amelia Leon proposed a resolution to support the project and has already garnered the support of the Honors College, the Biology Department and the Department of Parking, Sustainability and Transportation.
This might very well be in part to the environmental and psychological benefits of the arboretum, as studies have shown that increasing the amount of tree canopies on campus leads to decreased anxiety, according to SGC Senator Bryan Gomez.
Hence, not only is the project aesthetically improving the green space on campus, but also providing health and mental benefits to busy students.
However, with the rise of the resolution came opponents already arguing over the arboretum. One main argument is that the plan for more trees on campus is a bogus solution to climate change and funds should be directed towards initiatives with clearer impact on global ecology.
And although a valid claim, it’s important to recognize the steps the University is taking in order to promote such ideas. Arguing for plastic reduction or low fuel-emissions on campus is a lengthier and more expensive endeavor than beautifying the landscape with exotic foliage.
This new and exciting project won’t be the end of environmentally friendly initiatives at FIU, but a starting point for future projects.
On a darker note, some opponents claim that additional canopy cover will result in higher numbers of rape on campus due to the reduction of already limited light sources, Leon has suggested installing lower light fixtures to maintain visibility on campus and assist with student safety.
In addition to this, funding for the arboretum is being largely derived from fundraisers, donors and grants, meaning students won’t have to pay for the floral upgrade to the MMC lawns.
Ultimately, the most innovative aspect of the project is the involvement of the FIU community in its creation.
The project will be led by our very own student biologists, botanists and architects, meaning this will bring the entire University together in creating an eco-friendly environment that we will all benefit from.
Thus, our school will be serving as a model to our community and beyond.
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