Amidst a surge of red, yellow and blue, the AMS Commission of Environment and Sustainability (CES) is looking to add some green to this year’s Homecoming festivities.
On Sunday, CES, alongside the School of Urban and Regional Planning, Physical Plant Services and the Sydenham District Association, will be planting trees along University Ave. — an initiative geared to improve town-gown relations and alumni connections while promoting environmental sustainability on campus.
The initiative also seeks to compensate for the trees removed along University Ave. as part of a two-year construction project carried out last summer between Clergy and Johnson Streets.
Over the course of the two Homecoming weekends — Oct. 9 and 18 — nine trees varying in diversity and age will be planted on the lawns of houses along University Ave.
Designated re-planting areas were selected by the City of Kingston following the removal of the trees last summer.
The event will take place on Oct. 6 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Clergy and Earl Streets and again on Oct. 20 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Earl and Johnson Streets.
Another initiative called Queen’s Gives Back, a food drive, will be taking place at the same time in the JDUC.
“[Homecoming] is crucial to provide positive messages of taking time to give back to our community and fellow members of society,” Colin Robinson, commissioner of environment and sustainability, said, adding that the importance of shifting the tradition’s focus is to promote relationships between the school and the community.
Each tree is priced at around $150, funded by alumni, Physical Plant Services, the AMS and the Sydenham District Association.
“The students must take responsibility and take time to recognize the great opportunity to have homecoming back,” Robinson said.
“They should have fun but make sure that this is a sustained tradition and kept alive.” David Gordon, a professor with the Queen’s School of Urban and Regional Planning, said the number of trees have significantly decreased since the mid-70s, when he was an undergraduate student at Queen’s.
In the early 1970s, Gordon, Sci ’75, founded Project Green, an on-campus organization dedicated to increase greenery in the wake of the construction of Mackintosh-Corry, Goodwin and Harrison-LeCaine Halls.
The group also sought to compensate for a rapidly declining tree population across campus, due to Dutch Elm Disease.
Approximately 200 trees were cut down at that time as a result of the spread.
Gordon is also helping to organize the planting event this year.
“[Before] I came here as a student we visited the campus and the trees along University Ave. formed a tunnel over the street,” he said.
“At the end of the day it’s a great story of student-community participation that makes the neighbourhood surrounding the University more beautiful.
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