By: Thomas Moore, Campus Editor
One question has been on every Furman student’s mind: why are all the trees being cut down? This process, which began midway through fall semester, has been a key characteristic of the 2018-2019 school year at Furman. A number of concerns have been raised by students, some positive, some negative. Aside from the students’ opinions, Furman’s prerogative is safety.
Furman’s Police Department (FUPO) provided some temporary relief for the unanswered questions. The front desk reported, “They’re old and the weather has been causing trouble. You wouldn’t want ancient trees falling on your head while in class, would you?”
The search for answers continued; Executive Director of the Shi Center and Earth and Environmental Sciences professor Dr. Weston Dripps provided a breakdown of the reasons for the lack of trees on campus. “Basically when the campus was moved from downtown to its current location and the campus was constructed back in the late 1950’s, the university planted the oaks that currently line the mall. But these oaks have come of age all at once, and as such the time has come to replace them. They have begun to lose limbs and die off, and so need to be taken down, particularly so they don’t pose as a safety hazard.”
However, a number of students have displayed sadness at the tree removal process. Sophomore Krissy Gear lamented, “ I liked the trees. Honestly, part of the reason I came to Furman was because the campus was so beautiful. The trees were a key part of that campus. It just doesn’t feel the same in some places anymore. Not only is my shade gone; my friends are gone too.”
Fortunately for people like Krissy and other students who are feeling nostalgia, Dr. Dripps provided some relief statements to help numb the pain many Furman students are expressing. “The good news is that they are being replaced with a variety of different oaks that have a much longer life span, so ideally we will not have to have them replaced for another hundred years.”
But as usual, Furman is not only thinking proactively, but on a long-term scale as well.
“The plan also includes spacing between the trees and specific new variety. It is a phased plan-8 years overall. The library mall was done a couple years ago and the PAC circle was the most recent phase, but eventually all of the trees on the main mall will be replaced.”
As continued by Dr. Dripps, a number of new varieties of trees will be included in the new wave: “An Overcup Oak is part of the full replacement plan.”
Furman’s concern for the safety of the students is the main reason for cutting down the trees. However, with eyes to the future atop a rational plan, Furman’s aim is to ensure the campus stays beautiful with a drawn out 8 year replacement plan.