Student Philanthropy Council aims to restore campus arboretum to former beauty


Bruce A. Fox

Volunteers gather to wrap trees on Commencement Walk to raise awareness of the Student Philanthropy Council’s campaign to restore campus arboretum.

Joel Hopkins, Opinion Editor

Philanthropy is defined as “goodwill to fellow members of the human race,” and that’s what the Student Philanthropy Council at Buffalo State is about.

“What the Student Philanthropy Council works on for the most part are things that better the campus as a whole,” said Pamela Voyer, advisor to the Student Philanthropy Council (SPC).

The club researches the campus to find what students care about, and then raises money to make student’s wishes come to fruition.

For example, previously the SPC conducted a survey which showed that students at Buffalo State wanted more charging stations on campus, so the club raised money and put it towards the addition of said stations.

In February, the Student Philanthropy Council began raising funds to restore the Maud Gordon Holmes Arboretum back to its former glory, after discovering that this was something students and faculty on campus wanted to see.

“We thought, we have faculty and staff wanting to do this, USG got behind it, so the Student Philanthropy Council said, ‘Let’s help USG and students figure out how to fundraise, get community service, so that we all come together for one initiative,’” Voyer said.

The arboretum includes every bush, tree, shrub, or plant on campus.

“There used to be 1700 trees on campus and now we’ve lost over 300, so we’re trying to just build it back up, to make it beautiful,” Voyer said.

The arboretum is not just for looks, it has also been used for scientific research and education in the past. It provides students with a number of volunteer and work opportunities, one example being the BSCenery Program offering paid internships to high school students in Buffalo Schools to work alongside with the arboretum.

The SPC has raised awareness for their campaign by decorating trees on campus with colorful cloths in “tree-wrapping ceremonies.”

“We hope to do a second phase of the tree-wrapping ceremony, the first one was right there on Commencement Walk, the second one will be on [Bengal] Walk right in front of the arena,” said Tatiyana Bellamy, member of the SPC.

Getting the word out about the “tree campaign” was the start, and raising money was the next step.

The SPC has taken to all sorts of fundraising including selling valentines, hosting a “ring toss” game where students paid to play for prizes and hosting cookie sales.

“We even collect cans to raise money,” Voyer said.

The Biology Club volunteered hours to procure over 800 dollars as a donation for the arboretum. The SPC aims to raise enough to purchase at least one tree, which would be around 1000 dollars.

“But of course, the more we can raise, the more trees we can get. There’s over 10,000 students on campus, if everybody just donated even one dollar…” said Voyer.

The SPC will end their fundraising campaign in April, and they hope to have a celebratory tree to plant by then.

Interested students can donate to the tree campaign online, right on the SPC’s website. Or, if they want to get more involved, they can find out about any event the SPC hosts via their social media sites. Events are open to anyone interested.

“We want it to be inclusive, not exclusive,” Voyer said.

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