St. John’s thousand trees will go a long way

New York City has an international reputation for its epic skyline and sprawling urban development, making it one of the world’s metropolitan centers and the epitome of what city life is all about.

But is it known for its trees and urban forest? The answer is a definite and resounding no.

The city, however, is trying to change this as it continues to become more green with Mayor Bloomberg’s “MillionTreesNYC” initiative, one of 127 “PlaNYC” initiative programs adopted recently by the city of New York. Quite simply, the goal of this program is to plant one million new trees throughout the five boroughs over the next decade.

According to the program’s Web site, this will increase the city’s urban forest by an impressive 20 percent, thus improving the quality of city life and achieving all the benefits that come with planting trees.

An outline from the Web site divides the proposed locations for planting these trees into three categories: streets, parks, and private land, signifying that in order to accomplish its goal of a million trees, the city is relying on private partners such as homeowners and private organizations to plant 40 percent of the quota.

And St. John’s is ready to do its part.
According to its Web site, St. John’s will further its commitment to protecting the environment by partnering with the “MillionTreesNYC” initiative and planting a thousand new trees on the Queens and Staten Island campuses, a partnership that the school describes as “enhancing the greening of the University and the sustainability of the campuses’ local environments.”

The University’s Web site quotes Brij Anand, vice president for Facilities: “We continue to implement strategic initiatives to successfully reduce our carbon footprint. Our senior administration has made our sustainability efforts a top priority to ‘go green’ at all four of our campus locations.”

With the world suffering from unprecedented levels of pollution and urban growth, it’s good to know that the University is aware and fully dedicated to the green movement.

Not only is St. John’s working to lessen its carbon footprint, but it’s also concerned with improving the environment on campus for the sake of student life.

The addition of a thousand new trees to campus will not only help develop the school’s urban environment, but it will make a noticeable difference for students when walking around the school’s metropolitan campuses.

And the benefits of planting trees don’t stop there. Many students desire the beauty and comfort of a traditional suburban campus along with the close proximity and access to a major city; increasing the greenery at St. John’s bolsters the University’s ability to offer this kind of environment.

Though small, St. John’s Queens’ campus is situated on a piece of land that is ideally designed for this kind of sought-after traditional college environment. With the addition of more green, St. John’s University can look to emulate the campuses of top flight northeastern schools with similar geographical locations such as Brown, Harvard, Columbia, and Fordham – all of which are known for their lush tree-lined walkways and shady campus greens located inside of a bustling city environment.

For all of these reasons, St. John’s should be applauded for its involvement in the Mayor’s green program. At St. John’s University, a thousand trees will go a long way in improving the feel and comfort of the student experience, as well as help to combat the growing threat of environmental deprivation in the local urban community.