UNCW’s SGA, Campus Partners “Planting for the Future” at Feb. 7 Event

Friday, February 07, 2020

Determined to support UNCW’s continued recovery from damage caused by Hurricane Florence in 2018, the Student Government Association partnered with the Chancellor’s Sustainability Committee, the Natural Areas Stewardship Committee and the Association of Campus Entertainment to host a “Planting for the Future” event on Feb. 7 where community members, students, faculty and staff helped replant nearly 300 trees.
Participants began at the steps of Trask Coliseum, where student body vice president Rachel Kowadlo ’20, geography lecturer Roger Shew and Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli offered opening remarks. Volunteers then divided into four groups and dispersed across the front of campus to plant a combination of longleaf pine, cyprus and wiregrass.
Azuka Chukwudebe ’21, a junior at UNCW, is an environmental science major who enjoys volunteering in the Wilmington community with her friends.
“It makes me proud to go to a school that cares so much about the environment and does events like this. They get the students involved with it, too,” Chukwudebe said.
Kowadlo explained that this event is part of SGA’s February "day of service." Previously, the organization helped plant, clear and restore areas of the Bluethenthal Wildflower Preserve and, next month, she hopes to organize a community service event at an area park. Kowadlo hopes the campus “Planting for the Future” event will highlight resiliency and growth across UNCW.
“It is so humbling to know our university cares enough to replant the hundreds of trees destroyed even a year and a half after Hurricane Florence,” Kowadlo said. “To see people from all parts of campus and the surrounding area come together to replant for a stronger, more beautiful future at UNCW is one of the many reasons I am proud to be a Seahawk.”
Through continued student and community engagement, Chancellor Sartarelli said his goal is to have over 5,000 trees planted around campus over the next couple of years.
“I love trees. I was born on a farm and raised on a farm until the age of 10, so trees and foliage of any kind are special, and we should have more of them,” Chancellor Sartarelli said.
Kathryn Pohlman ’11, the chief sustainability officer at UNCW, joined Kowadlo in highlighting the sense of place these events create for students, faculty and staff at UNCW. Years from now, the individuals who took part in this event can come back to the campus to see how tall the trees they planted have grown, and they can know they left their mark on the university.
“I think the reason why these events are so popular is because people love getting their hands in dirt. They love the tangible ‘I did this!’” Pohlman said.
--Alex Churchill ’21



Azuka Chukwudebe ’21
(Photo credit: Alex Churchill ’21)