HIGH POINT, N.C., April 21, 2016 – High Point University’s annual Arbor Day Celebration found a new home this year at the Alumni Avenue Amphitheatre, the latest outdoor learning space to be added to campus.
This national holiday brought together members of HPU and the community to share their experiences with the Mariana H. Qubein Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, as well as community gardens in the city. Surrounded by trees, flowers and landscaping in full bloom, the HPU arboretum and gardens committee received the Tree Campus USA Award for the seventh year in a row. An Oryza sativa ‘Black Madras’ rice plant was also given to all attendees.
First Lady Mariana Qubein, who spearheaded the creation of the arboretum and botanical gardens, thanked the students, faculty, staff and community members who contribute to cultivating a healthy environment on campus, but also in the city through community gardens.
“Our staff, faculty and students are hard at work as you can see, in the classroom but also here in our gardens and arboretum that have contributed to our campus and its educational programs,” Qubein said. “They have helped us create an environment that leaves the eye wondering in amazement, our hearts inspired with potential and thankfulness, and our minds nourished with information and knowledge. They have helped us achieve that in their own environment and by helping in the community around High Point.”
Jon Roethling, curator of the grounds, also spoke about the HPU gardens’ accomplishments this year, as well as community garden tours that will be offered this summer every Tuesday and Thursday at 9 a.m. beginning May 17. To schedule a tour, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 336-841-4636.
“This year, we have crossed some major thresholds,” Roethling said. “We now have over 500 types of trees on this campus. We have over 3,000 types of plants on this campus. Those are those benchmarks that keep us pushing and pushing.”
Service leadership was a theme from speakers at the event – inspired by HPU’s first doctoral cohort in Educational Leadership. A scholar tree was planted for their achievements as they prepare to receive the first doctoral degrees ever bestowed by HPU at the 2016 Commencement Ceremony.
“We believe leadership is service,” said Sonja Parks, a doctoral student and assistant superintendent at Rockingham County Schools. “Like a tree in life, servant leaders must have strong character and strong values. All studies at HPU are grounded in building strong character for a solid foundation of learning. We are forever grateful to the professors who helped us in this leadership journey.”
Kaitlyn Wright, president of Alpha Delta Theta sorority on HPU’s campus, said their organization has reaped the benefits of serving in both the gardens on campus and off campus.
“It’s been a blessing to see the fruits of our labor pay off this spring,” Wright said. “It’s been not only a chance to give back to our campus, but to our community gardens as well, and a blessing to see our service grow and blossom. It’s a way you personally can leave your mark for years to come.”