This story is featured in the Winter 2016 edition of the HPU Magazine. In honor of Arbor Day today, discover below how the Mariana H. Qubein Arboretum and Botanical Gardens help learning take place across HPU’s 410-acre campus.
A walk across High Point University’s campus isn’t just your usual stroll. It comes with a view. It’s an educational and inspiring experience to remember.
Each and every detail has been placed in the space with a purpose. Flags from more than 52 nations fly along the Promenade to honor each student’s home country. Quotations, selected by students, provide ideas for reflection.
It’s a characteristic of the Mariana H. Qubein Arboretum and Botanical Gardens that brings holistic learning to life at HPU.
Every aspect of campus has been engineered to teach and inspire, including the outdoor spaces surrounding the academic buildings.
The Gene and Jane Kester International Promenade underwent a major renovation. Pedestrian traffic and building entry points were considered in updating the pattern of the walkways.
The promenade’s redesign also considered the placement of its permanent guests: the lifelike sculptures of famous historical figures found on many of the benches. The sculptures, which are now located closer to the academic buildings housing their respective disciplines, are frequently used as a learning tool.
For example, assistant professor of political science Dr. Martin Kifer frames an entire class on civil rights history around the bronze figures. He takes students on a guided walk around the Promenade, stopping at the sculptures of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Mahatma Gandhi and more. It engages students in an intellectual, out-of-classroom discussion about how these leaders changed the course of history.
“The renovations have given the space a new, improved look,” says First Lady Mariana Qubein, who’s guided the vision of the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens since 2006. “It’s hard to believe we could improve on a place that was already so serene and beautiful. It goes to show our students that hard work always pays off. Never settle, but continue to make improvements.”
Honey Bees, Hardscape in the Hillside Garden
A walk along the winding paths of the Woodland Hillside Garden leads to one of the most peaceful parts of campus.
It’s also home to more than 30,000 honey bees.
Among the variety of bulbs, perennials, trees and shrubs featured in the garden, the area now includes two apiaries designed, built and maintained by HPU students Liz Pruitt and Taylor Daniel. The apiaries’ bees pollinate flowering plants and 400 taxa of trees throughout campus.
Pruitt and Daniel will start a beekeeping club at HPU to share their passion for ecology with other students. The honey and wax that’s produced through the apiaries are distributed to students as well.
“Our main goal is to spread the knowledge of beekeeping to others, including people who may have just the slightest interest or those who want to know more about honeybees to help re-grow the honeybee population,” says Daniel.
New Amphitheatre Added
An open amphitheatre seating nearly 1,000 people now serves as a connecting point between Cottrell Hall and the Centennial Square II residential community.
An attractive outdoor study space or a quiet place to take a break, the terraced risers and steps also allow for 360-degree views. The annual Arbor Day celebration, concerts, intellectual discussions, and other events and speakers are hosted here each year.
“This serves as a great outdoor space for our students to gather under the open skies or stars,” Qubein says. “It creates a sense of togetherness, where people can experience theater, music and lectures surrounded by one another.”
Learning takes place everywhere throughout HPU’s 410-acre classroom. It’s just one of many ways HPU provides students and visitors alike with an inspiring environment and unique educational opportunities.
Jon Roethling, curator of grounds, says it’s this attention to detail that makes HPU so special.
“No garden is ever finished. The additions to our plant collections and expansion of our garden spaces is a continuous process,” he says. “This work is a great representation of HPU’s vision in creating an intentional environment for student learning. Everything we’re doing here has a greater purpose.”
View this story and more in the Winter 2016 edition of the HPU Magazine: