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(NECN: Siobhan Connolly) – Three Worcester, Mass. college campuses are looking a lot more green. More than 40 trees were planted Tuesday at the College of the Holy Cross, Becker College and Worcester State University; it's all part of the tree campus USA program.
“There are a lot of trees on this campus, somewhere around 700 kinds,” says Holy Cross junior Andrew Varuzzo.
The amount of trees on campus at the College of the Holy Cross is one reason why Varuzzo chose to go there. It was also cause for celebration Tuesday as it became a tree campus USA school.
“It’s wonderful for us to get this new honor, in terms of our commitment to sustainability, to the greening of our city, and looking forward to the future,” says Fr. Phillip Burroughs.
Holy Cross is the second Massachusetts college to receive the distinction; they've met standards that include a tree campus board, a financial commitment to tree care and a service learning project.
The award was presented by the Arbor Day Foundation at Fitton Field in front of the school's more than 100-year-old Teddy Roosevelt elm tree.
“To the credit of Holy Cross, they planted to honor Teddy Roosevelt when he came to speak here on campus and the Dutch elm disease not being able to take that one down,” Mike O’Brien says.
“It’s just great for them to be able to receive recognition for a lot of the work they're already doing toward sustainability and maintaining a great urban campus,” says Jen Svendsen.
Holy Cross may be the first school in the city to gain this recognition, but they won't be the last.
“Becker College and Worcester State University are working toward the award... Hopefully later this year,” says Mollie Freilicher.
Trees are also being planted at Becker and Worcester State. In all, more than 40 new trees are being planted across the city. After losing 30,000 trees to the Asian Longhorned Beetle, the city will have replaced more than 26,000 by winter.
“In spite of the losses by the Asian Longhorned Beetle, the biblical storm we had and all the other challenges,” O’Brien says, “Worcester is growing greener each and every day.”