Texas Tech University


Arbor Day: CASNR student groups contribute to campus beautification

Arbor Day: CASNR student groups contribute to campus beautification

Texas Tech’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources marked its annual celebration of sustainability and community this week, with its annual Arbor Day event Friday (Apr. 28). The event features several CASNR organizations, and is a partnership among Student Union & Activities, Hospitality Services, Center for Campus Life, Tech Activities Board, Grounds Maintenance and the Texas Tech Ethics Center.

Arbor Day is a great opportunity for Red Raiders to come together and beautify the campus and understand the importance of service while building a sense of community, said CASNR Interim Dean Steven Fraze. It allows for students, faculty, staff and alumni to celebrate in a fun way by enjoying music, food and planting right in the heart of campus.

CASNR organizations participating in the annual campus-wide program include the Agricultural Education and Communication Graduate Organization; Alpha Zeta; College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources’ Dean’s Office; MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture/NRM); Plant and Soil Science Graduate Council; Sigma Alpha; Tech Horse Judging; and Tech Rodeo Team.

When Texas Tech was founded in the 1920s, most of the funds went towards the buildings, but the campus was lacking its landscape. In 1937, Tech President Bradford Knapp decided to dedicate one day every spring to beautify the campus. He proclaimed to the university that one day every spring Texas Tech faculty, students and anyone who could lend a hand would help plant trees and shrubs around campus.

The day was carried out in true West Texas fashion. Knapp, State Sen. G.H. Nelson, Business Manager W.T. Gaston, Superintendent of Buildings J.H. Grimsley and other administrators supervised the work on horseback. Home economics students in long dresses and sunbonnets rode in covered wagons to hand out coffee and doughnuts to the volunteers who were planting.

Although it was a great celebration for one day of the year, caring for the trees and shrubs became difficult for the other 364 days of the year due to the inadequate water supply. Most of the plants died, leaving the Texas Tech campus as the typical West Texas land it’s known for. The tradition lasted only 10 years, ending in 1948, until it was resurrected in the late 1990s by former Texas Tech Chancellor John Montford.

The annual Arbor Day tradition has grown exponentially since then. Today, more than 160 student organizations participate in the planting process and help the university’s Grounds Maintenance Department tend to the landscape all across campus. Last year, more than 1,800 students planted a variety of more than 32,000 plants, including lantana, geraniums, May Night salvia, Mexican feather grass, black and red petunias, crepe myrtles and a few trees.

Written by Norman Martin

CONTACT: Steven Fraze, Interim Dean, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or steven.fraze@ttu.edu

0425NM17 / Editor’s Note: VIDEO: Jennifer Simek, Tech’s Department of Plant and Soil Science Greenhouse Manager, reports on growing 15,000+ plants for the university’s annual Arbor Day event. Click here 


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College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources