13 September 2023 • Sustainability Championing Environmental Stewardship: HWS Recognized for Green Initiatives

National recognition highlights protection and care of pollinators and trees.

Once more, Hobart and William Smith have received recognition from Bee Campus USA and Tree Campus Higher Education programs for unwavering dedication to upholding a sustainable campus.

This is the fourth year the Colleges have been recognized by Bee Campus USA and 11th year for Tree Campus Higher Education.

“I'm particularly proud of our renewal this year because we had many students who took an active role in it happening,” says Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Kristen Brubaker, who leads the Colleges' committee dedicated to following each organization’s requirements for eligibility.  

Colleges and universities that are recognized by Bee City USA make a commitment to protect pollinators by increasing the abundance of native plants, providing nesting sites and reducing the use of pesticides. Colleges and universities that are recognized as part of the Tree Campus Higher Education program by the Arbor Day Foundation are committed to preserving and growing the number of trees on their campus to make their campus healthier. 

Both organizations require participating schools to have committees dedicated to planning and acting on each organization’s requirements. At HWS, one committee is dedicated to both.

The committee meets periodically in addition to organizing service, outreach and education events in the community. The team also documents pollinator and tree education that occurs in classes on campus. 

A few of the sustainability projects that have occurred this year with the help of the Buildings and Grounds department, include an Arbor Day tree planting event, establishing additional pollinator-friendly plant areas and new signage for no-mow zones. These are areas where grass is allowed to grow higher than normal to provide a habitat for pollinators and reduce emissions used from lawnmowers cutting at a more frequent pace. Wildflowers have been planted in the zones, too. 

"This is not only aesthetically pleasing, but provides food for our pollinators," says Grounds Manager Drew Rojek. 

Other ways the the department helps with sustainability includes working with Food Services to compost food waste during outdoor events, planting two trees whenever one tree is removed, purchasing an electric lawnmower and using environmentally-sound practices for pest management. 

Additionally, the department helps maintain the student garden. 

Click here to learn about Bee Campus USA and here to learn about Tree Campus Higher Education.

Hobart and William Smith have committed to creating a sustainable campus, including becoming climate neutral by 2025. A collective of faculty, staff, and students, including dedicated graduate students who assist with sustainability programming, organize events to inform the community about ways to create a sustainable campus, including HWS Food Week and Earth Week. 

Top: On Arbor Day, James Anderson ’23, Erin Kluge ’23 and Johanna Golden ’23 plant a white oak tree on William Smith Hill.