Salisbury University’s walkways, academic buildings and residence houses are adorned with breathtaking plant life.
The school’s gardens are one of the “50 most amazing university botanical gardens and arboretums in the United States [with] its impressive collection of trees, shrubs, vines and perennials,” according to Best Colleges.
Gardens contribute to people’s wellbeing. “Spending time outside around plants can increase memory retention by up to 20%,” according to a study from the University of Michigan.
However, Dogwood Village is devoid of diverse plant life and seating for students to enjoy.
Why is this student housing location barren of lush décor?
Assistant Director of Physical Plant Horticulture and Grounds Frank Bowen said Dogwood was originally created as a “temporary housing facility so most planting was [completed] around the [area’s perimeter] with the understanding [the plants] would be there for a short period of time.”
Dogwood is no longer considered a temporary housing facility. It now “[primarily houses] sophomore students,” according to SU’s Residence Halls webpage.
The rooms in Dogwood are the smallest on-campus option for students with a floorspace of “approximately 8 feet by 11 feet,” according to SU’s Residence Halls webpage.
If interior space to study and socialize is limited, outside seating and scenery is imperative to SU students’ overall experience.
Unfortunately, further landscaping at Dogwood faces challenging obstacles.
Bowen noted space between houses is limited for landscaping and maintenance. Despite this, the horticulture department is open to suggestions, especially regarding the area’s east side.
COVID continues to plague college life. Select Dogwood houses are occupied by infected students, which further complicates projects in the immediate future due to possible exposure.
However, Dogwood may not be doomed to bleak grass patches forever.
Horticulturist and Aboretum Curator Julie Golightly said they are “always expanding on campus [and] scouting out plants.”
Golightly mentioned various other horticulture projects including new palm trees from Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, hosting a poplar tree garden for phenology and hybridization from North Dakota State University and expanding the landscaping around the southern end of campus.
Bowen and Golightly were open and enthusiastic with the idea of collaborating with students in kickstarting this project, including through the Green Fund.
This program is “designed to improve environmental sustainability at SU by giving students a say in how their sustainability fees are spent,” according to SU’s Sustainability webpage.
Students interested in voicing their support for this concept may do so through the Arboretum Survey.
A greener scenery for Dogwood Village would improve students’ wellbeing and continue SU’s legacy of cultivating outstanding gardens.
Visit the school’s Arboretum webpage for more information and resources about SU’s plant life.
By JACOB BEAVER
Featured photos by Jacob Beaver