As you may have known, Rice has a beautiful campus filled with memorable artistic structures and unique, Byzantine-styled buildings. However, when most visitors arrive on campus, this structural beauty is quickly overshadowed by the bountiful greenery that lies within the university grounds. A greenery that has allowed Rice to seamlessly become an acclaimed arboretum even while being located within the fourth largest city in the nation. Strikingly, it’s even been said that the number of trees on campus outnumber the entire undergraduate student population at Rice! This takes the designated “Tree Campus USA” title we got back in 2017 to an entirely different level.
As a student, I appreciate the almost ethereal sense of nature that the trees provide me with. They give shade to offset the sun’s heat in the summer months, a place for students to be able to relax or study, and, more importantly, they provide a home for Rice’s smaller residents: the squirrels. Each wooded path you may encounter portrays a different side of Rice—one which reminds you of your humanity and clears your mind from the transitory things in life that may be experienced. At around every corner, you will undoubtedly be greeted by one of over 4,300 trees on campus, each of which contain their own history by acting as symbols of significance and longevity.
As a tree lover, I really enjoy to simply be lost in the presence of trees. Whether this be achieved by either leaning against a tree-trunk while enjoying a good book next to Fondren Library or by jamming out to a Beyoncé song under the canopy of my favorite tree near Brochstein Pavilion is up to the mood I feel or want to feel. This ambiguity allows each tree to represent something different for each individual. It allows students to create their own atmosphere and to be able recognize trees as integral constituents of Rice’s culture of wellbeing.