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New tree is dedicated to honors professors for a class project

Last updated on April 20, 2019

By Gloria Cortes

A group from Volunteer State Community College’s Honors Leadership Development (HUM-275) course planted and dedicated a tree to class professors Nancy Blomgren and Julie Morgan for a project April 18.

The group members consisted of these Vol State students: Giulia Giordani, Tony Chioccio, Rachel Keyes, EJ Avery, Brianna Hogan, Esteban Sanchez, Lauren Buchanan, Gloria Cortes, Karla Majano, and Mindy Donsbach.

The class’ assignment was to make a positive, tangible, lasting (not necessarily permanent) mark on campus without using money.

Sanchez, Majano, Chioccio, Hogan, and Giordani digging the tree hole. Photo by Gloria Cortes
Sanchez, Majano, Chioccio, Hogan, and Giordani digging the tree hole. Photo by Gloria Cortes

“This project has been amazing, definitely something I think we all have never don’t before,” said Majano.

The tree’s purpose is stated on its plaque, “This Dogwood was planted in honor of the 2019 Honors Leadership Development Class and is dedicated to professors Julie Morgan and Nancy Blomgren.

Thank you for your continual commitment to Volunteer State Community College!”

After the students planted the tree, Morgan saw it and said it made her semester.

“We thought, ‘Why not combine Earth Day with this leaving-a-mark project, and just mash it together?’” said Majano.

However, this project took more work than just physically planting the tree.

The group had to get Vol State’s permission to plant (which trees they wanted and where they wanted to plant them), a donated tree, a donated plaque, and maintain efficient communication with VSCC’s Plant Operations office.

Senior Director of Plant Operations Will Newman said that students usually add a tree to the campus about once a year, normally dedicating it to someone. Any st

Unfortunately, wildlife- especially deer-, quickly damage newer, weaker trees, said Newman.

The Dogwood tree was donated to the project from a nursery in Kentucky, said Keyes. The plaque was donated by First Place Trophy in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

Before finding these donors, group members had contacted several other businesses and organizations for donations.

“We did have quite a few struggles along the way, like pushing our planting date forward and planning things out. It’s not a simple thing to plant a tree now, especially on a public campus. There’s quite a bit of paperwork, a handful of people you’ve got to talk to- you can’t just willy-nilly walk up and put it in the ground. It was very hard. My arms are tired from planting the tree itself, but the struggles were all overcame,” said Chioccio.

“My experience with this group has been great. Lots of good communication,” said Newman.

The group celebrated their progress after the tree was planted.

“It feels great. I think we all got a little emotional right after we got it there, especially bringing one of the professors out,” said Majano.

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