For many years, a recreational gem of trees has been waiting, untouched, to be used by the Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) community. During the last couple of years, SNHU administration has contemplated turning a particular 25 to 35 acres of forest into a facility that would preserve the landscape (amidst all of the recent construction) and provide a beneficial, multi-use place for recreation.

Located to the south and west of the SNHU Facilities building, this plot of land has an awkward shape that would be difficult to construct buildings on. Maintaining it as an arboretum would allow the space to be used for many SNHU community activities.

Primarily, the arboretum could be used as a recreational area. The arboretum would provide campus with a lengthy, beautiful, forested trail that would allow for pleasant walks. Imagine students and professors walking amongst the trees in the fall semester as they discuss their latest research; this type of interaction was highly encouraged by the ancient Greek philosophers, and was often practiced by Aristotle and his students in his Lyceum.

For students studying the environment at SNHU, the arboretum could be an extension of the classroom, and allow the hands-on education that employers love to see. Classes in other disciplines could also occasionally have their lessons outside, weather permitting, for fresh air and new perspectives.

Mike Weinstein, SNHU alumnus and current Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Advisor to SNHU’s School of Arts and Sciences, has been working diligently on strategic plan drafts for this project. Weinstein has spoken with many offices and departments on campus and trusts that they are all in favor of the arboretum. His recent challenge with this project is that it needs to become a priority amidst the other projects of the university.

“The idea is to balance our growth with sustainable development, and not only maintain scenic forestland for SNHU students, but to provide them with academic, recreational, and health benefits,” Weinstein said about the arboretum. “Currently, there have been several drafts of a startup and strategic plan, but nothing has been finalized. By letting students see what is at stake, it would be great to raise more awareness on this issue and help provide a little nudge to Administration to officially certify this project!”

In addition to benefiting the SNHU community, the arboretum could be used by the greater Manchester community as a recreational and educational area. Partnerships could develop with Manchester schools wanting to take field trips to the arboretum.

With SNHU’s recent industrial expansion on campus, the arboretum would demonstrate environmental consideration by the university. There are no blasts required to turn a forest into an arboretum. Now students and staff have to let administration know that they want this arboretum on campus

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