LSU Foundation unveils permanent Christmas tree – LSU The Reveille

Students passing in front of the Student Union may notice a new addition to the landscape—the University’s new permanent Christmas tree.

The University planted the 30-foot Little Gem Magnolia tree on Sept. 25, and held a dedication Oct. 1 at the tree’s location near Free Speech Plaza, according to a University news release.

The University used to import a pre-cut tree to campus and set up in front of the Memorial Tower.

Undecided freshman Darby Schoenfield is new to the University’s holiday festivities, but she is excited to see how the University prepares for the holidays, she said.

LSU Foundation’s Campus Beautification Fund financed the tree with direct donations and purchases of the organization’s annual LSU ornament, said Sara Crow, LSU Foundation director of communications and donor relations.

Crow said the organization set up the Campus Beautification Fund to provide financial support for beautification projects on campus where state funds were not available. The fund also supports the University’s Spring Greening Day.

LSU Foundation began selling the $20 LSU ornament in 2009 to add to the fund, and ornament buyers over the years led to purchasing the new tree, Crow said.

“The LSU Foundation is excited to be a part of the project because it is a unique opportunity for our donors or people who have purchased the LSU ornament to be a part of a campus beautification project that the entire LSU community will enjoy,” Crow said. “That one tree represents a lot of people who made contributions to make that happen.”

According to the news release, the University worked to decrease environmental and financial costs of having a tree cut down and transported to campus since lighting the first tree in 1995.

The new living tree helps eliminate carbon emissions used in transit, said Sarah Temple, manager of campus sustainability. It also helps remove carbon dioxide from campus air.

“I see the living tree as sort of a symbol of our efforts to reduce energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions,” Temple said. “In researching it, we found that a single 30-foot tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, and can sequester one ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old.”

Marketing junior Sarah Jackson said she values sustainability because some fuel supplies are depleting.

“It’s a small thing, but I think it will help in a small way,” Jackson said.

Construction management freshman Clayton Guillory said he has no strong sentiments toward the new tree, but thinks it is a good move forward.

The annual LSU Holiday Spectacular, which includes the lighting of the tree, celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. It will be held Dec. 2 in the Student Union.

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