SOU named Tree Campus USA

SOU is designated as “Tree Campus USA” for sixth year

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University has earned recognition as a 2019 Tree Campus USA – an honor it’s held since 2014.

Tree Campus USA, an Arbor Day Foundation program started in 2008, honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.

“Communities worldwide are facing issues with air quality, water resources, personal health and well-being, and energy use,” said Lauren Weyers, the program coordinator at the Arbor Day Foundation. “Southern Oregon University is stepping up to do its part … to provide a solution to these global challenges.”

A total of 383 campuses nationwide received the recognition in 2019, but only seven colleges in Oregon were recognized – six universities and one community college. SOU is listed among those seven because it fulfilled Tree Campus USA’s five core standards for effective campus forest management: a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, a dedicated annual expenditure for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and a student service-learning project.

SOU’s Arbor Day is run by the Landscape Services Department, which has ramped up its Arbor Day activities as part of an ongoing campaign to remain a designated Tree Campus. Between 2014 and 2016, Landscape Services organized volunteers to plant 137 large trees and 24,000 plants around campus.

All trees planted at SOU’s Arbor Day celebrations are donated by Plant Oregon, a Talent nursery. SOU offers free t-shirts and lunches to its Arbor Day volunteers. Arbor Day 2020 is on Friday, April 24.

The Arbor Day Foundation is a million-member, nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission of inspiring people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. Tree Campus USA’s colleges donate money to support the Arbor Day Foundation’s Time for Trees initiative, which strives to plant 100 million trees in forests and communities by 2022.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer


SOU Sustainability Council

SOU Sustainability Council Accepting Applications

Southern Oregon University’s Sustainability Council is accepting applications for the 2018-19 academic year. Students, staff and faculty all are welcome to apply.

Those who are interested in serving may visit the Sustainability Council website to learn more about the Council’s charter, mission and goals, and to access an application for membership.

This is an opportunity for members of the SOU community to have a positive impact on campus. Past Council projects include the Farm at SOU, Bee Campus USA, Tree Campus USA and the Climate Action Fund.

Learn more at

SOU is committed to sustainable practices, environmental stewardship and research that advances understanding of local, regional and global environmental issues.

The university broadly defines sustainability as achieving increased well-being for humanity over time through the equitable and sustained use of critical natural capital.

The SOU definition includes sustainability goals set by the U.N. World Commission on Environment and Development (1987 Brundtland Commission), which indicated that sustainable development will “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The university also observes the “economic, social and environmental elements” that the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education incorporates into its definition of sustainability.

SOU receives third Tree Campus USA designation

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University has received recognition for the third straight year as a “Tree Campus USA.” The Arbor Day Foundation honors select U.S. colleges and universities with the Tree Campus designation, based upon management of their urban forests and efforts to engage students and staff in conservation.

Arbor Day 2017 Southern Oregon University

SOU first received the designation for its efforts in 2014, and the 2016 honors were announced last week. The university has ramped up its Arbor Day activities as part of its ongoing campaign to become and remain a designated Tree Campus – 24,000 plants and 173 large trees have been planted on campus by volunteers during the past three annual celebrations, and a five-acre arboretum has been created.
“We have had a combined Arbor Day outreach of over 2,000 volunteers who have participated in everything from tree planting, pollinator garden creation and planting, botanical tours, pruning demonstrations and world-renowned educator presentations,” said Mike Oxendine, SOU’s landscaping, equipment and motor pool superintendent.
All trees planted at SOU’s Arbor Day celebrations have been donated by Plant Oregon, a Talent nursery that specializes in native plants, shrubs and trees. SOU offers free t-shirts to its Arbor Day volunteers, and those interested in participating can find more information on the SOU Landscape facebook page. This year’s Arbor day is on Friday, April 14.
The Arbor Day Foundation created its Tree Campus USA program in 2008. For 2016, 296 campuses nationwide received the recognition – including four universities and one community college in Oregon.
To qualify for the honor, colleges or universities must meet five standards: maintain a tree advisory committee, employee a campus tree-care plan, dedicate funding each year to the campus tree program, observe Arbor Day and engage students through a service-learning project.
According to the Arbor Day Foundation, Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested more than $46.7 million in campus forest management efforts during 2016.
About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University is a medium-sized campus that provides comprehensive educational opportunities with a strong focus on student success and intellectual creativity. Located in vibrant Ashland, Oregon, SOU remains committed to diversity and inclusion for all students on its environmentally sustainable campus. Connected learning programs taught by a host of exceptional faculty provide quality, innovative experiences for students. Visit