By Ben Longnecker, Contributor
When students returned to campus after winter break, many began to comment on the obvious change to Furman’s aesthetics: the trees in front of the library had been removed.
In fact, trees that had been growing on Furman’s campus for the past 40-50 years are in the process of being slowly and systematically removed. The motive behind this new switch is due largely to the fact that the old trees have, in essence, outlived their current lifespan and have begun to decay. This decay has resulted in the loss of branches causing potentially dangerous situations to students, faculty, staff and visitors at Furman.
Is this a big deal? No, I highly doubt that any person’s outlook at Furman will be positively or negatively affected in the slightest bit. So then the real question precipitates: why do some people think this switch matters?
Surely, not a single critic of the tree exchange can argue that a specific visual component of Furman University’s campus should be taken more into consideration than a student’s well-being. Possibly, it is the idea of always having the trees in the background throughout a student’s experience at Furman that makes them so hard to let go.
Although the old trees may have felt homey to the average student, their connection to almost any student on this campus is minimal at best. Think back to you favorite memory on Furman’s mall; was it the trees that made the memory so special?
Probably not. Most likely, it is the school, environment and the people around you that make your memories at Furman University so special, not a tree.
For anyone to say that Furman has now lost something is mistakenly thinking that a tree’s purpose was something other than to be visually beautiful for the students to enjoy. Now that the trees are being replaced, the students are simply being inconvenienced.
The new trees are expected to be just as appealing as the old trees except they will live up to 200 years. If global warming has not completely decimated our planet by then, imagine the happiness on your great-great-great grandchild’s face when they realize how remarkable it is that their great-great-great grandparent saw the inception of these wonderful trees.
You have two options: you can be upset that the memories of the old trees will eventually disappear from the minds of anyone who has ever seen them, or be excited at the future of these new trees and the plethora of students who will have the opportunity to bask in their beauty even after you die.
Remember, although the trees are gone, Furman is still here.