Arbor Day Foundation Names LSU a Tree Campus USA

In early 2013, the national Arbor Day Foundation named LSU a Tree Campus USA for the first time.

Tree Campus USA was created in 2008 to honor universities and colleges for effective management of campus forests and engaging staff and students in conservation goals.

“Achieving recognition as a Tree Campus USA is an important component in the overall management of the urban forest at LSU,” Assistant director of LSU Landscape Services Fred Fellner, PhD, said. “The size and value of the campus forest, both in literal and perceptive terms, is enormous. The trees are recognized world over and are a signature element at LSU.”

Since 1993, donors’ support of the LSU Foundation’s Endow an Oak program has provided immediate and long-term funding for the care of LSU’s renowned urban forest.

Josh Anders and brothers Jason and Judd, all LSU graduates, recently endowed an oak in memory of their grandmother, Juanita “Neet” Crawford, a Louisiana conservationist.

Anders shared why the gift is meaningful to his family, explaining, “My brothers and I will always consider the oaks on LSU’s campus a timeless, integral part of the university. Being able to invest in the sustainability of LSU’s historic oaks has been a great experience for my family.”

Fellner said the program was a valuable feature when applying for LSU as a Tree Campus USA. “Indeed, it was the principal driver in data collection and tree identification over the past many years that made our application process easier,” he said. “This was an unexpected benefit of the endowment program, could not be anticipated at its inception, and was truly

LSU achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, dedicating annual expenditutres toward trees, having a campus tree-care plan, and hosting an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning projects.

LSU’s campus is home to roughly 1,200 oak trees, and they are as much a part of the university as are its students, faculty, staff and historic buildings.

Gifts of any amount may be made to the Foundation’s Endow an Oak program to support the general care and maintenance of LSU’s most treasured natural “residents.” An LSU oak can be endowed for a gift of $4,000, of which $2,000 builds the oak endowment to provide perpetual support and $2,000 can be used immediately by LSU’s arbor management team.

Published in Cornerstone Summer and Fall 2013.


A Dog’s Chance

From the night 10 years ago when David Blank rescued her and her sister from the side of the road, Peanut has been a happy and playful dog. Even after being home alone when her house caught on fire. Even after jumping from the second floor balcony as soon as her leash burned through. Even after sustaining kidney failure, edema and major burns covering her head and back. Peanut is happy.

Peanut was first treated at White Oak Animal Hospital, her usual veterinary clinic, which suggested the Blanks take Peanut to the LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital. One of the treatments Peanut underwent was continuous renal replacement therapy (similar to dialysis); LSU is one among only 10 places in the U.S. to offer this treatment for animals. The research and resources at LSU enabled doctors to heal Peanut in remarkable time.

This year marks the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine’s 40th. To celebrate the special anniversary, the school has launched a $5 million fundraising plan; the “Above and Beyond Capital Challenge” will augment three key programs: advancing cures for cancer, biomedical research, and companion animal health facilities equipment and enhancements.

Ginger Guttner, LSU SVM director of public relations, said the challenge “represents our future, our mission and our service to the community.”
Funding for these programs is what enables victories like Peanut’s. Through ICU, a “wound VAC” (i.e., a sterile infection vacuum) and the constant care of doctors and students, Peanut has bounced back.

“She’s back to her old self,” Blank said with a thankful smile.

Published in Cornerstone Summer and Fall 2013.

Family Matters

Brothers Tim and Daniel Banks were relaxing at home, with dinner on the stove, when they heard a loud “bang.” They rushed to the kitchen, only to see it engulfed in flames.

The two LSU students hurried to round up their four foster animals and alert neighbors in their duplex. A crew of firemen arrived in five minutes, Tim said, adding, “But, that was pretty much all it took.”

The brothers lost everything, but friends, neighbors and even strangers rallied to help. “The money was nice,” Tim shared, “but it was also nice that people were there to help us out whenever it actually did happen.”

The LSU Family Association was among the first donors to step up.

The organization initiated the Student Life Emergency Support Fund last fall in its semi-annual meeting. The association, dedicated to helping families with their students’ transitions to LSU, offers opportunities for family members to partner with the university during their students’ time at LSU.

Family Association Council co-chairs Juan and Joanne Carrillo led the effort to support students who are experiencing crises. Joanne explained, “We’ve committed to a 24-hour turnaround response to those applicants, because it is an emergency, and they need to knowright away.”

While living in Dubai, Juan and Joanne sent two sons to LSU. Joanne said, “I have boys, and boys are not good communicators. Through the Family Association, from a distance, I could have access to information I needed, but also I was invited to share what was important to me as parent.”

The Carrillos were asked to chair the council in early 2011, shortly after moving back to Baton Rouge. Since then, the couple has worked to enhance existing programs and innovate with new programs.

Whether the effort is as needed as the Student Life Emergency Support Fund, or as much fun as the Family Weekend dessert social under the Campanile, the Family Association is committed to serving the university with initiatives to benefit student life.

Tim said the fire in October was more stressful than he could believe, sharing, “You don’t have anything. You don’t have any money. You don’t have anywhere to go. At the same time, you’re taking classes and you’re not gonna drop out.”

Contributions like the one Tim and Daniel received from the Student Life Emergency Support Fund have enabled them to find a new home and return to a sense of normalcy.

Published in Cornerstone Summer and Fall 2013.