Celebrating Arbor Day with a Tree Planting and Identification Project

Two students shoveling dirt near tree
Two Holy Cross students place dirt around the newly planted tree.
Holy Cross students and staff gathered on April 27th to plant a tree in celebration of Arbor Day. Every year, the College of the Holy Cross plants commemorative trees to honor some of our community members. These trees join the many others in the campus arboretum. For Arbor Day 2022, one commemorative tree went into the highly visible Stein Courtyard, symbolizing the College’s commitment to ‘caring for our common home.’ While the tree was planted, attendees enjoyed locally baked tree themed cupcakes and talked with sustainability interns about tree management.

tree themed cupcakes

In addition to the tree planting and opportunity to converse about trees, Holy Cross launched a short-term tree identification project. HC community members took photos of trees across campus, tried to identify them, and described their condition. Their observations and photos went onto the iNaturalist app for others to review and exchange thoughts. This project allowed the HC community to act as arborists for a week and get to know the different trees on campus.

Screenshot of iNaturalist App

Holy Cross remains committed to educating our community about trees through the campus arboretum and the annual tree planting event. “It’s nice to see the HC community get excited about trees for a day, and take a moment to engage with the arboretum. It’s special that a wide variety of trees can intersect with campus life in so many ways and connect with specific community members through the dedication process,” said Cathy Liebowitz, director of sustainability.

Sustainability in the Workforce: An Interview with Emma Cronin ‘15

Two female students laying in front of a greenhouse
Two students in front of one of the Holy Cross greenhouses
Emma Cronin graduated with a double major in English and Spanish from Holy Cross in 2015. After graduating, she interned and worked in the Obama Administration as a climate policy agent. Since leaving the White House, she has also gone on to do work at the UN Foundation in the climate sector. I spoke to Emma to learn more about her path to working in sustainability.

Q: How do you think your particular major prepared you for working in the sustainability field?

The education at Holy Cross, being a liberal arts school, is extremely comprehensive. There was a lot of stress put on creating multi-faceted approaches to complex problems, as well as stress placed on the importance of effective communication. Despite my majors not being environmentally focused, there was plenty of preparation done that made me comfortable when I began working in sustainability.

Q: How would you define the term “sustainability?” Has your understanding of what sustainability means changed throughout the course of your career?

I used to think that sustainability was all about individual action because that’s how it is marketed to the masses by big companies and corporations, but since I’ve begun my career, I have seen how it is a much larger issue and policy is needed to control climate change. I believe that climate and sustainability is the big issue of our generation.

Q: How can students become involved in sustainable initiatives at school and in the workplace?

There are tons of ways to get involved with sustainability on campus. Food waste on campus and divestment initiatives are a couple of areas that have been recently active, and you can always get involved in Worcester. My advice would be to do what you can, but don’t feel obligated to do something if you are too busy or don’t really want to.

Q: Did you have any pivotal experiences that made you interested in working toward a more sustainable future in your field?

Working in the White House was certainly a pivotal experience for me in my professional life and has made me more interested in working in sustainability. Those you can meet can and will help shape your path, so be open to meeting new people and having new experiences.

Interview paraphrased and blog post written by Anne Kiernan ’23.

Sustainability in the Workforce: An Interview with Larry Haley ‘72

Three students sit on a bench
Holy Cross students enjoy each other’s company at the Cookies on the Hoval event in March 2021
Larry Haley is a member of the class of 1972 who majored in Theology (current day Religious Studies). After graduating, Larry became a teacher and then a carpenter before attending Boston Architectural College to become an architect. With an interest in sustainable architecture and building housing for the homeless, Larry has rooted himself in building greener spaces in and around Worcester. I spoke with Larry about his time at Holy Cross and how it prepared him for a career in sustainability.

Q: How do you think your particular major prepared you for working in the sustainability field?

A degree in Theology allowed me to explore my interest in religion and literature, which ties into every aspect of life. Creating a culture of teamwork and the ability to work with people that you do not necessarily like is a lesson that carries into everything I do, including professional work. We are in church at every moment, and my education has taught me that life itself is a religion that is practiced at all moments.

Q: How can students become involved in sustainable initiatives in college and in the workplace?

Don’t be afraid to speak up, it is never too early to start networking. Once you make a few connections, the people you want to speak and work with will come to you. Networking can be as simple as emailing someone in the field or starting a conversation, don’t be intimidated to reach out.

Q: What advice would you give to a student who is interested in working in sustainability but is worried about job stability, pay, etc.?

The best job opportunities come from building relationships and networking in the field that you are interested in. At the end of the day, money isn’t what will make you happy and isn’t everything. I’ve worked in carpentry which is a blue-collar job and architecture which is a white-collar occupation, and both have brought me joy and satisfaction.

Q: If a student wanted to get involved in your field, is there an organization, association, or group they could join?

You’re only disconnected if you want to be. Get involved in Worcester or at home at local organizations and nonprofits. I also recommend doing more reading on topics that interest you, one good book recommendation for learning more about sustainability is Worldchanging by Alex Steffen.

Interview paraphrased and blog post written by Anne Kiernan ’23.

Sustainability in the Workforce: An Interview with Rebecca Beaulieu ‘18

A few Holy Cross students planting seedlings in a garden bed
Holy Cross students participating in Working for Worcester 2021
Rebecca Beaulieu graduated in 2018 with a degree in English and a minor in Environmental Studies. After graduating, Rebecca participated in a year of Americorps where she taught at a high school in Boston. She is currently the director of communications and youth program organizer at 350 New Hampshire, a non-profit organization advocating for the expansion of reusable energy and an end to the use of fossil fuels. I spoke with Rebecca about how her Holy Cross experience prepared her for her career.

Q: What was your major at HC? How do you think your particular major prepared you for working in the sustainability field?

Majoring in english helped me become a more effective communicator, which has been great because communicating is a large aspect of my job. Minoring in environmental studies provided me with a broader understanding of climate issues and the need for change in how we approach sustainable practices.

Q: In what ways do you think a liberal arts education has benefited you in your career? In what ways has it (if any) impeded you?

Overall, I think a liberal arts education is the best way to become a well-rounded professional upon graduating. I do wish that there was more emphasis on learning about the tangible effects of climate change during my time at Holy Cross, such as the effects of climate change on farming and the economy. I think that integrating more social justice and humanities based information into the curriculum would be beneficial.

Q: How would you define the term “sustainability?” Has your understanding of what sustainability means changed throughout the course of your career?

I think that a liberal arts education has helped me to look at the bigger picture, which is important in sustainability. It is not the consumer’s responsibility to fix climate change through individual action, which is an emerging idea in sustainability that has become more accepted recently.

Q: How do you see sustainability impacting your daily life?

While individual action can only go so far, I still try to do my best to buy less from places like Amazon and watch my utility usage in my apartment. The best thing an individual can really do to positively impact sustainability is support the right policies that make you feel good and watch where your money is being invested (some banks and large corporations support fossil fuels). That’s where I see sustainability most impacting my day to day life.

Interview paraphrased and blog post written by Anne Kiernan ’23.