The “gum tree” located at SEMO’s main campus on the hill above the Towers residence halls was heavily damaged in a storm at the end of May and was subsequently removed. The University recently replaced it after creating a crowd funding website which has so far raised $1850 from 52 donors.
I feel that is worth repeating.
The University raised nearly $2000 to replace a tree. One tree.
I suppose it’s fine that they went to the trouble of planting a new tree and managed to find alums and other interested parties willing to foot the bill. Perhaps some of the graduates are wistful about the gallons of DNA that have been deposited over the years on the bark of the previous trees via the assorted blobs of Wrigley’s, Dubble Bubble, Bazooka and Big League Chew left behind by students after huffing their way to the top of Cardiac Hill.
Personally, I think it’s kind of disgusting and a little un-American. Everyone knows gum should be thrown on the sidewalk to be stepped on by the next poor schlub walking by, not stuck to the bark of a poor, defenseless tree.
I’m halfway surprised that the DNA cocktail left behind at this location hasn’t turned the tree into some kind of mutant, like Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. Or perhaps that is what really happened, and the two previous “gum trees” weren’t damaged by storms as we’ve been led to believe, but in fact just walked off, caught the W.I.N.G.S. shuttle out to Seimer’s Drive and are now living happily in a secluded hollow somewhere in Bollinger County.
But, I digress.
This blog is not to discuss the pros and cons of a particularly nasty form of littering or if SEMO is covering up the existence of sentient trees, but to review the amount of money raised and contemplate just how exactly it is being spent.
Allow me to repeat that amount again. One thousand eight hundred and fifty dollars
That’s a lot to replace a single tree.
While I am no expert, I do know a little about landscaping. I figure that the replacement tree could not have cost more than $300 and that’s if the University bought one of those free-range, artisan-grown varieties that have been pampered their entire life in 100% organic soil and talked to on a daily basis by a Buddhist tree whisperer (“You are a good tree, a very good tree, a tree that is destined for greatness. Ooommmmmmmmm!”)
So what does the University do with the remaining $1550? Well, there is the cost of installation. Trees don’t just plant themselves. Actually, let me re-phrase that. Trees don't just plant themselves exactly where we want them to grow. I’ve had plenty of baby trees sprout voluntarily in my yard, but never in a place I actually wanted them to grow. Let’s figure $100 for the cost of labor to plant the tree.
And we shouldn’t forget a plaque. There has to be a plaque, right? How else would visitors to the campus know that this sapling is an iconic part of the University’s history and not some twisted art exhibit of spittle infused blobs of rubber plastered on a random tree? The plaque can’t be a chintzy one either. I’m guessing it has to cost at least $300, which would still leave about $1250 worth of donations.
I think the remaining monies should be stashed in an account to be used to pay the time of two guys from facilities to hang on to the tree whenever the wind is projected to blow higher than 40 miles per hour.
Three if the gusts are expected to top 60 MPH.
Or if the tree becomes sentient and tries to walk off, we may need to pay for four guys.
No matter what your opinion is about this tree, these donations have shown that there is a lot of love between some alums and the DNA repository at the top of Cardiac Hill. There is so much love that the University really needs to set up a web-cam with appropriate lighting so world-wide fans of the tree can witness gum being slapped on it 24 hours a day. Factoring in the camera, lighting, electrical work and a fiber optic connection to the Internet, I figure this will cost another $9786.23.
Please give, and give generously.
And do it quickly, before the tree walks off again.