Local Greens Are Better

To Whom It May Concern, This is a letter about my interest of the proposed “revitalization” of the University of Vermont campus. I became aware of the construction plans when I attended the “Greening of UVM” conference in the spring 2004 semester. The University of Vermont is doing a good job of becoming the premier “environmental university” in the country. However, there are a few large opportunities that have been overlooked. The Student Center project on Main Street is a much needed facility for the student body. Although plans for the building have been determined, its content has yet to be announced. The Student Center project must not forget UVM’s mission to educate the student body in every respect. I would hate for the Student Center to become another marketing opportunity for big business.

Rather, it should be an opportunity for students to learn about native Vermont flora by examining plants in an arboretum or learning about living machines while delivering a package at the new Print and Mail Center. Again, these are just suggestions. Possibly, the Student Center could provide an opportunity for small locally owned businesses to sell their merchandise on pushcarts or even lease store space. The Student Center should be a place for the Burlington community and the students to interact. Another consideration which I have thought over for two years is the transformation of University Place into a walking street filled with pushcarts, benches, tables, flora, etc., thus transforming the space into something the students can truly utilize, instead of just providing more parking. It is a chance to create a higher level of social interaction amongst the students and faculty.

Furthermore, University Heights as a walking street will create a perfect segway into the campus green, and will end the occasional dangerous near-collision occurrences. CATS buses could either be rerouted to South Prospect street or allowed to enter University Place. The final thought I have considered is the restoration of the lawn in front of Chittenden, Buckham, and Wills into a native “Natural Area” by having native trees planted, surrounding the area with shrubs and bushes, and even creating a wetland.

The plan is to create a place where the students can learn about Vermont’s natural environment, provide a resource for such student run organizations as The Outing Club, and conserve energy by retaining heat, hindering gusty winds, and providing shade, all while maintaining a large amount of open space for Frisbee. These considerations are once again my own. I would appreciate my thoughts being recognized by the University of Vermont. Most of these suggestions will diversify the upcoming projects and enhance future students perspectives. Sincerely, Hunter Johansson