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Tree-planting day for recent graduates first step towards a real VU forest

27 March 2023
A tree of your own as a graduation present: the most recent group of law and medicine alumni received this special honour. On 10 March, alumni and staff of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam gave 725 saplings a new home in Het Goois Natuurreservaat. A special sustainability campaign in collaboration with Sustainability Office VU and Green Office VU.

After a warm welcome from Delia de Vreeze, director of the Department of University Relations & Fundraising, organisation LifeTerra and the landowner, the warmly packed attendees enthusiastically took up the shovel to plant five different species of trees: blackthorn, hawthorn, hazel, pedunculate oak and buckthorn. Tree species that contribute to the rejuvenation and revitalisation of the existing forest in Het Goois Natuurreservaat.

The special sustainability action stemmed from an idea of student-led sustainability initiative Green Office VU, made possible by Sustainability Office VU. Planting different types of trees strengthens the overall biodiversity of the area, which thus becomes more resilient to diseases, pests and rising temperatures. In this way the VU hopes, together with its alumni, to make existing forests more resilient for the future.

The young trees also represent a symbolic value. Like the trees planted, alumni continue to grow but their roots are at VU Amsterdam. They are also forever part of the VU community. The VU is now in talks with the municipality of Amsterdam about the ultimate goal: realisation of a real VU Amsterdam forest closer to the university campus.

It was a day in all weathers, and at the same time a great success to which the fulfilled participants raised their glasses during the celebratory drinks afterwards. As one of the alumni said, "With literally some feet (and hands) in the earth, a lasting memory of my time as a student was planted. A nice memento that comes from from a good initiative!"

Click here to see where our trees are planted.