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Tree donation boosts green efforts

trees donated by TXU Energy

The first of 100 trees donated through TXU Energy’s Committed to Community Growth program was planted in June south of Science Hall.


ome may think a modern-day Johnny Appleseed visited UT Arlington earlier this year, thanks to the addition of 100 trees around campus. Instead, the University owes gratitude to TXU Energy and its Committed to Community Growth program.

A gift through the School of Social Work, the donation was spearheaded by Kelli Rod, TXU Energy vice president of community relations and a member of the School of Social Work Dean’s Advisory Council. She joined the council in 2008 after being impressed by the school’s graduates.

“Throughout North Texas I have seen graduates doing a remarkable job at social service agencies that distribute from TXU Energy’s assistance program for at-risk families,” said Rod, a former adjunct professor in the College of Business Administration. “It’s an honor to be affiliated with UT Arlington and its social work program.”

While walking the campus one day with social work Development Director Donna Pope, Rod noted the beauty all around and began thinking of ways TXU Energy could offer its assistance. She contacted state Sen. Chris Harris and state Rep. Diane Patrick and received strong support from the lawmakers for the tree donation.

“We are grateful for the living donation given by TXU Energy in support of the University’s sustainability and greening efforts,” Pope said. “It’s something that benefits not only UT Arlington but everyone on the planet.”

The first tree was planted in June just south of Science Hall, with others planted next to Lipscomb Hall and elsewhere on campus. Varieties include the desert willow, red oak, bur oak, bald cypress, lacebark elm and chinquapin oak.

TXU Energy also underwrote the School of Social Work’s annual Night of Excellence with $5,000 and donated an additional $5,000 for the school’s honored faculty endowment fund. The company’s Committed to Community Growth program donates 10- to 30-gallon trees as part of its go-green focus. More than 7,000 trees are grown annually at the TXU Energy urban tree farm, which works in partnership with the Texas Tree Farm of Dallas, the largest nonprofit urban tree farm in the nation.

The UT Arlington gift is TXU Energy’s largest so far.

— Becky Purvis

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