Graduates of Avans receive tree as gift in new forest

GreenOffice students Lisa Heyman and Nick den Bol of Avans had a big dream – to give a tree as a gift to all graduating students and thus create a new forest. The aim is to help restore nature and, in the long term, to make Avans education CO2-neutral. The dream did not stop there.

Lisa and Nick teamed up with the Life Terra foundation, the Van Gogh National Park (currently under development), Brabants Landschap, and the Municipality of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, and this week, the first 4,000 graduates will receivetheir graduation trees. During the next few years, the newly planted forest will grow to 100,000 trees.

Of course, no trees will be handed out during the ‘drive-through’ graduation ceremonies that will take place at Maaspoort in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and the ice rink in Breda, among other places. The trees will be well cared for until Life Terra plants them in November together with the alumni at a site in the Van Gogh National Park, which stretches from Breda to Helmond. The various species of trees will be carefully selected in a way that reflects the needs of the surrounding area in terms of promoting biodiversity.

Symbol of growth

“We have been pleasantly surprised by the many positive responses we are receiving from Avans and fellow students,” say Nick and Lisa. “Solidary and sustainability are really key values here. The Graduation Tree is a gift with a positive impact on the climate. For example, the trees contribute to making Avans education CO2-neutral in due course and provide cooling the earth, and the forest has a positive effect on biodiversity. The Graduation Tree symbolises the development that students experience at Avans - a process that of course continues after their studies.”

The outgoing president of Avans and official patron of the new forest, Paul Rüpp, says, “This admirable student initiative is just the first of the initiatives we want to develop in the next few years to create a robust forest and to generate greater biodiversity. It fits in with our sustainability aims and our social responsibility. It’s fantastic that the idea originated from our students themselves.”

Tree-planting ceremony for alumni in November

All graduates are warmly invited to plant -and tag their own adopted tree during the alumni tree-planting ceremony in November. Using the GPS coordinates they receive, they can track the growth of the planted tree over the years on the Life Terra app.

Partnership with Life Terra

Life Terra’s mission is to plant 500 million trees in Europe over the next five years, working towards a sustainable future for us all. Through this students’ initiative, Avans University of Applied Sciences is making an active contribution towards this ambition.