Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 56.54
Liaison Elaine Durr
Submission Date Feb. 19, 2020

STARS v2.2

Elon University
IN-47: Innovation A

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Kelly Harer
Associate Director of Sustainability for Education and Outreach
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Graduation Oak Saplings

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:
Elon University graduating seniors have been given an oak sapling at the end of Commencement every year since 1992. In 2019, this tradition was expanded to graduate programs. In total, 32,349 saplings have been distributed over the past 27 years. In 2000, the university started giving undergraduate students an acorn at New Student Convocation. These two traditions are a unique way to symbolize and remind students of their growth in their time at Elon. The saplings symbolize students’ growth at Elon and their continued development as lifelong learners, and it also ties to the university’s name which means “oak” in Hebrew.
Many students plant their saplings, whether it is in their own back yard, at their parents’ house, or somewhere else. In 2018, Elon's Office of Alumni Engagement began mapping the sapling locations and encouraging alumni to submit their saplings’ locations. Alumni can request a replacement sapling should theirs die. In 2017, Elon created an international grove on campus for international students who are unable to take their saplings back to their home country. The international grove is a way for these students to mark their legacy on Elon’s campus. There are currently 37 trees planted in the international grove.
While the carbon sequestration value of these trees is unknown and does not impact Elon's greenhouse gas emissions inventory, this long-time tradition is certainly having a positive environmental impact that will endure as the saplings already planted continue to grow and more Elon graduates receive and plant their saplings.

Elon University Sapling Map: https://www.elon.edu/u/alumni/oak-trees/

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :

The website URL where information about the innovation is available :

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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