The Diversity Tree

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
The Diversity Location on Campus Map

Map shows (in green) approximately where the Diversity Tree will be located. (Map provided by TMCC Facilities Operations and Capital Planning.)

"It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength," wrote Maya Angelou, American writer, poet, and civil rights activist.

At Truckee Meadows Community College, a special tree will be planted in the Plaza to recognize that a diverse environment is stronger, and a diverse human community is more resilient.

“Part-time Instructor Jon Reddick Lau had a great idea last fall to plant a diversity tree that represents biodiversity, and he talked to his department chair about making the idea a part of his course,” said YeVonne Allen, Program Manager of Equity and Inclusion.

Biology Department Chair, Laura Briggs, PhD, approved the request, and Reddick Lau wrote the concept into his curriculum for Spring Semester.

“The Biology 100 students researched biodiversity in Northern Nevada and what trees best survive here,” she added. “Jon worked with Dave Murray in Facilities Operations and Capital Planning to find a good location for the tree. They also collaborated with the TMCC Diversity Committee, a group with about 20 members—Jon is on the committee.”

  • When: Thursday, April 26, 2–3 p.m.
  • Where: TMCC Dandini Campus Plaza grassy area near the accessibility ramp, 7000 Dandini Blvd.

The Diversity Tree is a Scarlet Hawthorn.

Moana Nursery offered a 30 percent discount on the cost of the tree. Under the tree’s canopy there will be a small plaque mounted on a rock donated by Rail City Garden Center.

The Resilience Approach

The idea of resilience being tied to biodiversity and social, ethnic and cultural diversity caught on fast.

“It’s inspiring that the TMCC community is trying to tie diversity into so many facets of the campus,” she said. “The tree will be an actual physical structure that’s representative of the resilience approach to diversity. It’s a pretty cool thing that’s happening, it’s really happening.”

The event also highlights one of the ways that faculty members are involved in college life outside of the classroom.

“It’s a testament to our part-time faculty members—he’s so dedicated to being this involved with the campus,” Allen said.

Reddick Lau composed a lyrical saying for the historical event of planting the Diversity Tree:

"The resilience of life is inextricably bound to the diversity of life. The resilience of our community is inextricably bound to the social, cultural, and ethnic diversity of our community. Join us in celebrating the diversity of our community by increasing the diversity of life on our campus."

The event will include the following:

  • Opening remarks by Allen and Reddick Lau
  • Grounds crew and students planting the tree together
  • Observer comments and closing remarks by Allen

For more information about the Diversity Tree, please contact the Equity, Inclusion and Sustainability Office at 775-673-7027, and for the Biology Department, call 775-673-8251.