While a notable amount of students spent their spring break in Miami, Punta Cana, or another tropical location, those who remained on campus for the week were the first to witness the removal of decaying trees outside the Hoeing and Gilbert residence halls. For the students who stayed for break, the sound of the chainsaw and banging of machinery likely did not go unnoticed. 

As mentioned in an email that students received from the Provost’s Office, the three large remaining tree stumps mark where the Greenbaum Center for Jewish Life, the Catholic Newman Center Building, and the Harga Flower Center are to be built. As detailed by the Campus Times on Feb. 19, the Interfaith Chapel will no longer be the only religious building on campus.

“The construction of the religious buildings was planned out very well, and these plots will definitely be big enough to fit all of them,” one student said.

A landscaper added, “With the trees decaying, we really had to take advantage of what this space had to offer.”

The funds for the construction of the buildings were raised by alumni — David Greenbaum spearheaded the effort towards funding the Center for Jewish Life, and Paul (of salad dressing fame) Newman’s will had a clause towards establishing the Catholic Newman Center Building. Little do students know, however, that the legacy ancestors of Greenbaum and Newman planted these trees themselves back in the day.

“Talk about a full circle moment,” the landscaper said.

The Harga Flower Center, on the other hand, has added their stamp on the construction project in the name of “interfaith.” However, documentation of funding has ceased to enter the public domain.

According to one student, she is glad that this project has not received any backlash. “I’m happy there is no debate over this matter and that UR can go forward with prioritizing the construction.”

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