More than 20 freshmen at Loyola Marymount University have teamed up with TreePeople, an environmental nonprofit organization, to beautify Westchester Park. Since the beginning of the fall semester, they have adopted the park, planted more than 36 trees and hosted two volunteer events to maintain the trees in the park.
"Everyone in the community has the responsibility to be a steward of the urban environment they live in," said Ryan Allen, tree care manager at TreePeople and liaison to the LMU group. "People can’t wait for the city or some organization to do it. They have to take the initiative and organize the community themselves."
First-year students at LMU participate in Serve L.A., a yearlong project that connects students with community service and nonprofit organizations in Los Angeles. Each freshmen residence hall picks a nonprofit to work with. This year, students from Del Rey North chose to work with TreePeople.
"We wanted to volunteer with an organization that helps people and the environment," said Michelle Nader, a junior sociology major and a student general manager at the Center for Service and Action. "When people get more involved in their communities, they get more attached. If you plant a tree, you want to come back and take care of it and its surrounding environment."