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Invent the futureby saving the past

I’ve been a lifelong supporter of Virginia Tech as graduate, faculty member and Hokie parent. I grew up on campus.

For recruitment purposes, Tech needs a practice facility near the stadium. Tech also should value its rare ecosystem. We could boast of a powerhouse team and old-growth woods on campus.

Tech’s slogan is “invent the future.” In fact, it has. In Tech’s long-range plan, Stadium Woods remains, with the facility nearby.

Carving this three-acre building site from the hillside would require excavating 30 feet down, killing half of these irreplaceable trees. The rest would die slowly. Some were mature during the American Revolution. They survived the Civil War and the savage post-war clear-cutting of Appalachia.

The Arbor Day Foundation has named Tech a Tree Campus USA, and Tech’s online sustainability portal announces commendable energy conservation and a major solar panel system. What happens to the Tree Campus when its rare forest comes down?

The Faculty Senate, Arboretum Committee, Army ROTC and Student Government all support these trees. It’s not just tree huggers vs. football. Many football fans also wish to preserve the woods. Support football and God’s creation. Invent the future. Save the living, breathing past.

BETTY HAHN

BLACKSBURG

Whom doesVirginia Tech serve?

I have become increasingly concerned about the influence that athletics are having in the Stadium Woods controversy. Athletics are important and bring in money, but they should not be put above education. The university motto is “That I May Serve,” but the question is, “serve whom?”

Will Virginia Tech serve football, or will it serve future generations by promoting education, preservation and responsible management? We all love Hokie football and want to win a national championship, but that is not the overall mission of the university.

First and foremost, Tech is a land grant university that is, supposedly, committed to learning, discovery and engagement. It saddens me to think that football would be more important than these commitments.

Tech has the opportunity to preserve something that sets it apart from every other college in the nation. National championships come and go, but old-growth forests like we have do not. This is an irreplaceable treasure, one that can last for generations, far beyond the fame that football can bring.

Please invest, not just in athletics, but in the future of all Hokies, Virginians and Americans by saving Stadium Woods.

ELIZABETH VICTORY

RADFORD

Facility planis short-sighted

Stadium Woods is a unique jewel on the central campus that, once gone, will never come again. We need to hold open all possible future use and enjoyment of this resource, much of which we cannot even imagine at the present time. Particularly in this day and age of unprecedented global change, we simply cannot afford to make these types of irreversible decisions based on immediately apparent needs.

This debate is not painting a pretty picture of our campus. Besides suggesting that some of us have our values in the wrong place with regard to environmental issues, it is also turning into a huge time sink for some of our most productive faculty and staff.

I have had season tickets in the west stands for 15 years. The woods are a lovely backdrop to the goings-on in the stadium each fall. I’d wager that many of my fellow football fans would be very sad to see the living orange and maroon backdrop replaced with more concrete and steel.

BRENDA WINKEL

Virginia Tech Department of Biological Sciences

BLACKSBURG

Stadium Woods debateembarrasses Tech

I would like to add my voice in protest against Virginia Tech’s proposed athletic practice facility. I am horrified that an educational institution would not only prostitute itself to the interests of football, but that it would destroy an irreplaceable environmental heritage.

Whatever financial gain the advocates of the stadium might foresee will be lost in the quality of students applying to Tech. I can’t imagine any student of conscience, intelligence or sophistication ever wishing to be associated with such an institution. Moreover, it would shame the alumni and faculty and become a strike against graduates seeking employment.

I have forwarded the Save Stadium Woods material and website to everyone I know all over the country. It is a sad reflection on the values of Virginia and the United States as a whole.

CANDRA BRYSON

ROANOKE

Conserve Tech’sStadium Woods

I respectfully urge President Charles Steger and the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors not to yield to anyone in the university community who wants to build an indoor football practice facility within the magnificent place called Stadium Woods.

The ancient white oaks in the woods are majestic campus residents. Many were mere seedlings in the 17th century. Their natural life cycle predicts that many could still be standing in the year 2400. Primeval stands of this species and size are exceedingly rare, and they support unique, interdependent microenvironments.

The woods form an irreplaceable resource on public land. Tech might claim a narrow legal right to cut them down, but it doesn’t have the moral authority for such destruction. Removal of the oaks likely would cause irreparable environmental damage well beyond the immediate space they once occupied.

To be worthy of its name, the university must promote a broader range of values than revenue sports, in this case husbandry of its unique biotic environments and the practical virtues of sustainability.

The university should take a truly principled stand and terminate this bad idea immediately. I hope Steger will provide the leadership he is positioned to offer.

CHARLES GOOD

BLACKSBURG

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