A devastating storm in Phoenix, Arizona last September wiped out much of one community’s college campus and wildlife. Now, thanks to the kind efforts and quick thinking of one Random Acts supporter, that community is rebuilding, one tree at a time.
“During the storm, there was a lot of damage done to the landscape of my school, Thunderbird School of Global Management,” wrote supporter Thaedra Brondum in February. “We lost 81 trees, 11 large cacti, and had an additional 44 trees damaged by this storm. Quite a few of the trees lost during that storm were over 70 years old. Many, if not all, of the damaged trees will likely need to be removed or greatly cut back for security purposes. The trees landed on and damaged vehicles, buildings, roadways, and power lines during the storm.”
Prior to reaching out to Random Acts, Thaedra and her classmates had been busily involved with massive cleanup efforts and repairing what facilities and landscaping they could — mush of which had to ultimately be removed due to the extent of the damage.
“Our campus is a shell of what it used to be,” wrote Thaedra. “In many places, it looks bare.”
Concerns over the lack of greenery surrounding the campus were voiced in relief effort meetings as well, and Thaedra and her fellow student and community volunteers — 60 percent of whom are non-U.S. citizens — decided to take matters into their own hands by fundraising to purchase new trees and plant life to place around the school. Reaching out to the school’s Facility Services, Thaedra was able to obtain an estimate on tree replacement costs and began fundraising.
After raising a large sum through several student-run events and donation drives, she and the team of volunteers realized they would need a little extra help if they were going to purchase the mature, native-Arizonan Ironwood tree (which was over $1,000 alone) and filled out an official Random Acts Act Proposal form to bridge the gap in funding.
With their approved funds, Thaedra and her peers were able to pick up not only the Ironwood tree, but a Hong Kong Orchid tree as well. The generous staff of the Whitfill Nursery in North Phoenix went above and beyond the call to kindness by donating a third plant, a 15-gallon Blue Agave cactus, for the campus as well.
Finally, after preparations for delivery, planting, and maintenance were taken care of, reported Thaedra, the trees were planted on May 4, 2015.
“The project went very well,” she wrote afterward. “It was slow to start but with a few big donors, Random Acts included, it helped make a difference.”
The Thunderbird School of Global Management isn’t fully recovered yet, of course. But with a little hard work from a team of volunteers willing to get their hands in the dirt, it is, without a doubt, well on its way.