Seniors (from left) Viet Nguyen, Emely Flores, Ryan Schulteis, Sydney Lemos, T.J. Graber and Trista Dugan are leading an effort to raise funds for a new tree on campus.
For senior Sydney Lemos, being a student at Pittsburg State has been about more than earning a degree. It’s become a way of life, and it’s one she’s not quite ready to leave.
“I’m already having separation anxiety thinking about graduating,” Lemos said. “Pitt State has been my home for four years. My daily routine, in one way or another, involves Pitt State. While I am excited to graduate, I’m also sad for that daily routine to change. I’m going to miss this place.”
While Lemos and her fellow seniors are just months away from completing their university studies, they are already making plans to give back to the place they’ve called home for the past four years.
Lemos is among a group of seniors that is raising funds to plant a tree outside of the Overman Student Center. The tree, she said, will symbolize the growth of the seniors during their years on campus, and also the growth of campus itself during their university days.
“We seniors have experienced a lot of change during our time on campus,” she said. “We’ve seen the Bicknell Center and Plaster Center added to campus, the Overman Student Center was renovated and expanded, and campus became tobacco-free. How many classes can say that they got to see the university expand so rapidly before their very eyes like we did?”
The seniors hope to raise $2,000 for the tree and an accompanying plaque that will list all of the new additions to Pittsburg State during their time on campus.
“These new additions were just ideas and plans four or five years ago when we were freshmen, and yet we got the privilege to watch them all become a reality,” said senior Emely Flores. “It’s been an exciting time to be a Gorilla.”
Senior Viet Nguyen said he hopes to return to campus years from now to see the tree’s growth.
“I think the tree will serve as motivation for us to keep growing as people, just as the tree will keep growing,” he said. “Plus, it will be a nice reminder of our time here at Pitt State.”
Lemos said the idea for senior gift came from a desire to “give back” to the university.
“PSU has given us so much and will play a vital role in our future career success,” she said. “We definitely want to give back in some way and just say ‘thank you’ to this place that has been so good to all of us.”
The seniors have set up an online fundraising campaign through the university’s Pitt Power program. For more info and to donate to their cause, visit http://giveto.pittstate.edu/crowdfunding/senior-class-gift-2016.
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