One of the most historic and proud residential colleges found on Grounds here at the University of Virginia is the Hereford Residential College. The goals of first building this residential college was to provide social and intellectual programming while also promoting a deep notion of community. Hereford opened in 1992 as the University’s second-ever residential college. Its design was intended to emulate a modern version of Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village plan. Being a resident of Hereford myself, I have observed how similar the community is to that of the one on the lawn. The scenic view and the untamed nature around the residential college is absolutely astonishing especially because it sits on top of Observatory Hill overlooking the mountainous terrain beyond.
Embedded in the middle of the five buildings of Hereford is an acre of lawn that acts as the center of the community where you can find picnic tables and hammocks. Now that the weather has started to take a turn in favor of spring, students have started to frequently visit this spot whether it is to study, hangout with friends, or just soaking up the bright rays of the sun. The great thing about this area is that it is lined with trees that so nicely drape over some of the hammocks that are present. These trees provide shade over the hammocks which makes it extra relaxing and comfortable for the people using them. The trees themselves provide a feeling of comfort and wholesomeness especially when you are nestled deep within them while laying on a hammock, sitting on the grass, or tossing a football around with others. Without the trees, the space would feel really empty and there would definitely be something missing in the thick of it all.
Hereford Residents making use of the hammocks and picnic tables under the trees.
In a recent study published by the journal Environmental Pollution, the researchers found that people who lived around more trees relative to people who lived in dense cities, tended to live longer. The study found that “trees prevented 850 human deaths and 670,000 cases of acute respiratory symptoms in 2010 alone”. When a significant area of trees is removed from a population, air pollutants begin to rise in the environment because the trees had acted as a filter in a way to intercept these pollutants. The study concluded that trees serve a more impactful use when they are in urban areas, rather than rural ones, because of the closeness of proximity to people. Everyday we take the trees and forests around us for granted without realizing how much importance they have by removing the potential air pollution that could be present without them.
Post by Garrick Sin