The fall season, like most of 2020, has been a confluence of conflicting events. Earlier in the year, once the city of Philadelphia issued stay-at-home orders to try to stem the spread of COVID-19, numerous departments and centers convened to quickly, effectively, and safely move out on-campus students from Penn housing. Lecture halls and most labs shut their doors, too—though the University has gradually reopened some of its facilities—with only essential workers on campus.
The fall semester began much like spring semester ended—with few students returning to campus housing, essential workers on site wearing masks and practicing social distancing, and campus COVID-19 testing in full swing. Amidst the quiet and pockets of activity, Penn’s urban campus remains well-groomed, with the colors of the fall season on full display.
For the eleventh year in a row, Penn has been named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. The Tree Campus USA program recognizes college and university campuses that effectively manage their campus trees. For this distinction, Penn has met the core standards for sustainable campus forestry required by Tree Campus USA, including the establishment of a tree advisory committee, and evidence of a campus tree-care plan.
For the students, faculty, and essential staff who remain on campus with strict safety measures in place, Penn remains a colorful oasis in the city. With public destinations restricted, and the challenges residents face individually with the pandemic, refuge in nature is one solace and saving grace. For Philadelphians, Penn’s campus provides a nature fix.