Binghamton University’s president may be on the pathway to retirement, but BU Council is honoring her legacy with the dedication of the President Lois B. DeFleur Walkway.
The walkway chosen to bear her name connects the Lecture Hall and Student Wing to the upper-level entrance of the New University Union, and is commonly referred to as the Central Campus Walkway or the spine.
The Council passed the resolution April 16. The plan calls for the embedding of two plaques that will recognize the president for her leadership skills, dedication and commitment in different locations along the walkway.
The exact location of the plaques is still being decided.
Marcia Craner, vice president for external affairs, hopes to have the plaques before the academic year ends, however they will most likely not arrive until sometime in June. When they arrive there will be a ceremony open to the campus and community.
“[The walkway] has the highest number of individuals using it so it seems very symbolic,” Craner said. “It’s connecting the students, faculty and campus community every day.”
According to Kathryn Madigan, chair of the BU Council, the walkway will be named after DeFleur because of her commitment to beautifying the campus and creating green initiatives.
The walkway was one of the projects completed under Operation Green Space, and replaced the blacktop that had been in its place.
“When I arrived on the campus I realized that we have one of the most beautiful natural areas for a campus that I’ve ever seen,” DeFleur said. “I was really concerned because there were so many blacktop areas and it just wasn’t inviting.”
Operation Green Space has replaced nearly two acres of paved areas, or 85,426 square feet. It involved the formation of the Peace Quad and the trees planted on the median of Bartle Drive at the main entrance of campus.
As part of the operation, DeFleur teamed up with maintenance faculty to have more plants and flowers, as well as develop benches with awnings along the walkway. She considers the beautification of campus to be an ongoing project that will continue after she retires.
DeFleur also created the Campus Climate Task Force, an initiative whose purpose is to eliminate the greenhouse gas emissions associated with BU’s campus activities over time. One of its projects focuses on protecting and improving the Nature Preserve and greenhouse.
While these initiatives show progress, said Peter Knuepfer, director of the environmental studies program and associate professor of geology, DeFleur could do a lot more, like increasing the use of recyclable materials, to create a greener campus.
“We also need to stop using heat and electricity from fossil fuels,” he said. “The wheels are in motion for this but the challenge is finding the funding.”
While Knuepfer said DeFleur’s commitment to a healthy environment could be stronger, when some students think of her, different legacies come to mind.
“What President DeFleur did during her presidency is being overshadowed because of all the drama with the basketball season,” said Krystal Donohue, a sophomore majoring in human development.
Still, while Knuepfer said that there are more environmental initiatives to spearhead, like ending the University’s system of burning coal, naming the walkway after her is a fine idea.
BU’s first president, Glenn Bartle, had the library named after him because of his strong connection to liberal arts, learning and libraries.
As a member of many sustainable organizations, DeFleur said she plans to continue her commitment to preserving natural areas and hopes to see more green space created on campus.
“This is very special to me,” Defleur said. “Every time I go out on the walkway, I see so many of the students sitting there. Every time I walk down it I feel good.”