News

A memory uprooted

When Hurricane Katrina passed through Miami on Aug. 25, she took a piece of UM history down with her. The banyan tree outside the UC, which had been there longer than most can remember, was torn down by the storm’s fierce winds. Clean-up crews were on site during the next few days, cutting away its remnants to the surprise of students, staff and alumni.

Simply known by most as The Tree, it became a trademark of the UM campus and spirit throughout the years. Its disappearance changed the backdrop of not only the campus but of student organizations, such as the Iron Arrow Honor Society, which taps new members twice a year, then brings them back to a mound located next to the tree.

“That ceremony will stay intact,” Alexis Martinez, chief of the Iron Arrow tribe, said. “But a lot of members are upset and concerned because for them, that tree reminds them of when they were tapped. Their memories are connected to that area.”

Fortunately, the Iron Arrow mound was not damaged during the storm.

“I was just recently tapped and just now understood the meaning of the tree. Where it was located is where the mound is located,” Ciara Mohamed, senior, said. “There’s a lot of significance behind it,” she said, adding that much of that meaning is only revealed to its members once they are tapped.

According to Iron Arrow advisor Norm C. Parsons, Jr., members from all of the UM community will feel the absence of the tree.

“That tree is bigger than just Iron Arrow,” he said. “I’ve been here since ’72, and it is a symbol of the strength and vitality of the University. It’s always been there and it’s going to be strange not to have it.”

Efforts to preserve parts of the tree’s remnants are already under way. The administration has saved some of its branches, and in a Senate meeting on Wednesday, a unanimous vote passed for the formation of a memorial built out of the tree’s wood.

“The tree has been there long enough to be in anyone’s memories. It seems like the campus grew up around the tree,” Pete Maki, Student Government president, said. “We want to memorialize it so that people 10, 15 years from now can have something to remember it by.”

Administrators are not yet sure what can be made with the remnants. A bench or a carving was considered at first, but may not be an option due to the type of wood.

“We’re drying it out to see what we’re going to do with it,” Maki said. “We’d like to be able to have a memorial [of the tree]placed where it used to be.”

Administrators and SG will meet again on Wednesday to discuss how the tree’s remnants will be used.

“It’s probably 70 years, if not older,” Parsons said. “We will always look at the spot and, for those of us who remember the tree, will be very saddened. That tree belonged to everybody.”

Natalia Maldonado can be contacted at n.maldonado@umiami.edu.

September 6, 2005

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

At their best, they are UM’s most dynamic players on each side of the ball. But the Ahmmon Richards ...

A day after practicing in the Carol Soffer Football Indoor Practice Facility for the first time in s ...

It appears that at least one LSU receiver won’t be available at the University of Miami football ope ...

After the Miami Hurricanes football team spent part of its practice on Monday in a torrential downpo ...

Nothing like a comic book cover on steroids to get University of Miami and LSU football fans juiced ...

Intergroup Dialogue, soon to be offered as a course, fosters a sense of belonging, an appreciation f ...

Aretha Franklin and her music defined “what is soul” to generations of music lovers. ...

The University of Miami kicked into high gear to welcome thousands of new students and ensure move-i ...

UM President Julio Frenk welcomes first-year and transfer students to UM in signature ’Cane Kickoff ...

Miami Law conducts its inaugural Legal Impact Hack for first-year students. ...

The University of Miami volleyball team won its exhibition match over FIU, 3-0, Saturday at the Knig ...

Coming off a road win in its season opener, the University of Miami soccer team will welcome crossto ...

In head coach Sarah Barnes' debut at the helm, the University of Miami soccer team won its seas ...

The Hurricanes practiced in the Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility for the first time ever on Fri ...

Malik Rosier, Travis Homer and Ahmmon Richards are key returning playmakers, but they are just the b ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.