The Dart: Selma’s ‘Tree of Life’ shades a new generationPublished 9:27pm Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Editor’s note: The Dart is a weekly feature, where reporters throw a dart at a map of Selma to find a random location for a story.
When the Dart landed on Selma University Wednesday afternoon, it found three upperclassmen telling stories around a tree that, if it could talk, would likely have a lot to say.
The tree often referred to as the Tree of Life by students is the hot spot on campus, said Selma University junior T. J. Davis. He said it’s the place where students seek advice, overcome stress and seek shade.
“Under the tree is where instructors become brothers and sisters too,” Davis said. “… Once they come from inside that building to under the tree, they treat you like a brother. They give you counseling as a brother.”
Davis was joined by friends Erica Heard and Regina Wilkes under the tree Wednesday, taking a lunch break and enjoying a breezy summer afternoon. Heard, who is a junior at the university and works in the IT department as a computer assistant, said Wednesday was just like any other day for the tree, which always ends up surrounded by students sharing laughs and making friends.
“When they get out of class, the first thing [students] are going to do is go to see what is going on under the tree,” Heard said.
Wilkes, who is going into her last semester at the school, looks back at her four years in school and thinks back to a lot of times where friends under the tree helped relieve her stress.
“You can always find peace under this tree,” Wilkes said.
All three can rattle off family members that at one point during their lives, sat under the Tree of Life and shared a story or two with friends. As they did the same Wednesday afternoon, they discussed their future plans. Heard is going into physical education, Wilkes is just a few classes from completing her Biblical and pastoral ministry degree and Davis is a few years from finishing the requirements to finish his degree in Christian education.
Before they finish up, there’s surely going to be at least a handful of more meetings underneath the tree.
“I’m just glad this tree doesn’t talk,” Wilkes joked. “It would have some great stories to tell.”