Campus Painted Tree Prompts 'Soup-er Fast Can Drive'

GENESEO, N.Y. -- Creative artists have converted a landmark on the SUNY Geneseo campus into a Campbell's Soup can, and the college is using it to attract donations for a local food pantry.

The "Painted Tree" is a 35-foot tall black walnut in the heart of campus that students have painted for decades to promote their organizations or events. Sometime in the past 10 days, students painted a replica of the soup can onto the tree, and the college is using the opportunity to invite the community to deposit cans of food into a container at the tree to be donated to the Geneseo/Groveland Food Pantry. The "Soup-er Fast Can Drive" seeks to collect 48 cans of soup in 48 hours and runs until 3 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 3.

"We just couldn't resist taking advantage of the students' handiwork to help promote a worthy community cause," said Tom Matthews, the college's associate dean of leadership and service. "It really represents the strong commitment that students and the Geneseo community have to service all year long."

The tree is a venerable campus landmark, and painting it is often cited by alumni as a lasting student memory. The college estimates the tree has received at least 1,000 layers of paint during its lifetime.

Students are on the Geneseo campus during the summer taking classes, assisting faculty with research projects and working in the orientation program, among other activities.

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