The University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant teams witnessed a historic moment when Anita Borja Enriquez, DBA, UOG President, planted an ifit sapling during a pre-investiture ceremony marking her service as the 12th President of UOG.
The ceremony was held at the President’s Grove on Monday, November 13.
The ifit tree holds deep cultural significance on Guam and the Marianas, symbolizing resilience and connection to heritage.
Reflecting on her tree of choice, Borja Enriquez said, “I chose the ifit (tree) because it represents amazing resiliency. I think about our 70-plus-year history as an institution of higher education and what it represents for the over 20,000 alumni, not just here on Guam, not just across the region but across the globe.”
As Borja Enriquez envisioned the roots of the tree growing throughout the decades, she envisioned the University’s growth, encapsulating the values of resilience, care, and progress. She expressed her hopes that future generations passing by the tree would remember its representation of fortitude, unity, and love.
“I am honored to be part of the legacy of presidents who have come before me,” Borja Enriquez said before planting the ifit sapling.
For Sharleen Santos-Bamba, PhD, UOG Senior Vice President and Provost, the ceremony symbolizes the fusion of tradition and progress.
“The ifit tree that we are about to plant is a symbol of her (Anita Borja Enriquez’s) leadership and the roots that are going to grow underground for years to come.”
Roland Quitugua, UOG CNAS invasive species specialist, emphasized the historical and practical value of the ifit tree, being native to the region and renowned for its resilience against natural adversities.
“Let us plant this correctly, just as we hope that our president is going to guide us…moving forward,” said Quitugua.
The CNAS team, led by Quitugua, prepped the tree planting site and the sapling to ensure its proper growth and survival.
The event, made possible through collaborative efforts, saw contributions from various UOG entities, including the College of Natural and Applied Sciences, the Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant, the Endowment Foundation, and Alumni Relations.