Lawn and Order

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We've come so far

Nature-needy Columbians have forever grumbled about the notoriously strict lawn control policies. The tarps descend like blankets of misery smothering our spirit, and the red flag, like an annoying museum docent, reminds you to only look, not touch.

But as you may have noticed, the lawns emerged from hibernation much earlier than usual this year. And nearly everyday since, the fabled green flag has flown over their luscious verdure. So what happened?

Back in February, field frolicking enthusiasts Claire Duvallet, SEAS ’13, and Carolyn Ruvkun, CC ’13, wanted to figure out who was behind the lawns’ constant closure. After working with administrators to bring puppies to Columbia, they realized that approaching The Man in earnest can sometimes produce results. So they emailed the groundskeeper, and, with the support of Dean Kromm, met with the Facilities staff to learn about drainage  and sodding.

“Rather than just interrogating them, we wanted to understand the reasons behind their policies, validate their concerns, and then explain why the students care more about lounging on grass than gazing at manicured lawns. How could we make accessibility the priority?” C&C wrote in an email. (Full disclosure: Carolyn is a former Bwogger.)

The whole crew got along swimmingly, and eventually, the grassroots grass group and Facilities struck a compromise: one of the South lawns would be open everyday (weather permitting) until Facilities has to start setting up for Commencement.

So just like that, the administration collaborated with students to keep frisbees flying and toddlers romping.

Pre-Lernerinthian Eden via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Lawn Lover  

    THANK YOU!!!

  2. Anonymous  

    This has noticeably affected my quality of life for the better. You da best, C&C.

  3. James Schiff (SEAS '28)  

    I remember when the garden nazis would descend upon the campus like a plague. We would stage underground bets to see who could guess the day and time that the campaign against fun would commence. We would have to search for carboard boxes to play frisbee and other games in, otherwise our stone-hearted RAs would come and bash down our door, writing us up for public misconduct. Also, spec sucks.

  4. Anonymous  

    More that student government's done for me all year.

    A sincere thank you to C&C.

  5. Anonymous  

    awesome, absolutely fantastic

  6. Thank you

    C and C. ...
    puppies,and lawns.
    you have made more CU students happy than anyone else

  7. Anon

    Happy, happy, happy!

  8. Anonymous  

    i thought this was CCSC's doing. it affected my voting decision

  9. Anonymous  

    also i think that two decently maintained lawns, full of happy students, on a sunny day is much more appealing to {alumni, prospies, visitors, other students, anyone with a soul} than perfectly maintained but empty lawns.

    i understand facilities wants to do its job, but, i dunno, it just seems silly to have pristine quads that no one can touch

    in addition, no one actually sees the grass on commencement day -- the biggest day for visitors, alums, etc. to come to school. or i'm pretty sure at least. they put a tarp down, don't they?

    • Claire

      They do put tarps/plastic mats down to cover the lawns for commencement, but the idea is to keep the lawns healthy enough throughout the year so that they can survive commencement and not have to be resodded every year. Which saves like tens of thousands of dollars and is also just better for the world in my opinion. :-P

      And from our conversations, I truly do believe that Facilities' mentality is changing and they genuinely recognize how we students feel about the silliness of having pristine lawns that we can't play on. So even though they're still very focused on keeping the lawns healthy (hence why the open lawn still alternates) we get to sit and nap and play frisbee and love life. yayyyy :D

  10. These girls  

    are truly my heroes <3

  11. Another Claire  

    You go, Claire and Carolyn!!
    P.S. The tags on this post made me LOL.

  12. Thank you

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for being persistent and getting answers. The open lawn this semester is great!!

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