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.