It was a gorgeous start to the week, as beautiful as spring can get in New York City. Our campus is fortunate enough to have large swaths of green grass and a dedicated Facilities staff that maintains them tirelessly throughout the year. This is the season in which we can take advantage of our beautiful campus. It’s also the season many bemoan the lawns’ being, more often than not, closed to students.
As we’ve watched these red flags fly, we can’t help but wonder: why?
The most commonly heard reason for prohibiting lawn access is the need to keep the grass healthy and pristine. This explanation, as most of us have griped about at one point or another, doesn’t hold up. Even if thousands of students used the lawns each week, would they really be reduced to a barren wasteland? If the lawns are kept in such great shape for students’ enjoyment, shouldn’t we actually be able to enjoy them?
The argument that the lawns need protection during this time is invalid. Regardless of how much we use them, the annual destruction of the lawns is imminent. As part of the Commencement festivities, the lawns will be covered with green AstroTurf for dinners and ceremonies. By the end of this turfing, the green grass will be dead, soon to be replaced with new sod or cordoned off and allowed to regrow. The University is willing to turn the lawns into a desert for graduation, but it won’t allow students to throw a Frisbee around or do some reading outside on a warm spring day because the lawns have to be preserved.
Obviously, there are times when Facilities must rope off the grass for fertilizer or pesticide application. But in our last weeks on campus, we should have a place to relax and soak up the sun every day. (Well, weather-permitting.)
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