Thursday, May 1, 2008

Down the Wrong Path

We now have a new path on campus. I've overhead people commenting on how nice the new path is. I find the path a disappointment and a loss for green efforts on campus. The new path cuts diagonally through the green space on the corner of Maple and Woodland. The path cuts right through the middle of one of the largest green spaces we have on campus. It was very discouraging to see this happen.

Since arriving on campus in September, I've watched as this herd path continued to grow. I watched students trek across the grassy space in the snow, rain, and mud just to save themselves the few extra steps it would take to walk around the grassy area. I pleaded with students in my classes to stop cutting across the grass and to stop their friends from taking this route. In the end, the herd path became so large that Buildings and Grounds had to put in a paved path to improve the appearance.

Now, one of the nicest green spaces we have on campus has a paved path cutting right through the middle of it. Lovely.

The path problem is an issue at most college campuses. Students insist on taking a direct line from door to door. Areal images of college campus reveal crazy lines cutting across campus. What was once a pretty green space is now lined with concrete. It is too bad. It takes away space that could be used for recreation or for natural habitat.

I tried to quickly generate a culture of staying on the path when I arrived here but I failed. The best example of this culture is at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. There, students have a tradition of scolding people who cut across the quad. Student can use the grassy quad area for recreation but cutting across it to save steps is banned. There are no formal rules but just a known tradition that other students will abuse you if you are seen cutting across the grass. As a result, this campus has been able to maintain a beautiful grassy quad free from paved paths crossing in every direction.

As Lasell College continues to expand and build new buildings, I have one message. Don't cut across the grass!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more. I would like to know who agreed this should be done. Neither though the path was becoming over run with mud does not mean we should just throw some cement over it. Sadly though, with the current expansion of our nice little college the first thing to go will be the grass and trees.