Students should stop abusing grass

By By Anne Roper

By Anne Roper

I grew up in northwestern Iowa, where the verdant green grass grew without the aid of sprinklers on the rolling hills as far as the horizon. But still, my next-door neighbors would yell at the kids who cut across their lawn. It seems to be a universal law: Use the sidewalk, not the grass. To do otherwise is a sign of disrespect.

At the U, golden paths of dead grass are indicative of the road well traveled8212;and it’s not the path intended. Everyone knows the fastest way from point A to point B is a straight line. But just as it is in a car, it’s not always the path you can, or should, take.

The design of campus is not perfect. There are often stairs to climb up and down to get to your next class. Annoying, yes. So it leads to a wearing down that will either end up as new grass or more concrete.

“We look at each path on a case-by-case basis,” said Cory Higgins, director of plant operations. “There have been cases where a new path is added, but generally the paths across sod are shortcuts where other acceptable alternatives exist.”

That means it is more likely that the grass is just going to be replaced, again and again. And this cycle comes at a price for plant operations.

“Replacing paths across grass with sod is much less expensive than a sidewalk, but does have a cost,” Higgins said.

It is understandable that you would consider taking your own route to class if you found yourself in an unexpected rush to get to a class, a bus or TRAX. We’ve all been there. But an occasional dash does not make dead grass. In fact, Higgins has found a different crowd more responsible.

“It appears that the most flagrant paths across sod are generated by recreational mountain bikers that are looking for the most thrilling course and not the most efficient course to traverse campus,” Higgins said.

It is blatantly disrespectful to use campus property this way. New bike lanes have been added to help with this problem as well.

“We would like to not spend our very limited maintenance dollars replacing sod due to inappropriate abuse of our campus,” Higgins said.

If my cranky, Iowan next-door neighbors were on campus today, they would be seen lecturing short-cut takers on the principle of respect. Keep off the grass.

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Anne Roper

Willus Branham