The campus of Brigham Young University (BYU) is one of the most beautiful campuses in the United States. The grounds crew works tirelessly to plant flowers, sweep the sidewalks, rake the leave, shovel the show and keep the campus looking amazing! Unfortunately there is a sub-culture at BYU that for some reason often decides that their own busy schedule and personal need for speed is more important than helping to preserve the beautiful nature of our campus. The picture in this post shows newly laid sod in front of the engineering building. Before this new sod was laid last week, there was an ugly, packed dirt, scar running through the lawn. This scar was created by students who were in so much of a hurry that they decided they’d rather cut through the lawn than walk the extra 15 feet to take the sidewalk. I have watched people coming into and leaving the building who walk through this grass as though it was meant to be walked on! They don’t realize that the lawn is there to make things look good! I don’t have a problem with walking on grass if you’re going to sit on it and study, but using it as an alternative to the sidewalk seems lazy and inconsiderate.
My favorite thing I’ve seen with this lawn problem was a few hours after the sod was laid. A student came out of the clyde, noticed that new grass had been put down, and then very courteously walked just to the left of the new grass rather than walk on the newly laid sod! Does he not realize that it’s people like that that required that the sod be laid in the first place! You can see the end result of this kind of carelessness. Now everyone that walks into that building, rather than see a beautiful lawn, has to deal with caution tape to keep people off the grass!
Ok, that being said, I’ll try to say something a bit more nice about Thanksgiving later this week!
One response to “Don’t Walk on the Grass!”
Thanks for the post Adam. As one who supported himself by working grounds for three of my years at BYU, I saw a lot of what you are referring to. The amount of money that BYU spends on replacement sod each year is huge (about the cost of a house). The grass can’t simply be reseeded, because constant foot traffic disproportionately compacts the soil, making it harder for new grass to grow. Some popular grass paths have simply been transformed into new sidewalks over the past few years.
I believe the problem arises because students believe that the grass IS meant to be walked on. As you mentioned from your example, people generally avoid walking on new sod because they know it can be harmful, but established grass… they’ve never thought anything wrong with it. Grass is generally flat, more comfortable than concrete, and is one of few living landscape materials marketed as walkable without permanent damage. We play football on grass, which is definitely more damaging than walking, so if someone thinks they can save a few seconds, then why not cut across the grass? (BYU grounds does put out those cheesy signs, but I don’t think many take them seriously)
So personally, I don’t consider those who cut corners inconsiderate, but rather ignorant to what cost they accrue to the school. The calls by BYU to avoid the grass have been going on for decades. Personally, I think the best deterrent to grass walking, which is already found all over BYU campus, is thorny bushes. Once BYU grounds gets 10′ of pyracantha hedge along the sidewalk, then the grass cutting will cease.