Zigzagging, skipping, or cartwheeling are all appropriate means of transport but it is an unwritten rule to never walk across the revered quad. If anyone dares to take a stroll on the quad they run the risk of being tackled. Last year there was even a police report filed after a student was tackled for committing such a crime.
Amy Shaw, a sophomore at SUNY ESF stated, “We tackle people and they gripe about it but it is tradition. If we didn’t protect the quad it would get ugly wear marks. It looks nice and that’s something we are
The quad is reseeded and mowed regularly to maintain its appearance. Though, land adjacent to the quad has recently been converted to a ‘no mow zone’. There wildflowers and tall grasses are free to grow as they please. This change was in an effort to reduce the amount of fossil fuels used by maintenance crews and shrink the school’s carbon foot print. So why are the students of ESF are so proud and protective of a well maintained patch of grass when it is much more environmentally friendly to let the land take care of itself?
Many students and faculty members recognize that grass is not the ‘greenest’ use for the space but the unity and enjoyment the quad brings to SUNY ESF is worth it.
Jerry Liu, a transfer student from Hong Kong, smiles recalling being warned about cutting across the quad, “I think it’s cool” he added. Many students and school officials would agree the quad traditions are here to stay. The school’s website even has a page for the green space. The site boasts that the quad is for learning and recreation but, “never as a shortcut from one end of the campus to the other.”
Soon it will be time for the alumni barbeque, it is then that SUNY ESF graduates will gather on the quad for food and conversation. They will reminisce about tossing a football, napping, and tie dying on that very lawn. Although it may not be the best ecological land use the quad represents something much greater than grass to these stewards of the environment.