Please Stay on Path

Students at University of Portland continue to follow an unwritten rule about the academic quad.


Image courtesy of Spencer Fishback

Remember the hot lava monster game we all played as little kids? Well guess what? We are all still playing it.

Here at UP, there is an unwritten rule that you do not walk on the grass in the academic quad. You do not sit on it; instead, you confine yourself to the small strips of cement in the tiers by the steps in front of Franz. You do not play sports on it; you just don’t. During springtime when you see adults lingering or children playing on the grass you think to yourself: one, they obviously do not go here, and two, I wish I could do that!

The fact of the matter is you can!

Last year, I posted a confession to the UP Confession page about how often I wanted to walk across the grass, but did not want to look like an [blank]. It received a positive reception from students on the page, so the unwritten law clearly exists.

For more than half of the year that lush grass is a squishy mud trap and the zigzag cement pattern is not conducive for a whole football game, but regardless, students unknowingly embrace this apprehension towards using the majority of the space of the academic quad.

Students do not lack open spaces on campus; there are other fields to use, but the one space that unites the most buildings and has a location significant to all students at the university is little more than a thoroughfare for foot traffic.

The potential for the space to bring people together is astounding once we get past the fact that grass is just grass and not hot lava. But who will be the first to break the norm? Who is willing to get a little burnt?


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