We all know that the best part of warm weather at DePauw University is being outside. Many argue that the best spots to hangout outside on campus are the Nature Park, Bowman Park, The Dells and the East College Lawn. I recognize that all of these locations are wonderful outdoor spaces for students and professors alike. Yet there is one space on campus that trumps all others: the East College Lawn and it’s missing something important.
When construction began on the Hoover Dining Hall, DePauw University decreased the outdoor value of the East College Lawn in a major way. No, I’m not referring to the fraction of the lawn that has become a construction site. I’m alluding to the removal of the Adirondack chairs from the East College Lawn.
These simple wooden chairs allowed students and professors to hangout on the lawn without having to bring their own seating or blankets. Some professors even brought their classes outdoors on nice days. Ask any student whose professor chose to have class outside on those days and they will tell you how much they enjoyed it.
In Section IV of the document titled "DePauw 2020: The Plan for DePauw," several key points are made to the improvement of DePauw’s campus. It is the sixth point under “Campus Initiatives” of Section IV that concerns me the most: “The East College area (tree canopy, lawns, pathways, lighting) fully restored as the symbolic and academic heart of the campus.” In my opinion, the East College area cannot be “fully restored” without the re-addition of the Adirondack chairs.
We’ve all seen iconic photos of students and classes studying on the lawn in the Adirondack chairs. The plan has no mention of their return to the East College Lawn and that is troubling. These chairs were a staple in the allure of DePauw University and truly demonstrated the freedom at a liberal arts college such as ours.
I hope that the chairs were placed in storage for the winter and are merely waiting to be brought back out to the lawn. However, I fear that the chairs will not return at all.
I implore the university to return these chairs to their rightful location in the midst of the sunshine, trees and squirrels. The East College Lawn is simply not the same without the Adirondack chairs to lounge around on.
UPDATE: As of 12:58pm on Friday April 3rd (04/03/2015), several Adirondack chairs have been returned to the East College Lawn.