Opinion, The Maturity Column

Keep green in Foote Green

Finally, it was spring break in Miami and I was getting ready to sprawl out on the plush grass of the Foote Green right in front of Richter.

You see, this was a big occasion for me: I hadn’t been able to enjoy the campus’s premiere field for two months. Unfortunately, it was in recovery from an enormous presidential inauguration that required a tent large enough to cover Rhode Island.

But after weeks of anticipation, I was confident the Green would finally be restored to its usual 3:2 grass-to-weed ratio.

Instead, I strolled upon a huge television stage plastered with “CNN America’s Choice 2016” and “Republican Presidential Debate 2016.” Now, it wasn’t large enough to cover Rhode Island, but it could certainly cover the Florida primary.

“Oh come on,” I thought. “The grass was just coming back. Now I can’t say ‘Don’t call it a comeback.’ … oh wait, that’s actually all I can say.”

But how could we let this happen? Here we are, finally with replenished undergrowth, but instead it’s covered by a massive hunk of metal and stage lights. Where was the healthy grass? Was it available only on Tidal?

Now, I’m not saying that President Frenk’s inauguration and the Republican debate aren’t big enough occasions to warrant the grass being suffocated like a sumo wrestler sitting on a hamster – because they certainly are. I have written before about how much I respect President Frenk. He deserves the proper introduction. And as for the presidential debate, well … we just can’t let Florida International University host more than us.

Either way, I’m just suggesting that we don’t immediately surrender the grass every time we have to pitch a tent. We shouldn’t decide where we plop these props by claiming, “Well … it’ll grow back eventually.” Planning these celebrations should involve a conscientious effort of asking, “How can we do this without obliterating nature?”

Because frankly, the Foote Green is the best chunk of open field we have left. The grass by Dooley Memorial is crisscrossed by sidewalks (and therefore tours) running through it, and on the IM fields you might step on lifeless, decaying bodies. Oh wait, my editor just called … those are tanning freshmen. Eh, same thing.

I’ve pleaded before about the importance of mental health and how installing outdoor seating like hammocks and gliders would drastically improve it. Well, maybe that’s a bit expensive — money doesn’t grow on trees after all. But who needs to grow money when you can just grow grass?

According to the Foundation for Safer Athletic Fields, one study found that “open green spaces” will contribute to “enjoyment of life” and that even just a view of an open field will “promote quicker recovery in hospital patients.” You know, I bet a lot students sitting up in the Richter stacks feel like they could use a gurney.

So, grass is a cheap, natural way to keep the students happy and healthy. All it takes to maintain it is the occasional mow, which, now that I think about it, some of those presidential candidates could use too.

Danny New is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. The Maturity Column runs alternate Mondays.

March 20, 2016

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