Get off the concrete, try the grass

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    Taking a stroll outside always gets me really excited. I love going for walks, but why is it that I feel guilty for walking on the grass? Even going from class to class, it is as if I am breaking a strict social code by making my way across campus via green patches.

    Lately, as in my whole life, I have noticed the people staying on the sidewalk. OK, walkways are paved with the intent of pedestrian use, but why not stray from the norm on occasion or make a new habit?

    Our culture is firmly rooted in the landscaping traditions of manicured lawns. In the United Kingdom, they actually have signs that politely, yet rather firmly, ask you to keep of the grass, displaying a sign of power and wealth. Prior to the invention of the lawnmower, in the U.S. only the aristocratic families had lawns because they could afford to maintain lawn grass. With the expansion of America and the population shift into the suburbs, a 3- by 5-foot front yard that was well manicured and properly cut was a sign of ownership, wealth, dignity and tradition. But come on, I just want to walk on the grass.

    Or a simple compromise: if lawns are to be kept grassy, let them be seeded with the native prairie grasses that were here before TCU was institutionalized. Then at least I wouldn’t mind staying on the sidewalk, for it would be something interesting to view.

    New landscaping would root our university in its history and define our campus apart from all the other boring, old lawns that exhibit nothing special. If you look at how much water is spent trying to keep those traditional lovely greens, it is phenomenal. Half of the time, I can’t even walk on the grass because they are flooded from exploding sprinklers. Native grasses would add color as well as an extremely low maintenance watering system.

    Due to the prairie grasses ability to withstand the Texas heat, we wouldn’t be fighting to keep them in tip-top shape, but rather letting them take care of themselves. Restoring the grasses would not only be economical, but in the words of a hipster – totally awesome.

    What I am trying to convey is if so much time and energy, not to mention water, goes into something so simple as a green grass lawn, let’s utilize it or change it. Take a walk off of the sidewalk – unless you are wearing high-heels, for that would just be dangerous – nap under a tree, spread yourself out, make a connection with something other than concrete.

    Gretchen Wilbrandt is a junior environmental science major from Woodstock, Ill.