Main Building lawn off-limits for events

The Main Building Lawn is now off-limits to events. This decision was made last spring and has affected the University Programming Board (UPB) and other organizations on campus that usually host events at this prominent spot.

Facilities met with a landscape designer and two arborists who said there could be potential damage to the lawn from foot traffic. Administration then agreed to protect the area, Michael Peterson, associate vice president of Facilities, said.

“The trees and lawn in front of the Main Building are a valued landscaped feature on campus,” Peterson said.

Peterson said that the decision is permanent and that the road in front of Main Building can still be used for larger events. Vendors will be allowed to set up on the north side of the road. 

“I love the view from Main Building, and I’ll miss that part of the tradition,” Zan Winter, a member of the University Programming Board, said.

Winter explained how this decision has affected and will continue to affect numerous events hosted by UPB. This semester, the Welcome Barbeque had to be moved to the parking garage. Hillfest was moved to Holy Cross Lawn and the Faculty parking lot. The End of the Year Party will also be moved to the Holy Cross Lawn. Winter said that this move of events worked out well. 

“It has worked out better than expected to use alternative locations,” Michelle Mowry, the Student Life program coordinator, said. The parking garage, for instance, allowed more space for the Welcome Barbeque than the Main Building Lawn had in the past.

This year, the Festival of Lights, a campus tradition, will still take place in front of the Main Building. In years past, members of the university community were invited to gather on the Main Building Lawn to sing Christmas carols and celebrate the holiday season. However, Winter said that the area around the trees will now be roped off, and only the steps and the cement pathway leading up to them will be used for the event. 

There will be standing room for people on the sidewalk outside of Main Building. The University Police Department will also block off the road in front of the Main Building for additional space, Mowry said.

The Festival of Lights will be held Dec. 7 from 6:30-7 p.m. on the Main Building steps. A holiday concert will follow at 7:30 p.m. in the Mabee Ballrooms.