Winter means a snow-covered campus, Student Activities Board’s annual ski trip, and A.J.’s Café hot chocolate.
But the winter also means icy streets and sidewalks. And although college maintenance does work hard to clear snow from and ice sidewalks, there is one path that won’t be cleared.
The dirt path that students use as a shortcut starting near Mary Randall Preschool to get to Howard Musical Hall, is the bane of campus existence. Unsafe and ugly, the path needs to be paved.
The dirt walkway is particularly dangerous during Michigan’s snowy winter months. Students do frequently fall while walking along the trail. Some have even broken bones. But students need to be able to get to class quickly and safely.
And since the dirt trail is used by so many — those traveling to Howard, Sage Center for the Arts, Biermann Athletics Center, and Roche Sports Complex — the frequent footsteps break down any chance of grass growing there, making it an eyesore. On the beautiful property Hillsdale owns, it is a disgrace to allow this much-needed path to be an imperfection.
The aesthetic beauty of campus is often a reason cited for not creating more paths on campus, but the recent installation of the 1844 Society walkway between Kendall and Central halls shows how a useful path can also look pleasant.
Although there is a paved path that connects Howard to Hillsdale Street, the unofficial trail is a more direct way to get from the north side of campus to buildings on the southeast side. Plus, it brings walkers closer to the Grewcock Student Union, the hub of campus activity and community. A more direct pathway would encourage people to travel toward the music, arts, and athletics buildings as well as save students valuable time.
Administration has discussed paving the pathway before.
Student Federation’s campus improvement committee also looked into the project in 2015, but it was too expensive for the organization.
This year, the college put wood chips down, but it didn’t take long for the them to scatter and the path to become dirt again.
A concrete or brick bath would last all year and also make for a safer campus community.