The other day, I was taking a nap in my Vandervelden Court apartment to try to alleviate a migraine, when I was awakened by a loud whirring right outside my window. I immediately recognized it as the sound of one of Pacific Landscape Management’s lawnmowers going back and forth from University Avenue to my building–the obnoxious droning growing softer and louder. I put my headphones in, but the sound persisted as my head continued to pound. I could feel myself growing angry, not because I was woken from my nap or because the sound was annoying, but because it was also pouring rain outside. The landscape worker was mowing over the sparse patches of grass in the mud outside my building, while it was raining. Someone had also already mowed that area earlier in the week, which made me wonder why it was being mowed again.
While this annoyed me, I tried not to dwell on it and went about my day. However, while I was walking from Clark Hall to the U.C. later that afternoon, I noticed something I couldn’t brush off: four staff members doing lawn work in the same spot. One was riding a lawn mower next to the cement picnic tables near Clark Hall and three were operating leaf blowers within four feet of each other on the sidewalk next to the U.C. While there were multiple piles of leaves on the path, the four staff members were essentially working on the same task.
I want to preface this opinion by saying that my problem is not with the staff doing the landscaping work. I understand that they are just doing their jobs; I simply wonder whether it is necessary for the same patch of muddy grass on campus to be mowed several times in one week even when it’s raining, or if three people need to be blowing leaves off of the same sidewalk. I constantly hear other students complain about the noise on campus from lawncare machines and, admittedly, the ever-present, unrelenting drone of leaf blowers is also starting to chip away at my sanity.
The landscape management team does a wonderful job of keeping our campus looking beautiful and well-kept every day, but I just don’t feel like it’s necessary for whoever is in charge of the landscaping schedule to have 3 people doing the same loud job in the middle of the day, or work that is useless due to weather. Keeping a quiet environment for students to work, study, and sleep should be a high priority for the university, and all of the unnecessary lawn care is not conducive to a peaceful campus. — Isabelle Williams