Concerned first-year: "Please don't light the Lawn"

I have only spent a few months getting acclimated to the new environment on "Grounds" amongst my fellow "hoos" as a "first-year." I get it; as someone so new to the college education system, my opinion doesn't hold much value, and I really ought to just zip it and defer to the upperclassmen. But I believe my (and our) first-year perspective to be of value. The external and less prejudiced origin from where my viewpoint derives itself from is necessary to spurring change and, consequently, improvement to this great university. Today, I urge reconsideration on only one event, and one event only.

Don't light the Lawn.

Tradition be damned, ladies and gentlemen! The Lawn was a selling point and an object of inspiration for me in pursuing my higher education at this institution of learning. I don't know who thought of the idea first or why we agreed to it, but I see no reason to continue lighting the Lawn.

Maybe I'm just inexperienced to the comings and goings of this school, but why do we choose to light up what we also claim to cherish so dearly? When I hear about someone lighting something ablaze in a group setting, my mind jumps to flag burning. I can't begin to understand why the University would so openly allow, support and finance the torching of its own symbolic structures!

Moreover, it must cost a fortune to renovate every year. I've walked through the Lawn (never streaked, too shy) many a time, and not once have I noticed any sign of defamation to the pavilions, rooms or Rotunda. No burned wood. No scarred bricks. Not a single charcoaled substance in sight. How much money is the University spending to COMPLETELY rebuild the Lawn so it looks like we didn't light it up?!

For God's sake, we just finished rebuilding the Rotunda. We've all seen the infamous photo of the 1895 Rotunda fire, so why is it that year after year, we risk similar consequences? Do you really think Thomas Jefferson or Tina Fey or (more importantly) the University Guide Service wants us to light the Lawn?

Lighting the Lawn is healthy for neither our habits of expression nor the soil fertility. Striking a match and tossing it may seem cool, but the possible danger it places us in is greater than the brief benefit. It is literally the kind of risk that will burn this whole school to the ground.

Here's my suggestion, and I'm just throwing it out there: we keep the name of the event, but instead of breaking out the kerosene and candles, we just put up a lot of light bulbs —tons and tons of Christmas, strobe and even neon lights. We make it a light spectacular, so to speak. Think about it: we light the night on fire… without lighting anything on fire.

Brennan Lee is a Humor writer.

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