Down with cow paths

sidewalk sign

Students near Curtiss Hall pass one of a half dozen signs that encourage pedestrians to use campus sidewalks.

Campus services has a half dozen sandwich-board messages staff are moving around campus this fall, encouraging pedestrians to stay on the sidewalks and off of the grass and plant beds. A dry, hot summer and large numbers of moving feet take a toll on the turf, said Chris Strawhacker, a landscape designer in facilities planning and management.

"We're trying to educate our students and give the lawn a chance to recover," he said. "The goal would be to prevent some cow paths from getting started."

The message boards grew out of staff conversations with student government senators last fall, following another dry summer and an August central campus event with President Barack Obama that left the grass in tough shape. The signs were first used for a few weeks late last fall. They're part of the Keep Iowa State Beautiful campaign. Photo by Bob Elbert.