From the moment winter releases its icy grip on Ithaca, the Cornell grounds department works furiously to make sure the campus looks pristine. One of their most ambitious tasks is to grow grass on the edges of paths where students continually step. They seem to believe that fresh soil and string fences will give the grass seed a fighting chance against its opposition, but rain continues to wash the soil away and students continue to veer off paths with their eyes in books. The outlook is not good for this new grass and I would be very surprised if it reaches maturity by graduation or reunion weekends.
Recently, however, I noticed a strange phenomenon. The grass appears to be growing quite well in the deep footprints left by hasty students on their way to class. The grounds department should take note of this ironic yet verifiable fact. Next year, I propose that they remove the string fences and invite students to trample the newly seeded soil.